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Miltenberg – Youthful Middle Ages

Miltenberg not only delights with a medieval old city centre filled with half-timbered houses, romantic alleyways and hidden corners. It is also a place of vibrant urban culture and youthful Middle Ages.

Discover Germany’s oldest inn for nobility, the “Gasthaus zum Riesen” (“Giant’s Inn”) as well as the famous “Schnatterloch” which forms part of the old market square. This ensemble consisting of the market fountain and magnificent half-timbered houses is a highlight of romantic, historic townscapes. It is one of the most photographed places in Germany.

The award-winning Museum Stadt Miltenberg, counted among the most beautiful museums in Bavaria, presents the daily life of past centuries as well as art, history and our region. A fascinating interaction of ancient ikons and contemporary art can be seen within the historic castle walls of the Mildenburg, where you will find the Museum Burg Miltenberg overlooking the town.

We recommend Miltenberg as the starting point for your activities in Odenwald and Spessart. Discover the countless opportunities: No matter, if you want to play golf on the amazing courses around Miltenberg, if you want to go shopping or walking, go on bicycle or mountainbike tours, have a swim, play tennis, go horse-riding or visit museums or vintners – there is something for everyone!

All year long you can choose between many cultural events, be it guided tours, cabarets, concerts, theatre or kleinkunst, exhibitions, readings or presentations – you can find everything in our online event calendar. Regional festivals like the MainFest, the Michaelismesse (St. Michael’s Fair), the Miltenberger Weinherbst or Christmas markets add to our varied offer of spare time activities.

Miltenberg and its incorporated villages

Would you like to relax, enjoy some tranquillity or escape daily routine?

Then our villages resting on top of the pictorial rolling hills of the Odenwald, only a few kilometres outside of Miltenberg will feel just right.

Sights

Black Quarter

Menschen im Schwarzviertel

Nr. on the small map: 8 (Miltenberg)
The Black Quarter is the oldest part of Miltenberg with a lot of beautiful half-timbered houses, located between the Schwertfeger Gate and the Market Square. The Greinberg mountain in the south casts its shadow onto the Black Quarter, so that in winter the sun barely reaches the ground; hence its name. The oldest remaining half-timbered house of Miltenberg, however, can be admired in the pedestrian area, Hauptstraße 136, and was built around 1339. By mistake, the year of construction was inscribed with 1333.

Mikvah

Fachwerkhaus mit der ehemaligen Mikwe in Miltenberg

Nr. on the small map: 9 (Miltenberg)

You find a Mikvah in the center of the Black Quarter, in the Löwengasse. It was a bath used at specific occasions for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism and was in use until the beginning of the 20th century. The four-storey half-timbered house is now privately owned and was renovated in 2003.

Bann House

Bannhaus in Miltenberg
Bannhaus in Miltenberg mit Pfarrkirche im Hintergrund

Nr. on the small map: 10 (Miltenberg)

From the 13th century until 1780, the old Bann House used to be a customs office for Mainz. In its courtyard there are remains of the oldest town wall of Miltenberg. Siege projectiles, so called trebuchet stones are decorating the retaining wall. From the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, the building was used as town prison.

Former Superior Bailiwick (Oberamt „Adelshof“)

Treppenturm des Adelshofs oder Oberamts in Miltenberg, heute Stadtbücherei
Treppenturm des Adelshofs oder Oberamts in Miltenberg, heute Stadtbücherei

Nr. on the small map: 11 (Miltenberg)       

The former Superior Bailiwick was originally an aristocratic court and, the way it presents itself today, dates back to the family ‘Lords of Fechenbach’, approximately in 1679. After 1730, it became bailiwick of Mainz, later an official building with different designations until 1964. A medieval tower (Stumpfturm) being part of the first surrounding wall to the west was constantly guarded by two men as statutory by a watch and fire regulation.

Old Synagogue

Silberner Purimteller im Museum Stadt Miltenberg
Chanukkaleuchter im Museum Stadt Miltenberg

Nr. on the small map: 12 (Miltenberg)

Around 1290, the Old Synagogue was built. It is one of the oldest sacred Jewish buildings of Europe, retained in its original masonry. Inside the Museum Stadt Miltenberg, you can look at the only salvaged interior fitting: The pediment of the Torah. Sadly, the synagogue is not open to public, as it was sold to a brewery in 1877 by the Jewish Community.

Tip: A significant collection of Judaica is on display in the Museum Stadt Miltenberg.

Parish Church „St. James the Great“

Katholische Pfarrkirche St. Jakobus in Miltenberg von innen
Altar der katholischen Stadtpfarrkirche St. Jakobus
Türme der katholischen Stadtpfarrkirche St. Jakobus in Miltenberg

Nr. on the small map: 13 (Miltenberg)

The Church “St. James the Great” had already existed since the early days of Miltenberg in the 13th century but has frequently been reconstructed and enlarged. Its last fundamental interior renovation, where the inside of the church was redesigned, concluded in 2004. Still present are, e.g. the 14th century pillars at the central nave, the Three Wise Men from around 1400, the so-called Backoffen-Cross from around 1500, and the alabaster altar piece from 1624, as well as the pulpit of Zacharias Juncker from 1635.

