If you are a fan of Bram Stoker’s 1897 book Dracula or any of its many spin-off novels, movies and TV shows, you may be interested in visiting the town of Kitzingen. It is located in Bavaria in the south-central part of Germany.
One of the city’s most well known landmarks is a tower built in the 1200’s. It is called the Crooked Tower because of its unbalanced roof. Legend has it that the golden ball that sits at the top of the crooked roof contains the heart of the original Count Dracula.
Furthermore, if you follow the direction of the leaning roof, it is said you will find the grave of the Count in the Kitzingen Old Cemetery across the street.
The tower contains windows that are in the shape of upside-down crosses. Many locals claim to have seen light reflected through them at certain times of the day so that the shadows make right-side-up crosses in the graveyard that will ward off vampires. ;-)
Whether the legend is true or not, the tower and the town make interesting places to visit. There is a carnival museum located in the Crooked Tower, today, and visitors can read the story of its construction. It was built during a wine festival, as the tale is told, and the masons used wine instead of water to mix the mortar. That is what caused the roof to lean.
Regardless of its true history, it is undeniable that the Crooked Tower stands as a sentinel in the middle of Germany’s largest wine-producing region.
The area around Kitzingen is called Franconia. It has a reputation for producing some unique and flavorful white wines. Producers in the area use a distinctive wine bottle called a Bocksbeutel, which has a short neck and a wide body. Potential customers can tell at a glance that the wine they are considering is Franconian in origin.
Consequently, Kitzingen hosts wine festivals throughout the harvesting and bottling seasons. A typical year sees the first grapes picked in April, with the majority done during June and July. In October the town holds a big festival called Letzte Fuhre or last load when the final grapes are brought in from the vineyards.
The vintners have a procession through the streets with brightly decorated carriages to celebrate the end of the harvest. Local musicians play and costumed folk dancers perform. Booths and tables are set up in the town square so that you can taste wine from many different wineries and enjoy food and socializing.