Rothenburg, Germany – Jewel of the Medieval Times
Located in Bayern in the southeast part of Germany, Rothenburg was developed around the fort built during the Staufen Dynasty, and it still maintains the views of the medieval times. People began to settle there in the 9th Century; therefore, its history extends far beyond 1,000 years. Although 40% of the city was burned down during World War II, the historical views have been perfectly restored with ceaseless efforts. For this reason, it is often voted the most or the second most sought-after travel destination among the Germans, and it is commonly known as the ‘jewel of the medieval times’.
The Market Place is located in the heart of Rothenburg, while the City Hall, the City Council’s Banquet Hall, and a church are positioned around the site. The City Council’s Banquet Hall is particularly known for its astronomical clock. When the bell rings every hour from 11 AM to 3 PM and from 8 PM to 10 PM, the windows open on both sides of the clock and the dolls inside drink wine. The dolls are re-enacting the episode in which Mayor Nusch of Rothenburg used his wits to save the city from danger during the Thirty Years’ War. You can fully appreciate the view of Rothenburg at a glance from the top of the highest and sharpest City Hall. It is a small village that only takes one day to have a look around, but it has an infinite chain of tales from the medieval times. There is a long line of antique buildings with red gable roofs. As fairy tales always have happy endings, happy lives would continue ever after in this place.
Shirakawago – The Fairy-Like Village of Gassho
Shirakawago of Gifu Prefecture, Japan boasts of a view that cannot be found elsewhere. This is a mountainous village with only an estimate of 1,500 people in population and an area that is 96% covered in forest.
First, the unique-looking houses will hold your gaze. The traditional architectural style called ‘Gasshozukuri’ is characterized by the hay roofing that resembles an upside-down open book. ‘Gassho’ refers to the image of praying hands since the roofing also resembles a pair of hands.
Shirakawago required sloped roofing due to the heavy winter snowfall, and it has become the distinctive tradition of the village. The sloped triangular roofing is formed by piling up a thick layers of hay, so it stays warm even though it is made of light material. It needs to be replaced every 30 years. The houses essentially have three floors, with a living area on the first floor, a working studio on the second floor, and a storage space on the third floor. You can tour the interior of the house through a model house that is open to the public.
Most individuals from the town live in an old-fashioned way in traditional Japanese houses. Shirakawago is Gasshozukuri’s largest village, which is why the entire village was registered as part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1995. Shirakawago currently remains a natural village as it does not permit lodging areas or parking lots in order to preserve its traditional structure. It would not be odd to find a fairy in this village surrounded by the green forest and toy-shaped houses. The praying roofs and idealistic beauty will definitely stimulate your imagination.