The Trip
The Saalburg II
Cologne II
Southwestern Black Forest
Schwäbisch Hall  Berlin
Tracing Roman Germania 1999
Tracing Roman Germania 2003 in the works
Ancient Rome as seen in the year 2001
Schwäbisch Hall, for photos click here



view from my hotel roomHaving caught some kind of summer flu, I was lucky to have extended family living close to Aalen, where they had met me for dinner the night before, and they kindly picked me up. They live outside Schwäbisch Hall. After they'd taken me to the doctor and fed me lunch, I booked myself into a downtown hotel, rather than staying in the suburbs and disrupting their weekend plans. And I did not regret it:  The Ring-Hotel Hohenlohe across the Kocher river from the old town was one of the best I stayed in during my trip! It is in easy walking distance of the old town, and in fact I got my first good view of the town from the patio of my hotel room. The food was superb, once I felt like eating again, and the service was excellent. I stayed there four nights, and having given myself some latitude in planning the trip, I did not have to give up much of my plans, just juggled the next stays a bit around.

Schwäbisch (Suebian) Hall was called Hall until 1934. The name change did not go over well with the citizenry, who consider themselves Frankonians rather than Suebians. But the name has stuck. It is an ancient settlement near saline springs, a source of income as white gold of the Middle Ages, and archaeological finds go back to Celts and Romans. First mentioned in 1037, Hall became a free imperial city in 1280 and remained thus until the Napoleonic wars in 1802. Here is a timeline in German. Air raids and a battle in 1945 destroyed part of the town. During the Reformation, Hall became Protestant under the famous preacher Johannes Brenz, who luckily did not approve of the reformation iconoclasm, so that the wonderful St. Michael's Church did not loose any of its art. The town burned down several times and was especially affected by The Thirty Years War. A major fire in 1728 again destroyed the town center.

Today, the old town, especially the area around the market square, is a mix of styles, from the Romanesque west tower of the town church to classicism in 1812. Houses like the baroque town hall, which were destroyed or damaged in 1945, have been rebuilt. Here are some photos.

Michaelskirche - click here for photosThe town is dominated by the Michaelskirche or Stadtkirche St. Michael, which is almost at the highest part of the town on top of a flight of 54 steps rising up from the market square. Originally consecrated in 1156, the church was torn down – with exception of the west tower – and rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries. Much of the sacral art in the church is of the same era. This being a Protestant church, opening hours for visitors are limited. Here are some of my photos.

The church steps are being used for open-air theater during the summer. We speculated how difficult it must be for the actors, acting, speaking their lines, and moving up and down the steps at the same time.

Then the is the Globe Theater on an island in the Kocher, constructed like the Shakespearean theater in England. To get there, one has to walk across a covered bridge. Schwäbisch Hall boasts no less than seven covered bridges, the most in Germany.

Another building that looms over the town is the early 16th century Neubau (new building), a mighty structure that used to house the town's cannons on the first floor, with the top floors being used as a granary. Part of it was made into a theater hall in 1652, and plays are still performed there.

There are pleasant walks along the little river too.

Here are two more links about Schwäbisch Hall:  Schwäbisch Hall - Hohenlohe and - Schwäbisch Hall.

© Irene B. Hahn 2002

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