From the witch’s cottage to the tower clock, when looking for insider tips for Miltenberg and Bürgstadt, there are some unusual places to discover.
The best way to find insider tips for Miltenberg and Bürgstadt is to go with an insider. Many of the places you can not visit alone, or should ask in advance when a tour is possible. It is best to book one of the many city tours to the most diverse.
Insider tips for Miltenberg
There is so much to discover on a tour through the old town of Miltenberg.
The Hench bakery in Miltenberg, a family-run business in the heart of the old town, has been around since 1753. A glance at the display in the store does not yet suggest why this baker in particular is one of the insider tips for Miltenberg.
But if you then go around the house, you can already discover through the window a historic bakery, which is still partly used today. Here there is an old wood-burning oven in which they bake the popular wood-fired bread with its characteristic taste.
You can still discover old some machines with which even today the ingredients for some products are processed. A very popular bread is the monastery bread that is baked without yeast with natural sourdough. The loaf of pure rye bread weighs 4 kg and develops a wonderful smell of herbs when cut.
Opening hours bakery:
Monday – Friday: 6- 18:30h
Saturday: 6- 14h
Miltenberg and the witches
The time of the witch hunt was also clearly felt in the region around Miltenberg. This insider tip for Miltenberg is really cruel.
There was a time when it was claimed that women and men had committed themselves to the devil and their mere presence was said to have caused damage to fellow human beings and much worse to the grain or wine harvest. Often the envy of fellow men was also a reason for suspicion. Why should the neighbor succeed in doing something that one could not do oneself. There nevertheless only the devil could have been at work.
Anyone suspected of witchcraft in Miltenberg was first imprisoned. Since the prisoners themselves had to pay for the costs, i.e. food, water, guards, trial, etc., it was mostly the wealthier citizens who could afford it. The accused were housed in small “witch houses”, which were lined up along the eastern outer side of the city wall.
In total, there were about 25 of these witch houses or magic houses. Whoever was locked up there was chained in a 1.65m x 1.65m x 1.55m shed. To prove innocence, the defendant had to answer 99 questions and torture could be used. If the prisoner wanted to avoid this, he could buy the redemptive neck break from the executioner.
In Miltenberg, the witch mania cost the lives of over 200 people, mostly men, in a good four decades. The municipality was one of the areas with the highest persecution rate.
Today, one of the insider tips for Miltenberg is the only remaining witch’s cottage, which is located in the private garden of a residential house directly on the town wall. With guided tours it is possible to see it and learn everything about the witch hunt in Miltenberg.
Old Jewish Cemetery
Southeast of the city walls of Miltenberg is the Old Jewish Cemetery of the city. Even though there is a sign to the cemetery even from the pedestrian zone, only few visitors get lost here.
Today it is assumed that people were buried in this cemetery already in the 15th century. By a report of a teacher of the Jewish school from 1927 one knows that he discovered a gravestone from 1812 in the cemetery, where the inscription was still readable. Other gravestones had only illegible inscriptions.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Jewish community needed a new cemetery, as the cemetery was completely occupied.
Today there are still some gravestones on the site. The grass grows almost the whole year, it is rarely mowed, and so one wanders through a high meadow on small trails from stone to stone. Something special are the three niche graves, which are located at the wall at the castle path. When the Burgweg was widened, the wall was placed on the existing cemetery area. Three graves were “in the way” and so they created niches in the wall to be able to preserve them.
Those who are able to read ancient Hebrew should take a look at the still legible inscriptions on the gravestones. The stonemasons of that time were not Jews and did not know how to write. Thus, one or the other error has crept into the characters.
Renaissance Garden in the Museum of the City of Miltenberg
A hidden place in Miltenberg is in the city’s museum. If you wander through the museum, you will not only admire an interesting collection, but also find an interesting architecture.
Thus, the museum consists of a main building from 1541, a Latin school and a hidden garden, which is reached by a few steps.
If you open the door, which is located in a small tower, you stand in a beautifully landscaped Renaissance garden. If you look over the boundary wall of the garden, a beautiful view over Miltenberg opens up.
Insider tips for Miltenberg: Tower clock St. Jakobus
The Catholic parish church of St. James stands directly at the Schnatterloch. It is dedicated to the Apostle James the Elder.
The church, as it can be seen in Miltenberg today, was built after the existing structure was declared dilapidated in 1782. It is built in the classicist style, with a slate hipped roof and plastered masonry. Two church towers make the church a prominent landmark in the town, visible from afar.