The depiction of Mary, originally in the pilgrimage chapel “Maria uff den Staffeln” (“St. Mary on the Stairs”) which was demolished in 1825, is singled out in a side chapel. The classicistic towers of 1830 crucially determine the town’s image.

Staffelbrunserbrunnen ("Stair-Piddlers’ Well")

Staffelbrunserbrunnen in Miltenberg
Staffelbrunserbrunnen in Miltenberg mit Brunnenbecken

Nr. on the small map: 14 (Miltenberg)

A lot of towns and communities have mocking or nicknames which nowadays are used mainly during Carnival season. Citizens of Miltenberg are the “Staffelbrunser” (Stair Piddlers: “brunsen” being the local dialect word for peeing). The “Staffelbrunserbrunnen” was made in reference of this mocking name. 

Even though there are lots of legends trying to explain the nickname, the most reasonable explanation is that those fetching water from the “Stair Well” (# 22) were called the Stair Pitchers. 

At some point this nickname was used for all citizens of Miltenberg and, and with the similarity of “Brunsen” (peeing) and Brunnen (well), spoofed into Stair Piddlers.

The well was created by Helmut Kunkel, an Aschaffenburg sculptor by order of the Tourism Board Miltenberg, which merged a bit later into “MCity Trade and Tourism Board Miltenberg”. The statues represent different characters: the “Glee” (Tiny), the “Gross” (Tall) and the “Angeber” (Show off).

Market Square with Market Fountain and the „Schnatterloch“

Der Marktplatz in Miltenberg mit Blumen im Vordergrund
Schild mit Informationen zum Schnatterloch in Miltenberg
Marktplatz Miltenberg, Blick auf Haus Clausius und dessen Nachbarhäuser

Nr. on the small map: 15 (Miltenberg)

The heart of town is, without doubt, the Market Square with its Market Fountain. Numerous magnificent half-timbered houses, the Schnatterloch Tower, the renaissance archway leading to the Castle, and the renaissance fountain (1583) by Michael Junker (see Bürgstadt # 9) blend into a coherent picture, which classifies as one of the most photographed images of Germany. 

House Clausius (Hotel Schmuckkästchen) with its oriel, also known by various other names, is particularly flashy. The probably most beautiful houses were built between the 16th and early 17th century and still present themselves proudly the day today. Also from the times after the Thirty Years War, there are still some half-timbered houses present and complete the setting.

Museum Burg Miltenberg and Mildenburg Castle

Burghof der Mildenburg mit Blick auf den Palas
Burganlage der Mildenburg mit Bergfried von Westen her gesehen
Burghof der Mildenburg von der Burgmauer aus gesehen
Museum Burg Miltenberg
Logo der Burglandschaft Spessart und Odenwald

Nr. on the small map: 16 (Miltenberg)

Around 1150 the Mildenburg Castle was built by order of the Staufer King Conrad III. The castle keep and the castle wall date back to this time.

Around 1200 the castle became property of the Archbishop of Mainz who used it as an office building for his bailiff. Below the castle the settlement Miltenberg grew fast.

The castle’s current appearance dates back to the 16th century, when it was partly destroyed in the Margrave War (1552) and then reconstructed with the stair tower as a new feature. The bailiff moved to the town around 1730 and the building fell into decay. Ownership of the castle changed repeatedly during the 19th and 20th centuries. The respective owners modernized parts of the complex and added other parts. 

The administration of Miltenberg bought the building which by then was in a very pitiable state. Following extensive renovations the Mildenburg Castle is now open for public. 

The keep offers stunning view into the river Main valley and onto the town.

The castle has been used as Museum Burg Miltenberg since the renovations were completed in 2011 and you can take a closer look at a fascinating interaction of ancient icons (16th to 19th century from Russian and Greek provenance) and contemporary art. The pieces are from the 20th and 21st century, e.g. by artists like Barlach, Beuys, Fräger, Lange, Lehnen, Morgner, Polke, Stötzer, Stoltz, Triegel, and Willikens. Just like the view from the castle’s windows offer a glance beyond the boundaries of the walls on the endless panorama of the Main River, the artworks offer a glance beyond the boundaries of our life and world. The artists’ spiritual intentions to cross frontiers inspire the visitors to open their horizons and envision this particular dimension of the museum.

Opening Hours:
16th March to 1st November: Tue – Sun 11:00 – 17:00 h
2nd November to 15th March: Winter break

Museum Burg Miltenberg
63897 Miltenberg
Germany
Tel.: +49(0)9371-668504

info@museen-miltenberg.de
www.museum-miltenberg.de

Guided tours can be offered outside opening hours as well

Tip: Burglandschaft
Numerous castles, palaces and ruins, as well as fortified churches, circular ramparts and fortified towns around Miltenberg just wait to be explored. 

