This photo isn't related to medieval architecture or history. It's just some weird, weird German advertisting. Is it a dentist's office? Ads for a fruit-based sequel to "Little Shop of Horrors"? Who knows?
It is frustratingly difficult to get information about Jewish history from the information centers, so we hadn't realized we stumbled upon the site of the former Jewish ghetto from the 1500s until Chris noticed the street name "Judengasse" ("Jews' Alley"). Although it now feels central, at one time this "suburb" was outside city walls.
Speaking of city walls, this is the "Wolf's Gate" and is the only remaining tower from the walls that used to protect the city. It was constructed in 1268.
Being the uh, athletic types we are, we walked up the hillside (with the intention of finding another historic building that I didn't realize was at the top of the hill) and stumbled upon the park in front of Esslingen's "castle." It wasn't a residence for princes, but rather the fortification for the city. The tower is called "Dicker Turm" which means "fat tower."
The tower houses a restaurant - booked that day for a wedding party full of unruly kids - and boasts an amazing view of the city.
The old city hall dates from 1420 and includes a moving clock, like so many important German civic buildings. In front of the building is a monument to the local people who died in World War I.
Esslingen has 3 important churches, the largest of which is St. Dionyus, seen here. It's now Protestant.
The Romanesque "Women's Church" just a few blocks away is notable for the detailed outside decorations, including scary gargoyle animals like this owl.
This decoration at the Women's Church of Judgement Day seemed pretty impressive, but just yesterday I was at one of Europe's great cathedrals, Notre Dame De Strasbourg, which is just breathtaking. Still - Esslingen was my first introduction to medieval churches and all three are lovely.
Coming VERY soon: Heidelberg and then Strasbourg!