130km (81 miles) NW of Munich, 95km (59 miles) SW of Nürnberg
Along with Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen still stands within its original medieval walls, in part thanks to a 1826 law by the Romantic king himself, Ludwig I, preventing the dismantling of them. Things are rather tranquil around Nördlingen today; nonetheless, the town still employs sentries to sound the reassuring message, "So G'sell so" ("All is well"), as they did in the Middle Ages.
The town sits in a gigantic crater called the Ries. Once thought to be the crater of an extinct volcano, it is now known that the Ries was created by a meteorite at least half a mile in diameter. It struck the ground some 15 million years ago at more than 72,500kmph (45,000 mph). Today the Ries is the best-preserved and most scientifically researched meteorite crater on earth.