Museum Stadt Miltenberg

Museumsführung im Museum Stadt Miltenberg - Fischer- und Schifferausstellung
Museum Stadt Miltenberg - Römerausstellung
Museum Stadt Miltenberg - Flugzeugmodell in der Spielzeugabteilung
geschnitzte Darstellungen der vier Evangelisten im Museum Stadt Miltenberg

Nr. on the small map: 18 (Miltenberg)

The main building was built in 1541 by the Mainz Bailiff Bernhard von Hardheim on an older building’s footing. From 1625 on the house was used as the seat of the Mainz Electorate’s administration. The adjacent former Latin school, and a renaissance style garden offering a delightful view of the town are also part of the museum.

It now houses the museum of the town of Miltenberg (Museum Stadt Miltenberg) with a a sumptuous, collection of transregional importance including many precious objects.

Architectural features of the museum are pointed out to visitors along the way through the buildings. Regular events and special exhibitions make the visit even more worthwhile.

The museum was awarded the Bavarian Museum Award and the Advancement Award of Lower Franconia.

Opening hours:
16th March to 1st November: Tue – Sun 10:00-17:00 h
2nd November to 14th January: Wed – Sun 11:00-16:00 h
15th January to 15th March: Winter break

Museum Stadt Miltenberg
Hauptstr. 169-175
63897 Miltenberg
Tel.: +49(0)9371-668504

info@museen-miltenberg.de
www.museum-miltenberg.de

Guided tours are also available outside the opening hours and groups are welcome to book a museum workshop (also available for adults).

Composer Joseph Martin Kraus and the Baroque House at the Market Square

Kopf der Statue von Joseph Martin Kraus am Marktplatz in Miltenberg
Barockhaus am Marktplatz in Miltenberg
Statue von Joseph Martin Kraus abendlich beleuchtet

Nr. on the small map: 19 (Miltenberg)

Builder Johann Martin Schmidt constructed this house at the Market Square in 1750 of red bunter sandstone as his private residence. His grandson, the composer and later royal Swedish court music director Joseph Martin Kraus who is nicknamed „Odenwälder Mozart“ was born in this house in 1756. Kraus grew up in Amorbach, Osterburken and Buchen, enjoying an extensive education from the beginning.

Despite his love for music he first studied law, and went to Stockholm in 1778 . At that time, Kraus already suffered from impaired health. Until he was appointed court music director by Gustav III, having performed his opera „Proserpin“, Kraus had lived through some bitterly poor years. He died at the peak of his career in 1792, and was laid to rest on the peninsula Tivoli in the north of Stockholm. Engraved in his tombstone you find: “Here rest the worldly remains of Kraus – his divine talent lives inside his music.” His numerous works include operas, stage and ballet music, arias, ballads, cantatas, symphonies, and chamber music pieces. The statue in front of the house was donated in 2006 by the Tourist Board Miltenberg as a monument for Kraus’ 250th birthday.

Tip: You can purchase CDs with a selection of Kraus’ music at the Museum Stadt Miltenberg or at the Tourist Information at the Engelplatz.

New Synagogue

So sieht die Neue Synagoge von Miltenberg heute aus
Grundstein der Neuen Synagoge in der Mainstraße

Nr. on the small map: currently none (Miltenberg)

Miltenberg probably had a Jewish community from the very beginning. The first synagogue of Miltenberg was built in the late 13th century. After a long history of many ups and downs the now dilapidated building was sold to the neighbouring brewery (“Kalt-Loch-Brauerei”) in 1877. The brewer renovated and repaired it and converted it to his fermenting cellar.

Thanks to nation-wide collections and some very generous donations, among others from Jews who came from Miltenberg and had made a fortune abroad (first of all William Klingenstein) the town’s master mason Ludwig Frosch could be assigned to draft the first blueprints of a new synagogue in 1903. In late August 1904 the synagogue was inaugurated in “a festivity, held, not only by the Jews but by the whole town with unfeigned joy”, as then mayor and chronicler Jakob Josef Schirmer wrote.

In 1938 the Nazis destroyed especially the eastern part of the synagogue with the sacred spaces. Afterwards the house was reconstructed as a residential building. Today only some small elements remind those who know of the house’s history of its previous exterior (arches over the windows, an empty badge over the door but most of all the foundation stone).

Due to the destruction in the Third Reich, we have to rely on old photographs if we want to know what it originally looked like. In the register of monuments the description of the “New Synagogue” (monument D-6-76-139-293) is rather brief: “Former synagogue, two-storey building of bunter ashlars with a mansard roof and an elevated median avant-corps with a pyramid roof, historicist, 1904 (domed sacred space destroyed 1938 and reconstructed for residential use)”

Old Town Hall

Hochwassermarken am Alten Rathaus in Miltenberg

Nr. on the small map: 20 (Miltenberg)
The Old Town Hall was first mentioned in 1379 as the weighing house. It was additionally used as dance and council hall (hall on the upper level), warehouse, and shopping mall (ground floor) where travelling merchants had to display their goods for sale. Between 1979 -1983, the building was being renovated and can today be booked for all kinds of events. Markings on the outer façade give evidence of former flood levels.

Staffelbrunnen (Stair Well)