Schwabisch Hall may sound like an old imperial building where you can enjoy an afternoon, but it is actually an entire University town with a medieval village at its centre–and a rather attractive one to boot. The settlement began life as a village in the late 11th century before becoming a town in 1156 having matured under the wing of the Imperial House of Hohenstaufen. The luscious architecture in the old buildings is a sign that Schwäbisch Hall flourished through the production of salt and coins. The wealth of this era can still be seen in some gothic buildings, like St. Michael's Church. The town joined the Protestant Reformation very early. Johannes Brenz, a follower of Martin Luther, was made pastor of St. Michael's Church in 1522 and began a reformation of the church and the school system along Lutheran lines.
Location: In Baden-Württemberg’s Kocher Valley
Quaint Schwäbisch Hall is located in the valley along the Kocher River in the north-eastern part of Baden-Württemberg. It can be accessed by either the international Frankfurt-Main airport or the smaller Stuttgart Airport. The town is a railway junction and well connected with motorways to the surrounding cities.
Culture: The legacy of Johannes Brenz
It was in Schwäbisch Hall that Martin Luther first made his controversial proposals, and the legacy his bravery and forward-thinking still remains today. The flair of Pastor Johannes Brenz’s personality left its mark in the religious and educational culture not only of Swabia but also of Europe’s Protestant and Reforming movements. Although initially threatened with a trial for heresy, he remained firm to his beliefs all his life and struggled with controversy and opposition.
Activities: Two great festivals
The salt maker’s festival of Schwäbisch Hall has been documented since the 14th century, when the town council granted it to the salt makers, compensating them for the cleaning of the salt spring. This hard work is where the medieval wealth was founded. Still the festival had to be approved every year along with activities, clothes, and dancing positions. The modern Cake and Well Festival (Kuchen- und Brunnenfest) features more than 500 actors and assistants, offering a diversified mixture of parades, shows of medieval tradition, dancing, and lots of music. Night of Nights in August celebrates the end of summer and the extended town park along the river Kocher changes into an enchanting light sea: 30,000 light mugs in imaginative ornaments and 3,500 coloured lampions are dangling from the old trees as colourfully costumed local performers with torches do the Fackel dance on the “Grasbödele”—the grassy floor. Musicians from across Europe rock it out before the massive fireworks show.