Schwäbisch Gmünd 
The Oldest Staufer Town

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The Market Place of Schwäbisch GmündTake a walk through Schwäbisch Gmünd following these items:

At the Foot of the 'Dreikaiserberge'

Gargoyles and Other Demonic Ornaments...

History, Urban Development, and Industrial Tradition

Always a Reason to Celebrate

Arts and Crafts

Education in Schwäbisch Gmünd

Culture, Conferences, and Communication

Tourist Information


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Top next At the Foot of the 'Dreikaiserberge'

Hohenrechberg Ruin, in the background the Hohenstaufen hillThe upper Rems Valley divides two land forms which provide extensive hiking possibilities: in the north the Swabian-Franconian Forest, in the south the Swabian mountains with their juniper heaths and sheep pastures. There are paths across the 'Kalte Feld' (Cold Field) to the 'Knörzer' House either around the Hornberg or on the Dreikaiserberge ('Three Emperors-Mountains'): Hohenstaufen, Stuifen and Rechberg. There is a wonderful view of the entire Rems Valley especially from the Hohenstaufen, where the ruins of the ancestral castle is a reminder of the period of the Staufer Emperors.
Rechberg Hill

Still today large herds opf sheep graze on the slopes of Swabian Mountains.

Located at the widest section of the valley is Schwäbisch Gmünd. Probably the oldest Staufer town, Schwäbisch Gmünd received its name from its geographical situation: several brooks flow here into the Rems. The wet surroundings of the city also had an effect on its economic development Schwäbisch Gmünd, inner city in the Rems valleyNot fit for agriculture, arts and crafts as well as commerce began to thrive, leaving a permanent mark on Schwäbisch Gmünd's present-day character.

prev Top next Gargoyles and Other Demonic Ornaments...

St. John's Church (Johanniskirche)Grotesque fantasy and fairy-tale characters, fragments of hunting scenes with beater, stag, and falcon: These are the caricatures and figures from the late Romanesque St. John's Church which depict the medieval world of warding off demons, and various customs.  Figures The mighty construction of the basilica from the time of the Staufer Emperors exhibits the importance of Schwäbisch Gmünd during the high Middle Ages and still characterizes the city centre today. Through the centuries the church has been adapted to the styles of the respective time periods. Not until the 19th century was the Gothic choir torn down, and the Baroque fixtures removed. The pillar basilica has since returned to its original proportions.

Not far from the Staufer church lies the Heilig-Kreuz-Münster (Holy Cross Cathedral), the pride of the self-confident, hard-working citizens of the former 'Free Imperial Town'. The construction of today's Münsterplatz (Cathedral Square) began around 1310 A.D. The architects engaged for this project were from the famous Parler family of Cologne. Peter Parler, especially ahead of his time, was an unconventional architect and planner. Holy Cross Cathedral (Heilig-Kreuz-Münster) The arched section at the southern portal is ascribed to him; the choir, which is divided by a continuous balustrade, also bears his trademark. Each summer, for several years, Schwäbisch Gmünd has arranged the concert series European Church Music in the cathedral and in other historical buildings. These concerts have, in the meantime, become renowned beyond the borders of the region.

The aerial photograph shows the Gothic Heilig-Kreuz-Münster (Holy Cross Cathedral) of which the citizens of Schwäbisch Gmünd are proud because they financed its construction in the 14th century.

Festival European Church Music (Europäisches Kirchenmusik-Festival)

In the framework of the concert series European Church Music, many renowned renowned and ensembles have performed in Schwäbisch Gmünd and in the area.

Kings Tower (Königsturm)Schwäbisch Gmünd, however, is more than just a medieval-facade. The Baroque Age also left considerable marks on the city. The town houses of wealthy citizens and the town hall at the market square are vividly contrasted by massive half-timbered houses, the latter having names such as 'Kornhaus' (Granary), 'Amtshaus des Spitals' (Hospital Administration House), and 'Grät'. Apart from that, a visit to the Baroque altar from Dominikus Zimmermann in the St. Franciscans' Church is especially worthwhile. Schwäbisch Gmünd - City

Six towers can still be seen from the city's former fortification The 'Königsturm' King's Tower) has also been used as a prison since the 15th century.
Medieval City of Schwäbisch Gmünd





Medieval half-timbered houses and Baroque town houses line the elongated market square. At the far end of the square the St. John's Church, appear basilica from the Period of the Staufer Emperors, breaks up the otherwise unified series of facades.

