Best of Esslingen
You have to see this!
The TOP 10 sights
Our ranking of the most beautiful sights in Esslingen: Almost every building in the Old Town of Esslingen tells an exciting story. Here we show you the most popular and significant 10 sights that every guest or vacationer should have seen on his city tour.
Esslingen Castle towers over the historic Old Town with its characteristic silhouette of the High Watch Tower, Ropers' Walk and Big Tower - and yet it was never a castle at any time. A noble family never lived here - the castle was always part of massive town fortifications. Nevertheless, the people of Esslingen affectionately call it their "castle".
The Old Town Hall in Esslingen am Neckar was used as a merchant's hall and tax house after its construction in 1422. From 1586 to 1589 the facade on the north side was redesigned by Heinrich Schickhardt in the Renaissance style. In the same year the ornate town hall clock was installed. The famous carillon sounds several times a day. The south side of the building shows a mighty half-timbered facade. A special feature there is the "Swabian Man".
It was built in 1286, making it the second oldest bridge in Germany. This makes it one of the most outstanding structures of its time. Like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence or the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, the Inner Bridge in Esslingen was also densely built-up. Some bridge houses are still standing today. The bridge was connected to that trade route which - coming from Italy - led via Ulm and then through Esslingen to the Rhine and down to flourishing Flanders.
A narrow passageway round the town archives leads down to the Kesselwasen, where there was evidence of mills as early as 1428 and where two water wheels are still in operation today. They powered machines and turbines until the 20th century and have been preserved as evidence of industrialisation. The view across the Rossneckar to the houses on the Inner Bridge is what the people of Esslingen call their "Little Venice".
One of the three beautiful churches in the Old Town and located at the foot of the vineyards of Esslingen. The Frauenkirche in Esslingen was built from 1325 to 1516. It is considered one of the most outstanding buildings of the Southwest German late Gothic period and one of the oldest hall churches in Swabia. The most important builders of this church were the brothers Beblinger and Enziger.
The magnificent Kielmeyer House is the largest and most beautiful half-timbered house on the market square. It was built in 1582 as the winepress of the Hospice of St. Katharine, which stood on the market square from the 13th century until 1811. Today you can dine very well there and even stay overnight: The Kielmeyer family offers modern vacation apartments on the upper floor.
The south side of the market square is dominated by the mighty building of the towns Parish Church of St. Dionysius. Esslingen's history began here in 777. The present church is already the third building on this site. In the 13th century, when the town flourished and became rich, the citizens made the importance of the town visible with this proud new building. Beneath the parish church there are excavations worth seeing, which can be visited during a guided tour of the town.
Built in 1266/67, it is one of the oldest surviving half-timbered houses in Germany. The building substance is remarkably well preserved, which is mainly due to the sandstone base on which rise two somewhat crooked-looking storeys in post and beam construction, crowned by a newer gable with the characteristic half-timbered figure of the Swabian Man. The Chamäleon boutique is a good place to browse for bargains.
A visit to the Excavation Museum of St.Dionysius leads back to the beginnings of the present-day city of Esslingen am Neckar. Excavations took place in the Parish Church of St. Dionysius from 1960 to 1963. They were subsequently preserved and are now on display here. Our tip: Be sure to join the guided tour "Cellar, Crypt, Catacombs"!
The buildings Hafenmarkt 4-10 in Esslingen am Neckar are considered to be the oldest continuous row of half-timbered houses in Germany. They were all built between 1328 and 1331.