What to see in Donauworth, a town in Bavaria built by a fishermen's settlement on the island where the Wornitz flows into the Danube, a brief history and itinerary to discover its main places of interest.
With the construction of the first bridge over the Danube, from where important trade on the directive including Augsburg and Nuremberg would have passed, the town acquired increasing importance until it became a city in 1193.
From 1301 to 1607 the municipality remained a free imperial city and an important commercial center, before joining Bavaria.
The Reichsstrasse, which is the main street in the historic center, is located between the town hall and the Fugger house.
What immediately catches the eye is the extreme compactness of its rows of houses, which make it one of the most suggestive in southern Germany.
Due to its considerable width, it was first called Upper Market and Lower Market, in the Middle Ages it was included in the commercial route.
The Town Hall, dating back to 1236 and discreetly preserved, has been frequently enlarged and modified.
On the main door with the harmonious double staircase there is an identical coat of arms to that conferred on the city by Charles V in 1530.
Every day at 11 and 16 bells are heard ringing with the melody "The sun must shine" from the opera "The magic violin" by Werner Egk.
A fountain from the Rathausstrasse is dedicated to this composer, originally from the town.
In the Kapellgasse there is the civil hospital with the church and the former house of the Order of the Teutonic knights, whose classic-style construction houses a late Baroque party room.Recommended readings
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Looking back towards the Rathausplatz, a high trellis house that is part of the Spitalgasse does not go unnoticed, at the end of which the Rieder door leads us via a bridge on the island Ried, which represents the original settlement of the fishermen.
Both the door construction and the Hintermeier house on the Worth contain historical collections.
A passage leads us along the wall from the Rieder gate to the romantic Farbertorl gate, which manages to make us forget its original military function.
Continuing along the Reichsstrasse, we meet the Imperial City Ball House, whose ground floor was used in the past as a bakers and butchers' shop, while the wheat market was held in the rear.
The upper floor was used by the city on market days to arrange merchants' sales counters, while on holidays it was used as a ballroom.
Opposite stands a monastery, a late Gothic brick building, in whose massive tower there is the largest Swabian bell.
Climbing the tower is recommended in order to appreciate the enchanting visible panorama.
Inside the church, the high tabernacle and the late Gothic frescoes are noteworthy.
Continuing through the two-storey Fugger house, you come across a modern fountain from 1977 crowned by an eagle, in whose column the main stages of the city's history are depicted.
The Renaissance building at the end of the Reichsstrasse, now used as the office of the president of the regional junta, was built by Anton Fugger in 1537.
During the Thirty Years War it served as a neighborhood in 1632 to Gustavo Adolfo of Sweden and consort, later to the winter king and in 1711 to the emperor Charles VI.
Passing through Pflegstrasse you reach a particularly picturesque stretch of the medieval walls with the round water tank and the barracks of the thirteenth century invalids.
The Heilig Kreuz Strasse leads instead into the once extended convent district with the late Baroque church of Santa Croce.
The harmonious construction is the work of the famous architect Joseph Schmuzer of Wessobrunn, in the lower part of the tower it is still possible to recognize the Romanesque decorations of the first church.
The whole is dominated up to 73 meters in height by the rococo twisted dome several times of today's construction.
The church door is decorated with artistic carvings, in the same way as the 8 internal altars, the choir stalls and the sides of the church benches.
The elegant and discreet grouting surrounding the ceiling frescoes are the work of the masters of Wessobrunn, such as the altar, prepared by the architect's brother.
On the west side of the nave, a remarkable railing protects the tomb of the Duchess Maria di Brabante, beheaded by her husband, Duke Lodovico il Severo, as a suspect of adultery.
A staircase leads to the crypt, whose ceiling is richly decorated with stuccos.
An artistic railing protects the two altars in the background, the left one contains the romantic tablet of a relic of the cross inserted in a Baroque monstrance.
The relics kept here of the Cross of Christ are the destination of pilgrimages.
The tomb of Abbot Amandus Roels who had the church and convent rebuilt is also very interesting.
Further sepulchral monuments and large baroque statues are visible in the cloister, which is accessed through a door located in the chapel of the crypt.