In 1631, during the Thirty Years’ War, the Protestant city of Rothenburg was captured by General Tilly, commander of the armies of the Catholic League. He promised to spare the town from destruction if one of the town burghers could drink down a huge tankard full of beer in one draft. Bürgermeister Nusch accepted the challenge and succeeded, thus saving Rothenburg. The tankard—with a capacity of 3.5 liters, more than 7 pints—is part of the historical collection of Rothenburg, housed in this 13th-century Dominican nunnery. Impressive as the vessel is, the story, like many juicy historical accounts, is apocryphal—Rothenburg actually simply paid off the invading troops to spare the town. Historians do, however, verify the past purpose of the barrel out front, where the nuns left bread for the poor and women left unwanted babies. The convent cloisters are especially well preserved, as is the medieval kitchen, said to be the oldest in Germany. Take time to study the 12-panel, 1494 “Rothenburg Passion,” by local painter Martinus Schwartz, which depicts scenes from the suffering of Christ; soldiers and bystanders are dressed in medieval garb, while some of the backdrops are scenes of old Rothenburg. Paintings by Englishman Arthur Wasse (1854–1930) show off Rothenburg as picture perfect and romantic as today’s postcards do. Wasse studied art in Munich and became so enamored of Rothenburg that he spent most of the rest of his life here. His paintings and reproductions were extremely popular in England, and by the late 19th century had inspired multitudes of travelers to visit Rothenburg.
- Frommer's Staff