Alsfeld – Birthplace of the Red Riding Hood
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Alsfeld is a city you want to dream about.
After spending a great time in Fulda and talking to my wife’s girlfriend (about it in the story about Fulda) we went home.
The time was fairly early, nevertheless to stop in Marburg (which is not quite, however, on the way home), we have not – so many experiences at once is probably too much.
However, I still could not resist the temptation to visit an unplanned city. There are a lot of different signs on German motorways.
Signs warn of construction sites, radar guns, inform about junctions and exits…
The inscriptions are usually made on a dark blue, white or yellow background. Sometimes brown signs with the silhouettes of castles, fortresses and other landmarks are found.
They are of interest to tourists traveling in Germany by car. Such a sign with the inscription “Alsfeld” lured us from the highway to this little cozy town, in which for a couple of hours I plunged into a fairy tale, the backstage for which is a real half-timbered paradise.
Having put the car without any problems in the very center of the old town, I went with a camera to explore the surroundings.
On returning after a couple of hours I found my wife peacefully asleep in the car in the same position as before my departure.
Naturally the result of my photo hunt partially here,
Here’s a little info on Wikipedia.
Alsfeld (German Alsfeld) is a town in Germany, in the federal state of Hesse. Subordinate to the administrative district of Giessen. It is part of the district of Vogelsberg. The population is 17,191 (as of June 30, 2007). It occupies an area of 129.69 km². The official code is 06 5 35 001.
On several sites of Russian travel agencies information about it is placed by copy, even there is no one to refer to. Especially since I have finalized it myself.
Alsfeld (like Bruges, for example) is a city that still retains its medieval character.
Alsfeld with its half-timbered ensemble, the world-famous late Gothic town hall church of St. Walpurgis – is an architectural gem, not only in Germany, but also in Europe.
Alsfeld was founded supposedly in the Carolingian era (VIII-IX centuries) as a residence and had, as shown by excavations at the Church of St. Walpurga,
a Romanesque church with three apses.
Every stone breathes history here (c) – these familiar words can safely be applied to this beauty.
In general, for me in Germany (and not only) is difficult to find a not beautiful city or castle.
As for this jewel, you can’t doubt it for a second.
Those of you who want to dive deeper into the facts of history – be my guest.
For the rest of you, I suggest you just take a stroll through the town.
In the heyday of the burgherism, there was
With their numerous half-timbered houses they still give the market square a picturesque appearance today.
Since the half-timbered (block) house construction method has long been the most common in Germany, many towns like Alsfeld can be found on German soil.
However, it belongs to those in which the historic center and buildings are in almost perfect condition.
It was Alsfeld was the example of a town, on the example of which the federal and state authorities in the 70s of the last century developed the concept of reconstruction and preservation of monuments of half-timbered architecture.
The results, as they say, are there, or rather on the facades, which one wants to photograph all of them,
individually, in groups or as a whole street.
Of course, in the city, which gave the world literature the outfit for Little Red Riding Hood, one cannot help but have a fairy tale museum.
It was the traditional folk costumes of the inhabitants of Alsfeld and the Schwalm Valley that the Brothers Grimm took as a basis when describing her attire.
Nowadays there is not only an exhibition on the work of the Brothers Grimm, but also a collection of toy dolls’ houses and kitchens.
At the beginning of the 17th century, 2,500 people lived in Alsfeld.
The invaders of the town in 1640 and 1643-1646 destroyed 226 houses and 80 barns (1646), so that in 1648 the town had only 1120 inhabitants.
Only in the 19th century, as a district town, Alsfeld experienced a boom thanks to the construction of the railroad and industrialization,
The connection to the motorway network (1938) and the further building of industrial plants helped the further development of the town.
Whoever gets to know the German half-timbered houses in Alsfeld for the first time cannot help but fall in love with this fairy-tale style.
The city makes you want to dream.
Its charms once worked for the Grimm brothers.
Today it could be you.
Enjoy watching it and see you in Germany.
Country: Germany Town: Hilden (Dusseldorf next door) Hobbies: travelling various distances, photography. my profile
1. In many stories there is a mention of “half-timbered” More about this style of building is in the story of Limburg Link to the page (opens in a new window) ———- edited by: gregormichael at 26.02.2009 02:20:32
Country: Germany Town: Hilden (Dusseldorf next door) Hobbies: travelling various distances, photography. my profile
2. Added a handy map of the state of Hesse to the story, on which you can easily find the places described – and Marburg, and Alsfeld, and Limburg, and Fudda. I have, understandably, only listed the towns about which there are stories.
