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Schwäbisch Hall

1 January 2011 5 Comments

View of Schwäbisch Hall from the surrounding heights

View of Schwäbisch Hall from the surrounding heights

Lying in the valley along the river Kocher in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Schwäbisch Hall is a medieval German town with a modern edge. The area has the status of a city, but with a population size of only around 36,000, it can be more accurately described as a town.

Most civic, commercial and recreational activities revolve around the Altstadt (old city). The Altstadt is hilly with steps and sloped walkways. It begins with the St. Michael’s church and the Rathaus (Town hall) around the market square, which is located near the top of the hill. Walking downhill, one then finds the commercial centre of the town, which is stone-paved and vehicle free. The Altstadt of Schwäbisch Hall is pretty small (about half an hour’s walk from end to end), but it has almost everything you may need for your daily life – the market, bakeries, drugstores and a supermarket. It also has a number of bookstores, restaurants, cafes and apparel stores, including some typical chain stores found in big German cities like Müller and Orsay. It was most interesting to see how the old medieval buildings have been adapted to house modern functions.

St. Michael’s church, the town’s landmark

St. Michael’s church, the town’s landmark

View of the downtown Schwäbisch Hall

View of the downtown Schwäbisch Hall

Most businesses open from about 11am to 7pm on weekdays, except bars and cafes which may open till late at night. Many are fully closed on Sundays. On Sundays, locals hang out at the Biergarten (beer garden) or in the park by the river. If you happen to be in town on a Sunday and find yourself restless, take a walk to visit local sights outside the town, like the church of Großcomburg (about 4 km east of the Altstadt) or Der große Baum ( the big tree, around 4 km southwest of the town).

Schwäbisch Hall has a high population of foreigners, mostly youths, thanks to the presence of the Goethe Institut German language school. As a result, the locals are likely to switch to English when they hear patchy German spoken with a foreign accent. Some older residents, however, may not even use standard German, preferring to converse in the Schwäbian dialect. There are not many foreign tourists other than the Goethe students, but this town surprisingly attracts quite a number of German tourists. Most tourists visit Schwäbisch Hall to witness the middle-age Fachwerkhäuser (timber-frame) buildings and the town’s many festivals. On our visit, the Travcult crew was fortunate enough to catch an open air musical performed on the steps of the St. Michael’s church as part of the annual summer Freilichtspiele (open air festival).

The farmers’ market in Schwäbisch Hall

The farmers’ market in Schwäbisch Hall

View of the market square from the St. Michael’s church

View of the market square from the St. Michael’s church

The market square of Schwäbisch Hall hosts a farmers’ market every Wednesday and Saturday. Farmers from the Schwäbian region gather and set up their stalls and sell their goods. Locals love regional organic products and fresh vegetable, meat, cheese, bread, fruits and flowers can all be found in this market.

Getting around beyond the Altstadt would involve taking the public bus. There is a schedule pasted on every bus stop and buses do not come frequent so be sure to check the timings before making plans.  The bus can bring you to the public swimming pool, surrounding residential areas and the train station. From the train station, one can purchase tickets to big German cities, especially those in Baden-Württemberg. For reference, Stuttgart is only one and a half hour away by train, while Mannheim and Heidelberg are slightly further, about three or four hours by train.

Old and new buildings in Schwäbisch Hall

Old and new buildings in Schwäbisch Hall

Fachwerkhäuser by the river Kocher

Fachwerkhäuser by the river Kocher

Travel Info

City website http://www.schwaebischhall.de/en/welcome.html

Places of interest in Schwäbisch Hall:

Kunsthalle (Art Hall) Würth holds exhibitions of contemporary fine arts.
Website http://kunst.wuerth.com/de/kunst-bei-wuerth/kunst-bei-wuerth.php

Hohenloher Freilandmuseum a 40 ha area is husbanded following ancient cultivation methods.
Website http://www.wackershofen.de/freilandmuseum/cms/

Hällisch-Fränkische Museum displays the history, art and culture of the city and the region.
Website http://www.schwaebischhall.de/en/culture/haellisch-fraenkisches-museum.html

Galerie am Markt a museum of modern art.
Website http://www.kvsha.de/

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5 Comments »

  • kirstie said:

    Beautiful city..
    I went there once and I would gladly visit it again,
    Beautiful architecture and atmosphere…

  • Jon said:

    I was stationed at Dolan Barrcks, a former U.S. Army base here and I had a great time getting to know the locals. The annual festival is awesome and the countryside is absolutely gorgeous! I have traveled a lot and I am planning a trip back there this summer. I can’t wait to try and find some of my old friends there.

  • string said:

    Hello
    we are planning a tour to Germany and about to stay at Schwabisch Hall for one night and go to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
    The problem is the transportation between two cities.
    If there is local bus connecting Schwabisch Hall and Rothenburg?
    Thank you so much.

  • admin said:

    Hi String,

    We visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber as part of an arranged tour, so we are not sure regarding local buses. However, from this following site, it seems that there is a private bus company running a regular service between the two towns (Müller – Linie 23)

    http://www.kreisverkehr-sha.de/auskunft/download/nummern.htm

    Find ‘Linie 23’ on the page and click on the link for more info regarding the schedule. You might want to confirm this with the bus company.

  • string said:

    to ademin:

    Thank you so much.We know this small town accidently from a book.
    And then decided to taka a look. I love the beautiful half-timber
    house so much. The original plan is around the castle road route.However,the transportation seems a little inconvenient. The bus only runs from Monday to Friday, and the departure time is so early–7:20 am. We are just not sure if it’s worthy or just skip it.
    Thank you anyway.

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