A city tour for families, explorers and culture lovers
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
Keep left from the station and you will come directly to the Upper Gate. It was once the eastern entrance to the city. The rectangular tower with the round-arched passage dates from the 14th century and was raised in the 16th century. On the left through Roßmühlweg you reach the green spaces along the old city wall, the Zwinger. This open area once served to defend the city, today it offers recreation to walkers.
You now come straight to the Nikolausturm and the Palatium.
The Palatium used to serve as the administrative headquarters and farmyard of the Würzburg cathedral chapter, later it was used as a district office building and district administration office. The building with the gleaming slate roof was erected at the end of the 15th century and originally also called the "Blue Cellar". This is because it housed an enormous wine cellar and a charmingly furnished drinking room for the canons, where the "Kauzenbecher" was often emptied in one go. On the top of the steep staircase gables stands St. Kilian facing the Main valley, while on the south side a lion, indeed it looks like a monkey, holds the coat of arms of the High Diocese of Würzburg. In front of the building is a fountain from 1549, which bears numerous coats of arms of former members of the cathedral chapter.
The Thick Tower flanks the southwest corner of the outer wall. Built in 1712, it still towers protectively over the city today. Inside the tower, a staircase leads to deep vaults where the powder magazines were stored. The Thick Tower was intended to provide protection for the Nikolausturm during the Seven Years' War. Even today, visible impacts on the tower are a reminder of this time. The Nikolausturm forms the south-western corner of the city wall, it was raised by two storeys around 1505. When the roof was renewed in 1613, evidence of the tower's construction in the 14th century was found there. The tower served as a powder tower because, like its neighbour, the Thick Tower, it was considered safe for cannons.
Walk a short distance down Kellereistraße and then turn right into Pfarrgasse. Here you take your way directly to St. Michael's Chapel and the church square of St. Andrew's Church.
The town parish church of St. Andreas, situated on a slight hill, towers above all other buildings in the old town with its 6-storey tower. As early as 1288, the Würzburg Bishop Manegold consecrated a church in Ochsenfurt to the Apostle Andreas. The late Romanesque church tower, whose oldest bell bears the date 1296, was built around the same time. The choir and nave were built at the end of the 14th century, the late Gothic side chapels at the end of the 15th century. In 1736, the baroque St. Nepomuk Chapel was added to the southern choir wall, which today serves as a sacristy. The church itself is a three-aisled hall with a strongly elevated nave. The nave and choir are spanned by a ribbed vault. Today, the interior of the church is painted in two colours, the result of a restoration in 1987. The choir in the east is dominated by the high altar, a magnificent Renaissance work from 1612, created by the Windsheim sculptor Georg Brenck the Elder. The main section depicts the crucifixion of Christ as a scene. The upper level shows the crucifixion of the church patron Andrew and the gable piece of the altar the coronation of Mary. Of particular interest is a statue of St. Nicholas made of lime wood in the southern side chapel, which is attributed to the Würzburg master Tilman Riemenschneider.
The Chapel of St. Michael in the immediate vicinity of the city parish church was originally a cemetery chapel. It is dedicated to the archangel Michael, who guarded the tree of life and drove Adam and Eve out of paradise with his sword. As was customary in the Middle Ages, the building has two storeys because the bones of the dead were kept in the basement.
In the gable triangle above the door are reliefs from 1450 by an unknown master. On the lower one, one sees the procession of the blessed striving towards heaven; on the upper one, Christ sits as the judge of the world, flanked by Mother Mary and John the Baptist.
The thympanum shows in relief how, at the Last Judgement, there will be a separation between those who will be led to heaven and those who will be condemned to hell. Secular and ecclesiastical dignitaries and powerful people can also be seen in the group of those going to hell.
Inside the upper floor, the colourful, modern stained glass windows by the Rothkegel glass workshops, which are inserted into the three-part pointed arch windows, are particularly pleasing.
Between St. Andrew's Church and St. Michael's Chapel across the cobblestones, the view of the typical Franconian half-timbered row opens up. The medieval old town ensemble enchants with its outstanding historical inventory. Since the street served as a market street in the Middle Ages, the ground floor of the half-timbered houses is slightly set back to provide enough space for stalls and carts. According to legend, a certain Hans Stock, the so-called smith of Ochsenfurt and King Konradin's double, lived in one of the houses.
