(Note, this is a post about Fasnet in Rottweil only. I went from town to town in the Black Forest area in Germany to experience Fasnet first hand – if you’ve landed on this article, you should start HERE).
Rottweil is a largish town near the Black Forest, and is probably most famous for producing the Rottweiler. I love dogs, and I had my eyes peeled for authentic Rotties the moment I stepped into town, but strange as it may sound – I never found any! In fact, I asked my guide in town where all the Rottweilers were, and whether people could buy or adopt authentic Rottweiler puppies from anywhere in town (with a faint hope that I could smuggle one back home). Her reply really surprised me – there were only a couple of families left in Rottweil that actually own Rottweilers – but those Rottweilers that they own can trace their pedigree all the way back to the 16th century – and are sold from anywhere between 10,000 to 30,000 Euro! Whoa!
Fasnet in Rottweil starts really early – we woke up at the crack of dawn to find a spot in the city parade, which stars (in true German efficiency) at 8 am sharp. It’s a long parade, and takes a couple of hours to complete. What’s mind boggling is the sheer number of participants in the parade – each one dressed in the traditional “Narren” (carnival character) costumes. It’s a good idea to her here EARLY – onlookers started lining the streets from 6 am onwards, and by the time the parade is set to start, good luck finding a good spot! The audience had taken a lot of time and effort to secure a spot (many of them with stepladders, folding chairs – and of course, bagfuls of beer) – and trying to squeeze through to the front isn’t appreciated.
The parade starts from the Schwarzes Tor (the Black Gate) – and starts with the horse riders with the town banner and the local band, following which the carnival characters start lining the streets – much to the delight of the audience! The parade goes all the way to the Friedrichssquare (which is where I had to go to find a spot – every single square foot of available space had already been taken!).
Rottweil is a really old city. There are probably tons of interesting things to do and see (while you’re looking out for Rottweilers, of course) – here are some of the interesting things I found, and it’ll make for a good starting point once the parade is over.
1. Stadtmuseum (town museum), Hauptstraße 20: The town museum is situated in the Herdersches Haus on the left side of Hauptstraße when heading towards the Black Gate. The photo of the Rottweiler statue was taken right at the entrance to this building. It has a bunch of really interesting knick-knacks, but there are two things that you shouldn’t miss. First, one the first floor, there’s a scale model of the town as it looked during the middle ages. It’s great fun trying to correlate the structures that exist today, with the way the town used to be a couple of hundred years ago.
Second, one floor up – there’s a room full of the authentic carnival costumes. Here, you’ll be able to identify all the various characters you see during the parade, and read up a little more on how they came about.
2. The Black Gate (Schwarzes Tor)
The lower part of the gate tower, which is made of rough square stone blocks, was built in 1230 as part of the Staufen fortifications. The fronts of the gate are adorned by clocks, the Rottweil coat of arms and 4 lions, spouting water. This is where the carnival parade begins!
3. Heilig-Kreuz-Münster (Minster of the Holy Cross)
This main church of the Imperial town of Rottweil, begun as a late Romanesque basilica, dates back to the 12th century. In the 15th century it was altered in the Gothic style, with a choir and vestry (1430), a three-aisle long nave with intricately sub-divided fan vaults. Especially worth viewing are the crucifix, the original guild lanterns and the statue of the Mother of God on St. Mary’s altar. It’s easy to see the Gothic influence on the church the moment you step in.
3. Dominikanerkirche (Dominican church)
In stark contrast to the previous one, you can immediately tell the influences on it’s construction was very different. Brighter and much more airy, this church tells a very different story alltogether.
There are plenty of hotels and guest houses in all budget ranges in Rottweil. I stayed at the Hotel Baren + Restaurant. Crisp clean sheets and a lovely room guaranteed a great sleep after a long day of Fasnet. (Insider tip: they don’t allow smoking in the hotel, so if you need a smoking room – ask for the room with the attached balcony! Added bonus: a great place to sit out and soak in the crisp spring air!)
Don’t forget to check out my other blog posts on Fasnet in and around the Black Forest region. Click on any of the links below to go to the individual stories.