Top next History, Urban Development, and Industrial Tradition

Museum of Nature and Urban CultureIn 1973 the Museum of Nature and Urban Culture was established in the 'Prediger', a former monastery. Its name, which may sound slightly unusual, perfectly suits the items on exhibit. The history of the countryside surrounding Schwäbisch Gmünd is well illustrated with its mutual dependence on and influence from nature and civilization: including 200-million-year-old fossils and a small modeled plot of land with a millstone from the early Stone Age; everything can be found here up to the urban development of Schwäbisch Gmünd, which is represented through medieval panels and works from the gunsmith Johann Michael Maucher.

Industrial history played an especially significant role in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The economic importance of the city was based mainly on the production of small trinket and pilgrimage goods made of silver: everything was made from shoe buckles and hairpins to rosary pendants.

The silver goods and jewelry museum Ott Pauser Factory was opened in 1992. Upon entering the factory museum, the visitor undertakes a journey into the last century. The firm was founded in 1845, and until 25 years ago Emil Pauser himself worked in these rooms. The factory was left in its original condition; the visitor sees the old rollers, dies, presses, and the workbenches on which the men and women polished, ground, and soldered. Presentations convey a living impression of the great effort required and the difficulties involved in the work at the silver goods factory.

Ott Pauser FactoryOtt Pauser Factory

We can envision from this working place how people used to work in the factory.

prev Top next Always a Reason to Celebrate

CelebrationThirty-four holidays every year, two authorized breweries and even three pubs per 100 inhabitants - that was Gmünd in the year 1802, where every one would show up whenever there were festivals and celebrations. And even in that year - when Schwäbisch Gmünd was devolved upon the government of Württemberg - attempts to curb the cheerful gregariousness of the citizens proved to have little success; their joy of celebrating remained unhampered. There are fairs and Christmas markets in several cities but, in addition -to these, people here seize every opportunity to celebrate: the great carnival parade; the annual meeting of the 'Gugge' carnival musicians from three countries; the festivities for all people who turn forty (fifty, sixty ...) - where the participants sing their rendition of the 'Aloisle' song - with an unconventional, colorfully assorted cultural program; and even more events. That's how people celebrate throughout the year.

prev Top next Arts and Crafts

Arts and CraftThe tradition of goldsmiths and silversmiths has played an important role in the artistic life of Schwäbisch Gmünd since the end of the 14th century. This tradition helped give Schwäbisch Gmünd its reputation, and the importance of these crafts continues to be felt in present-day Schwäbisch Gmünd. Jewelry is still produced in various styles in the numerous workshops. Classical pieces can be found here as well as the works from young artists who incorporate a modern use of form into their jewelry design. Yet Schwäbisch Gmünd not only fosters the tradition of goldsmiths and silversmiths, it also accommodates a large artistic community which carries on the creative tradition of famous predecessors such as Hans Baldung Grien, Jorg Ratgeb, Gottlob Emanuel Leutze, and Hermann Pleuer.

prev Top next Education in Schwäbisch Gmünd

Young people from around the world study at the more than 50 schools, training centres, and colleges in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Institutions include schools for goldsmiths and silversmiths, a college of education with over 1500 students, the 'Fachhochschule' for design, and the Technical Academy for occupational further training. The conferences of the European Academy for Surface Treatment are meeting places for international specialists.

In 1992 a campus came to life in the area of the former Pershing II headquarters. In addition to other various institutions of education, the University of Maryland established the University College, its first overseas branch, here in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

Visual Communication as we I as product and jewelry design are taught at the 'Fachhochschule' for Design.

prev Top next Culture, Conferences, and Communication

On St. John's Square, in the heart of the historic city, lies the 'Prediger', a cultural centre which is an open forum for the citizens of Schwäbisch Gmünd. The former Dominican monastery has been a cultural main attraction since its renovation. The covered inner courtyard and its many rooms play host to a wide range of activities.

For large functions such as congresses, balls, and seminars, a convention centre was built a few years ago in the historic city garden. With adjustable walls and platforms, architects came up with a flexible room system which makes it possible to find just the right room size for any occasion.

prev Top Tourist Information

Im Kornhaus
Kornhausstraße 14
73525 Schwäbisch Gmünd
Telefon +49 7171 603-455 and 6 62 44
Telefax +49 7171 603-459

© 1993 Publisher: Verkehrsamt
Advertising agency: Bertron & Schwarz Schwäbisch Gmünd
Text: Helga Leiprecht
Photography: Juraj Liptàk, Samuel Zuder
Translation: Sprachendienst Konstanz Craig Sanders
For the permission to print photographs we gratefully acknowledge: the City Archive, Johannes Schüle, Fachhochschule für Design, University of Maryland.

This page is published with the permission of the Verkehrsamt and the Promotion of economical development Schwäbisch Gmünd.

For more information in German, have a look at the official homepage of Schwäbisch Gmünd:

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© Copyright 1996-2010 Clemens Weller, Egerstraße 19, D-73529 Schwäbisch Gmünd. Last Change: 31.05.2013.