The German Fairy Tale Road: On the trail of Little Red Riding Hood, The Musicians of Bremen and Sleeping Beauty
Many famous storytellers lived in Germany. They created fascinating stories of characters that have already become the friends of generations of children. To the wonderful characters and, most importantly, the magical places where they “lived” is dedicated the German Fairy Tale Road. The road from Hanau to Bremen has been a success since 1975. It passes through seven dozen towns, countless elegant castles and picture fortresses, crosses eight nature reserves and Vogelsberg Highlands.
Features of the German Fairy Tale Road
The most famous collectors of stories, fairy tales, and legends in Germany were the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They showed the world “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Rapunzel,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and many other works.
The route of the Road of Fairy Tales is inextricably linked to the lives of the Grimm brothers and the places where the characters of their tales worked their miracles.
The amazing itinerary began in 1975. The German National Tourism Office responded to the growing interest in “fairy tale places” and combined them all into one itinerary. The excursion turned out to be a multi-day tour for tourists with their own car or rented vehicle, as the road runs through settlements located at a considerable distance from each other.
Soon the Road of Fairy Tales became world famous.
Its length is 600 kilometers, the route runs through the lands of the five federal states of Germany. Starts in Hanau, passes through Steinau, Schwalm-Eder, Hovgaysmar, Trendelburg, Marburg, Polle, Bremen and many other settlements. And each of them has its own fabulous attraction.
List of attractions on the Fairy Tale Road
The route is formed in such a way that each traveler has the opportunity to stop exactly at the places that interest him more than others. There is no direct highway connecting all the famous places.
We will get acquainted with the most popular sights, which are considered a must see for tourists.
The road of fairy tales begins in the city where the Grimm brothers were born in the eighteenth century – storytellers, scholars, and the founders of German philology. Residents in Hanau are very proud of their countrymen, and monuments to the Brothers Grimm have been erected on the main square in the old part of town. Nearby is the historic town hall and the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Hanau is about 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt.
But Wilhelm and Jacob spent their youth not here but in Steinau, the second stop on the Fairy Tale Road. The small provincial town is known for its costume festivals. To get to one of these, you should travel along the Road in August.
During the festivals, the characters of the Grimm fairy tales walk the streets of Steinau, and the central square shows fascinating performances. But Steinau is equally appealing to visitors in autumn, winter and spring. That’s just half-timbered houses with painted on the walls of the subjects of fairy tales. And the house, in which Jacob and Wilhelm spent his youth! The structure survives to this day.
The entire city literally breathes with fairy tales, in addition to paintings on the facades of houses, there are bronze figures of characters from the most famous stories in the streets.
The House of Fairy Tales and the Museum of Fairy Tales open their doors to tourists here. If you couldn’t make it to the costume festival in Steinau, you could instead stop by Alsfeld – the themed parades through the town are just as good as the fairytale festivals in the neighbouring towns.
And in Alsfeld the partially ruined castle of Landgrave Hermann Hesse and the imposing town hall dominate the city.
Tourists of the Fairy Tale Road call Alsfeld one of the most beautiful sights of the entire route.
Time seems to stand still here – once you enter the town, the magic transports us back to medieval times. There are ancient, beautiful houses and figurines of fairy tale characters all around.
Here the Brothers Grimm studied at university, became interested in folklore, which predetermined their lifelong occupation, and later even taught. Marburg is considered the cultural capital of Hesse and the city of medieval fairy tales.
If you have ever heard of the Grimm brothers’ tales filled with rather brutal scenes of executions, this is precisely the period in Marburg.
Life in medieval Europe was not characterized by ease and spectacle, often the only “entertainment” for people was public executions. Stories were handed down from generation to generation in the form of legends, they were shown to the world by the Grimm brothers.
In addition, Marburg has several architectural monuments such as the Marburg Castle, the old town hall and the Church of St. Elisabeth.
Land of the Little Red Riding Hood
The town of Schwalmstadt is home to the famous Little Red Riding Hood. According to legend, it was the traditional costumes of the area with red headdresses that prompted the brothers to create the image of Little Red Riding Hood.
Old Schwalmstadt is called the capital of the tourist region Schwalm, known as the Land of the Little Red Riding Hood.
In summer, festivals are held in honor of the beloved fairy tale heroine of the locals.
During these days Schwalmstadt is beyond recognition, blooming in bright colors, filled with old music, the heroes of the Grimm brothers stories, the streets ride in a carriage with princes and wizards.
In Hameln there are many theatrical festivals dedicated to the German fairy tales. After all, it was the Grimm brothers who recorded and revised the famous urban legend, which is known to the world as the story of the Pied Piper of Hameln. With his pipe he drove away not only the rats that plagued Hameln, but also the children. Locals say that something similar happened in the city in the 13th century.
The story of the Pied Piper of Hameln is shown every year at city festivals.
The old town of Fritzlar was founded over 900 years ago. Like many provincial towns, it has almost completely preserved the structure and appearance of the Medieval era.
