Alsfeld: The Complete Guide
Alsfeld is a town located in the Vogelsbergkreis district of the state of Hesse, Germany. It has a population of approximately 17,000 people and covers an area of 76.84 square kilometers.
Alsfeld has a long and rich history, dating back to the early Middle Ages. The town was first mentioned in historical records in the year 1069, and has since then developed into an important center of trade and commerce. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Alsfeld became known for its flourishing cloth industry, which brought great prosperity to the town.
One of the most notable features of Alsfeld is its well-preserved historic town center, which has been designated as a protected historic monument. The town’s many half-timbered houses, which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, give it a charming and picturesque atmosphere. Some of the most famous buildings in Alsfeld include the town hall, the Alte Kanzlei (Old Chancellery), and the Walpurgiskirche (St. Walpurga’s Church).
In addition to its historic buildings, Alsfeld is also known for its annual Alsfelder Märchen- und Sagenfest (Alsfeld Fairy Tale and Legend Festival), which takes place every September. The festival celebrates the town’s connection to the Brothers Grimm and their collection of fairy tales, many of which are set in the surrounding area.
In the world of fairy tales, Little Red Riding Hood plays a special role in Alsfeld. It is said that the Brothers Grimm were inspired by the traditional costume of Schwalm with its red cap.
Today, Alsfeld is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over Germany and beyond. It is also an important center of commerce and industry, with a thriving economy and a strong sense of community.
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Alsfeld Town Hall
The Town Hall was constructed in medieval, Rähmbau style timber framing between 1512 and 1516. This is one of the most important German half-timbered town hall buildings. Erected over a late Gothic stone substructure, this building with its attractive woodwork, bent chevron bracing and protruding moulded beam-ends, is an outstanding example of a “Rähmbau” (frame construction). The ground storey, built of stone, was once a market hall. The “Alsfeld cubit” can still be seen on the left corner. On the first floor the offices of the Mayor and Magistrate are situated. Since 1633 the councilmen have had their coats of arms on display. On the second floor, interesting old doors lead into the meeting room and the Registry Office (formerly the Court Room). Michael Finck, the local artist and carpenter, designed and crafted the magnificent Renaissance door in 1604. Curt Oberman forged the decorative hinges. It is next to the market place in the center of the Altstadt.
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Weinhaus (Wine House)
Started in 1538 by Hans von Frankfurt, the wine house served to store and serve wine and was therefore a municipal privilege. Transitional forms between Gothic and Renaissance can be clearly seen in the steep stepped gables with fan rosettes. The originally unevenly arranged charming "curtain arch windows" were replaced by round arch windows in 1840/43, some parts of the robe are still visible.
The former "pillory" is still located at the corner of the market square. This was considered a punitive instrument, and not just on market days.
Today, part of the city administration is housed here.
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Municipal main church with a complicated building history, which is reflected both in the interior design and in the exterior structure. The oldest existed in the form of a small 3-apse basilica, proven by the uncovering of the foundations in 1971/72. In the late 13th century, an early Gothic basilica with a stretched but low chancel and west tower was built around this. In the late Gothic period from 1993 the choir was rebuilt in an extended and significantly higher form. The planned new building of the nave did not come about, rather the existing basilica was redesigned in 1472 and later by raising and widening the side aisles and breaking out high arcades into a kind of hall church. After the early Gothic tower collapsed in 1394, it was rebuilt, only completed in 1542 with an octagon storey and a Renaissance hood, and again shortened by one storey in 1836. Until 1921 the watchman lived here. Today traditional cradling of the Christ child and May bubbles. Interior features: Romanesque baptismal font, late Gothic frescoes, carved altar, choir stalls, Baroque epitaphs and late Gothic Crucifixion group.
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Address: Walpurgiskirche (Stadtkirche) - Evangelische-luth. Kirchengemeinde Alsfeld, Kirchplatz, Alsfeld, Germany
Schwalmer Brunnen, also known as the The Little Red Riding Hood statue is an ornamental fountain in Alsfeld, in northern Hesse. The Schwalm fountain was built in 1958 to show the connection between the town of Alsfeld and the traditional costumes of the Schwalm. The fountain shows the Gänseliesel in typical Schwalm costume with the red cap.
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Neurathhaus is a historic half-timbered house located in the town of Alsfeld in the state of Hesse, Germany. It was built in 1619 by a wealthy cloth merchant named Johannes Neurath and is one of the most well-preserved half-timbered houses in the town. The building features a striking façade with ornate carvings and a distinctive stepped gable, typical of traditional German half-timbered architecture.
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Address: Neurathhaus, Rittergasse, Alsfeld, Germany
Late Gothic Chapel originally built in 1368 and reconstructed in 1510, on the north side of the churchyard. Later used for preserving the skeletons from the surrounding cemetery. (The cemetery was too small to cope with the number of deaths in the 30 Year War and the various plagues.) The chapel was later misused for profane purposes. At the beginning of the 20th century alterations were carried out to the attic roof. Since its restoration in 1982, the building has housed the city archives.
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Address: Beinhaus, Kaplaneigasse, Alsfeld, Germany
Regional Museum Alsfeld
The Alsfeld City Museum, also known as the Regional Museum Alsfeld, is located in a half-timbered building in the historic old town of Alsfeld, Germany. The museum showcases the cultural history and development of the city of Alsfeld and the surrounding region.
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Address: Geschichts- und Museumsverein Alsfeld e.V. Rittergasse 3-5 36304 Alsfeld Germany | Hours: Mon – Fri 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Sat 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Closed on Sundays and public holidays | Website
Alsfeld Fairy Tale House
The Alsfeld Fairy Tale House (German: Märchenhaus) is a historic half-timbered house located in Alsfeld, Germany. The building was constructed in 1628 and is notable for its decorative facade, which is covered in intricate carvings and paintings depicting scenes from fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel and Gretel.
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Address: Sackgasse 2, 36304 Alsfeld, Deutschland | Hours: Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Price: Adults € 3.00, Children € 2.00
The Grabbrunnen is a square named after the fountain of the same name in Alsfeld's old town. This well was used for dyeing cloth. According to legend, storks from the 'Storks' Nest' flew to the well to collect the babies and deliver them to the families who had ordered them. The old well base has been redesigned with this saga in mind.
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Address: Grabbrunnen, Alsfeld, Germany
Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church)
Built in the second half of the 14th century, the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, or Trinity Church, originally served as a monastery church for the Augustine hermits. The church features a long choir for the clergy and, around 1435, an asymmetrical hall was added with naves and side aisles. Since the monks belonged to a begging order, there is no church tower.
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Address: Dreifaltigkeitskirche - Evangelische-luth. Kirchengemeinde Alsfeld, Roßmarkt, Alsfeld, Germany
Leonhardsturm or Leonard's Tower is the last remaining Tower of the city's defences. A rounded tower with cone and battlement crest, it is 27 meters high. Entrance was from the city wall, through a doorway half way up the tower. At the base of the tower was the dungeon, which was used for holding prisoners sentenced to death. The tower is known locally as the “Storks' Nest”. Legend has it that babies were ordered from the storks nesting there.
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Address: Leonhardsturm, Alsfeld