The church bells of the church have become famous. The 6 bells are the most powerful ringing in the diocese after that of the Würzburg Cathedral. The bells with the names Our Lady, St. James, St. John Nepomuk, St. Boniface, St. Pius and St. Kilian were rung continuously for 20 minutes in July 2006 by the priest at the time. He wanted to drown out a demonstration by an NPD youth organization.
Unknown and thus one of the town’s hidden treasures is the 1876 movement of the church tower clock. Every day, the sexton climbs the uneven stone steps in the tower to wind the movement by hand.
During my visit to the city, I was able to take a look at the mechanical movement. Large, black and well-oiled, gears run here, labeled with minutes and hours. Every quarter of an hour, they set a mechanism in motion that is connected to the chiming mechanism. It’s a pity that I know so little about mechanics. I found the movement very interesting and would have liked to understand the individual processes in more detail.
Insider tip for Bürgstadt
You can walk to Bürgstadt wonderfully from Miltenberg. A pedestrian and bicycle path runs directly along the banks of the Main River. At the height of Bürgstadt there is an underpass of the federal highway, from which you walk directly in the direction of the town hall.
St. Martin’s Chapel in Bürgstadt
St. Martin’s Chapel is certainly one of the most beautiful chapels I have visited so far. Even on my first visit to Bürgstadt, I went to the chapel rather by chance and was amazed at what a visually unique interior design had awaited me there. Now on my second visit I was to learn so much about the chapel.
St. Martin’s Chapel is considered one of the oldest chapels in Bavaria, which probably even had some predecessors. It is known that in the first half of the 13th century, only a few meters from the chapel, a new church was built, dedicated to St. Margaret. The chapel was hardly used from that moment on.
If you stand in front of the small chapel, you will notice three stone crosses next to the entrance. This seems somewhat unusual and so it is not surprising that a legend is told about these crosses.
Each of these crosses is said to stand for a bowling brother who got into a quarrel after a visit to an inn. Allegedly, the first was slain by the second and the second by the third. Finally, the third was executed for his deed. Whether this is true or just a nice story?
But it could also be just three wayside crosses….
The west portal shows a picture of the patron saint of the chapel. St. Martin sits on his horse and shares his coat with a beggar. Above him, in the apex of the pointed arch, Christ hovers and holds the divided half of the cloak in his hand.
View into the chapel
On my second visit, I am again full of enthusiasm in St. Martin’s Chapel. The hall with the almost square choir is painted with beautiful pictures. Here you should sit down in one of the pews and just let your eyes wander.
My gaze first falls on the ceiling, which shows a very unusual design. Besides the ornaments painted on wood, one can also discover some figural representations, such as the sun, God the Father and Christ. It is said that the representation is supposed to represent the sky. I find it interesting that the figural representations were painted on paper and then applied to the ceiling.
The gallery parapet was renewed in 1729-1733. Here you can see pictures of the 12 apostles and Christ.
The design of the side walls of the church is impressive. There are a total of 40 medallions showing scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The “poor man’s Bible” was probably placed on the walls of the church to show the story in pictures to visitors who could not read. It is best to start viewing in the top row in the south nave with the creation of the world and first follow the entire top row on both sides of the nave. Then it continues in the second row, again in the southern nave, with the childhood and ministry of Jesus, and concludes in the third row with the Ascension.
The paintings were created by a painter who used the initials IBM and left the date 1593. Who was it? It is not known until today.
In the chancel is the high altar from 1620, where the scene of St. Martin sharing his coat can also be found as an altarpiece.
On the walls of the choir you can still find remnants of the former painting. These were whitewashed until 1907 and were only uncovered later. Three themes can be seen: Coats of arms, Evangelists/Church Fathers and scenes from the life of St. Martin. Under one window is a carved figure of St. Martin, which dates from around 1500.
It is worth looking a little closer at the pictures in the church. Then you will discover something very unusual. Here there is actually a goose that lures people into the mouth of a crocodile. The people are driven forward by a figure with a human face and legs like a chicken. I wonder if this is supposed to symbolize the road to hell?
St. Martin’s Chapel is usually locked. The key for visits can be borrowed from the Kling nursery right next door or outside their opening hours from Josef Hofmann (Martinsgasse 18) or from the Churfrankenvinothek.
I was shown the insider tips for Miltenberg and Bürgstadt during a press trip.