Hechingen is an amazing little town in Baden-Württenberg that’s a dream for any lover of art and culture. There must be something in the water, as this is the birthplace of Elsa Einstein, second wife of THE Albert Einstein, as well as Markus Wolf, the world’s most incredible spy EVER.
Even the Romans knew how wonderful Hechingen was way back in the day. The Roman Openair Museum is an excavated Roman villa from the 1st century and some of the rooms have been wonderfully restored to look as they would have some 2,000 years ago. There’s also a great view of the surrounding mountains from the entrance.
Of course, no town in Germany is complete without a castle…
Hohenzollern Castle was originally built in the 11th century, with additions and renovations in the 15th and 19th centuries. Sadly, the only remnant of the 15th century section of the castle is the Chapel of St. Michael. Some rooms of the castle are open to tours and home to an incredible collection of art and history, including a letter from George Washington to Baron Von Steuben for his service in the American Revolution.
There are also quite a few royals buried in the castle’s graveyard, including Prussian Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife, Crown Princess Cecile. Don’t forget to stop at the historical Saint James’ Church (St. Jakobus) with the grave of a 16th century count.
The town’s history isn’t all romantic, as there is a darker side. In November 1938 Hechingen’s Old Synagogue, built in 1767, was destroyed by an SA raid known as Reichskristallnacht and laid in ruins in the town for over 40 years. In 1983 work began to lovingly restore this “House of God,” finally reopening to the townspeople in 1986 looking just about as beautiful as the original.
You have to hand it to Hechingen with all the history, culture, and art that can be found all neatly bundled in one place. It really doesn’t get any better than this, or does it?