What was once known as Vicus Murrensis to the Romans is now known to us as the town of Murrhardt in Baden-Württemberg.
This hamlet, approximately 40 km northeast of Stuttgart along the River Murr, sits conveniently in the middle of the Swabian Forest. Actually more than 50% of the entire town is forest so it makes for some beautiful countryside.
There also have been some prehistoric discoveries like the petrified turtles and dinosaur fossils that are only a mere 200 million years old.
That’s a long time before the Romans came and built a castellet and a temple dedicated to one of the many Roman gods on top of Erich Mountain. A visit over to the Carl Swiss Museum has plenty of exhibits on Roman life here in Vicus Murrensis and has plenty more displays on prehistoric and medieval life here as well, all of which have made indelible mark on the region.
A few centuries after the Romans, a man by the name of Walterich came to Murrhardt and opened a monastery in the name of piety sometime in the 9th century. The Murrhardt Monastery is now the Town Church and one of the best examples of Late Roman architecture in all of Southern Germany.
There are even more beautiful and historic buildings scattered throughout town, so have your camera ready (and loaded!). The Walterich Church, once a pilgrimage church, has a beautiful 16th alterpiece but the inside is only open to visitors on the Karwoche Festival (a church’s consecration day festival).
Don’t miss the Villa Franck with the most gorgeous art gardens and plenty of timber framed buildings around town thrown in for good measure.
But fabulous architecture isn’t the only thing that Murrhardt has going on. She sits right in the middle of the Limeswanderweg, a path of walking trails through the forest that stretches for almost 245 kilometers (approx 185 miles). Get a great view of the Swabian Forest from the top of the forest’s observation tower and just as wonderful a view at the bottom with any number of the forest’s biking trails that seem to go on forever.
The Forest Lake is another popular stop for both locals and visitors alike with plenty of camping facilities nearby in case you want to stay a night or two in the wilderness.
Without a doubt, Murrhardt is a lovable little town from its natural history and her created one, no matter what name she’s gone by.