It is said that Fritzlar looks like a frame from a Disney fairy tale. Old towers, masonry, half-timbered houses – all create a unique atmosphere of magic.
And although there is no specific character from the Grimm fairy tales connected with the town, it was rightly included in the Fairy Tale Road itinerary because of its atmosphere.
Considered to be the center of the original Fairy Tale Road, Wilhelm and Jacob worked for around thirty years in Kassel, gathering material for their first compositions. This fact allowed Kassel to become one of the most popular stops on the fairy tale route. The city is a medieval settlement with many modern buildings and a university area.
Wilhelm is known to have worked in the library since 1816, and was later joined by his brother Jacob.
Together they collected tales and legends and were actively engaged in research work.
It was in Kassel that the brothers published their first collection of German fairy tales, Children’s and Home Stories.
Of course, the city collected many of the storytellers’ personal belongings, as well as the books they used, all of which can be seen at the Brothers Grimm Museum.
Many sights are dedicated to the characters of fairy tales, but the Castle of the Sleeping Beauty is one of the most striking. This romantic, graceful building near Hofheimar is situated in the Reinhardswald forest. Legend has it that the Sleeping Beauty waited in the tower of this castle for her prince for 100 years and that she woke up to his kiss.
The building is of venerable age, it was built in the XIV century and at that time was used for defensive purposes. In the XV century the castle became the property of the counts of Hesse, but, as it turned out, they were not interested in taking care of the premises.
In the 1490s William of Hesse built a new palace on the old foundations. But even he did not survive all the hardships of that period without losses.
After the creation of the tourist route, the castle was partially reconstructed, and later a hotel was opened here. So all travelers are advised to stay in the castle. You can spend time in cafes, theater and restaurants, visit numerous summer festivals and even get married, because in Sababurg there is a registry office.
Trendelburg is better known as the Enchanted Castle.
It was here that the famous Rapunzel dipped her lovely tresses down. One of the upper towers of the castle served as the prototype of the one depicted in the fairy tale.
Polle is a small village, where according to the storyline of the fairy tale the beautiful Cinderella lived. The central monument – the palace – has been completely restored, it serves as a backdrop for many performances and carnivals.
Tourists can see Cinderella herself with her prince, as well as try on the crystal slipper from the fairy tale.
House of Mrs. Blizzard.
It is believed that the stern Mistress Metelitsa lives on the mountain peaks between Heiligenstadt and Göttingen. It is definitely worth stopping by Göttingen itself, the Grimm brothers lived here for a time, and it is also home to “the most kissed girl in the world.”
This nickname was chosen for the fountain sculpture “The Girl with the Goose”, based on the fairy tale of the same name. There is a tradition: All graduates of the University of Göttingen have to kiss the girl on the bronze cheek.
The Road of Fairy Tales ends here. The old town was founded back in the eighth century, and 1,000 years later the Grimm brothers put their Bremen musicians here. Be sure to visit the market square, where the characters gave their performances.
As we said before, the route of the Road of Fairy Tales can be changed at your discretion. Therefore, it is advisable for tourists to decide in advance what sights they want to see. All of the stops without exception are insanely interesting, but some fairy tales we like more than others, right?
To begin with, the start of the itinerary can be moved at will. The first few stops (Hanau, Steinau or Marburg) are more about the lives of the Grimm brothers than their fairy tale characters. If you are interested in the biographies of these extraordinary people, you should never miss the start of the route.
For those who are primarily looking for the locations of the famous beloved fairy tales, we recommend starting in Gameln, where the tale of the Pied Piper takes place.
When you get to Kassel, you have to choose where to go next: if you turn left, you will see the castle of Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, and those who decide to turn right will discover the domain of Mrs. Blizzard and Snow White. You can, of course, take two routes to see everything.
Other hiking trails in Germany
Germany is rich in a variety of themed routes. For example, the Romantic Road is popular – the best solution for a honeymoon or a trip for two. On this road you will meet Würzburg with the most exquisite wines and restaurants, the unique medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and even Augsburg, the oldest city in Germany, which was founded during the Roman Empire.
The Castle Road is suitable for those who want to get acquainted with the palaces in Germany. Neuenstein with its medieval cuisine, the perfectly preserved complex of medieval buildings in Bamberg, as if from a fairy tale, and even the castle-hotel Colmberg.
Another attractive route, though only for adult tourists, is the Wine Road. It passes through vineyards, including the most ancient ones, thematic museums, as well as the best restaurants where you can taste the noble beverage.
We’ve told you all about the monument to the eminent Brothers Grimm and the most popular spots on the Wonderland Trail, the Fairy Tale Road. There is no extra cost to travel along it, only entrance fees to some of the castles will be required. This trip will be a great option for a family vacation, it will please both children and adults, because we all remember fairy tales and characters that taught us a lot.