Gelnhausen - where history is alive

The Barbarossa town of Gelnhausen, once the seat of the Staufer emperor Friedrich I, "Barbarossa" (Red Beard), is the district town of the Main-Kinzig district in south-eastern Hesse. It lies halfway between Frankfurt am Main and Fulda and in the immediate vicinity of the lush forests of Spessart and Vogelsberg. The municipality, which has just under 23,000 inhabitants, boasts an excellent infrastructure with businesses, retail shops, gastronomy, leisure facilities, airfield, sports facilities, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, clinics and a medical centre. Gelnhausen is a modern city that has preserved the charm of the winding old town and its eventful history that keeps it alive in a special way.

Gelnhausen for friends of fairy tales
Gelnhausen not only has outstanding sights to enjoy. In the entire old town, lovingly restored half-timbered buildings are situated next to medieval architecture. Impressive buildings such as the Imperial Palace - once a moated castle - the Witch Tower, where torture instruments from the time of the witch persecutions can still be seen today, the Protestant Church of Our Lady, the Catholic Church of St. Peter, the former synagogue, the Inner Wooden Gate and last but not least the Romanesque House breathe the spirit of centuries and leave room for legends, fairy tales and myths - but also for historical reality, which can be explored and experienced in many different ways.

Gelnhausen for holiday tourists and day visitors
If you want to delve deeper into the history of Barbarossa, you can go on a very special journey through time: Gelnhausen is the cradle of adventure tours. Thousands of people of all ages submerge themselves in past epochs with the help of public guided tours that are bookable at (almost) any time. Smaller groups or entire travel groups experience up close how people in former times coped with their everyday lives, what moved them and what challenges they had to face. Authentic, with wit and charm and numerous anecdotes from past centuries, this journey of discovery unfolds against a magical historical backdrop. Gelnhausen can also be experienced by holiday tourists and day visitors on a classic city tour with a tour guide or on a themed tour with a special focus on cultural history, literature or architecture.
The city can also be explored on your own during a virtual tour. For those who like it exciting and interactive, "Operation Mindfall" or "Gelnhusana Magica" solves tricky puzzles and saves Gelnhausen from destruction. In the interactive museum, families and children and people of all ages immerse themselves in the age of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and follow in the footsteps of the city's most famous sons – telephone inventor Philipp Reis and Baroque poet Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen. A whole new world of experience opens up for museum visitors in Germany's only accessible ear model, which offers an even deeper insight into the work of Philipp Reis.
Accommodation is available directly in the historic Old Town, but also in the city centre and surrounding city districts. For hikers and cyclists, the nearby Stadtwald forest and the extensive Kinzigauen meadows offer numerous tour destinations, while water lovers can let off steam in the outdoor pool with giant slide or in the indoor pool in winter. A popular excursion destination is the adventure mini golf course and for those who want to experience Gelnhausen from above, the airfield with its modern machines and oldtimers offers sightseeing flights, parachute jumps and more.

Events & Guided Tours

A special note for guests who do not speak German:
Some of the guided tours and audiences offers or events presented here are currently only available in German,
some are offered regularly, others on demand in different languages.
In many cases, fairytale magic and fabulous seductions do not need spoken language to be properly experienced.
Let yourself be surprised or inquire directly at the address given in each case.
And please understand that for technical reasons some descriptions are shown here only in German. Thank you very much!

Gelnhäuser Historical Tidbits

"In Germany, in a wild forest, between Gelnhausen and Hanau, lived a righteous old man…" Thus begins Clemens von Brentano's fairy tale "Gockel, Hinkel, Gackeleia", which takes place in Gelnhausen and its surroundings. Gelnhausen was one of the favourite places of romantic poets, who found inspiration in the winding medieval lanes between rough forests and the gentle Kinzig valley.

 

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