If you turn your gaze to the left, you will see the Old Town Hall on the corner of Brückenstraße, which still has a pillory. It was built in the second half of the 15th century.
From the church square and the row of half-timbered houses to the right, follow the main street and you will come directly to the red building, the "New Town Hall".
The choir of the Spitalkirche, today called Kreuzkirche, which has undergone several structural changes, was built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. Next to it is the hospital, which has essentially remained intact since it was rebuilt in 1551. To the west of it is the cour d'honneur, which is closed off to the north by arcades with a half-timbered walkway on the upper floor - today a popular setting for cultural events. Above the stairway to the church, a beautiful late Gothic relief stands out in the tympanum, the richly decorated arched field above the door. Four finely crafted scenes, each framed by an ogee arch, depict Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia and her works of mercy. The choir of the church, which has been altered several times, was built in 1499 and has an ornamental, reticulated ribbed vault inside with angels' heads in the apexes. During a renovation of the church in 1961, a fresco dated 1449 was discovered on the left side wall, depicting the Way of the Cross of Jesus in bold colours.
Continue to the left in Spitalgasse until it opens at the Old Main Bridge
In the Middle Ages, a simple wooden structure initially formed the Main crossing. As early as 1359, there was a wooden bridge on stone pillars; several pillars contain medieval structures from a construction period between 1200 and 1350. In 1512, the city began building an arched bridge using the old stone pillars. With the completion of the renovation work in 2012, the Old Main Bridge was successfully preserved as a historical landmark.
The bridge was an important trade route. To transport goods from north to south or vice versa in the country, one had to cross the Main here. This could only be done in Würzburg or here in Ochsenfurt. On the one hand, tolls had to be paid for the crossing, a not unimportant source of income for the town, and quite a few goods changed hands on the spot.
This north-south passage was also the pilgrims' route. Starting in Bergen in Norway and finishing in Rome, they also had to cross the Main. Today's Via Romea also runs over the old Main bridge.
At the foot of the Old Main Bridge is the little castle, which houses two museums. The Trachtenmuseum (museum of traditional costumes) in the Schlösle offers a wealth of treasures from the historical world of traditional costumes in the Ochsenfurt area, while the Heimatmuseum (museum of local history) tells a lot of interesting stories about the town's history.
If you continue along the street Vorhof, you will come to the pigeon tower on the left side of the Old Main Bridge.
The triple-secured gate bastion and the slender pigeon tower next to it are parts of the medieval fortifications that enclose Ochsenfurt's old town with a square wall. Between the pigeon tower and the bulwark, a true-to-style open-air forge has been built in a wide niche, which, together with the half-timbering of the gatehouse, has a very picturesque effect. Since 2007, there has been a memorial here dedicated to the courageous women who ensured that Ochsenfurth remained undestroyed in March 1945.
In the pigeon tower itself there is a so-called hole prison. If you climb the steps on the side of the tower about 3 metres, you come to a room with a hole in the floor about the diameter of a human body. Through this hole, the prisoners were lowered into the lower part of the tower, where they served their sentence in complete darkness and silence. It is said that the tower of the deaf takes its name from the fact that the tower keeper must have been deaf, otherwise the screams of the prisoners would have been unbearable.
But our tour does not end here, at least not if you are visiting Ochsenfurt on a Saturday or a Sunday. Take your way once more to the little castle, below which is the pier for the ferry "Nixe".
On the "Nixe" you can enjoy a 30-minute panoramic cruise on the Main, from May to October every Sat, Sun and public holidays from 11 am - 5 pm (subject to change).
Finally, you can enjoy a Franconian glass of wine and the view over the Main in the "Wein.Wunder.Bar" before taking the return route via Brückenstraße and Hauptstraße back to the station. On your way there, several of our restaurateurs will welcome you. For example, the Gasthof Bären, not far from the station. Round off your excursion with a typical Franconian meal, such as a Schäufele fresh from the oven.