Großostheim, or just simply known as Ostheim up until the 18th century, is a 1200 year old gem in Lower Franconia.
Großostheim was first mentioned in documents sometime between 780 and 799 at the area’s Fulda Abbey, while its Pflaumheim district is just about as old, having celebrated its 1200th anniversary in 1994.
The area of Ringheim today is built on an earlier village from the 1500’s. Only the old mill, once an inn and farmhouse, remain of the original settlement in the area. Ringheim today as we know it, came after building began on an old Luftwaffe Base after 1945.
The youngest of the villages is Wenigumstadt, having been the official town name since only 1229. However, archeological finds in the area have shown that it’s been inhabited for over 7000 years!
There are plenty of medieval structures and artwork to see in the tiny villages that belong to this town. The Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul have a touching “Lamentation of Christ” dating from 1515.
There are three chapels worth noting here in Großostheim. One chapel dates to 1517, when a local farrier consecrated one to St. Elgius. The Frauhäuschen Chapel is a late 15th century design and the Kreuzkappelle (or Cross Chapel) has an early 16th Crucifixion scene.
The timber framed houses, for which there are 148 protected, can be found on the market square (Marktgasse), as well as Kanzleistraße, Haarstraße, and Breite Straße.
Pflaumheim has the oldest of the town halls, dating from 1548 but Wenigumstadt’s (another district in the south-west) not too much younger, having been built in 1584.
The medieval fortification walls no longer stand but a few of the towers still do. The Spitzerturm (or Sharp Tower) has its very own prison and dungeon. The Hexenturm (Witches’ Tower) doesn’t have a dungeon but 11 women were killed here in a witchhunt in the beginning years of the 17th century.
Großostheim has history and hiking combined on the Einhardsweg — a 50 mile long hiking and cycling trail following the footsteps of Einhard, Charlemagne’s biographer. You’ll also find 36 Bildstöcke, a cross or column pillar, that served as roadside shrines from the 16th to the 18th centuries.