Melsungen - Enchanting town with half-timbered buildings, in the footsteps of the Bartenwetzer
In the Bartenwetzer town of Melsungen, holiday tourists and visitors can set out on the tracks of former lumberjacks. Hikers and recreation seekers time and again meet the customs and activities of the "Bartenwetzer".
Surrounded by splendid nature, embedded in meadows and forests, the romantic town of Melsungen with its half-timbered buildings lies in the idyllic Fulda Valley only about 30 km south of the documenta city of Kassel with UNESCO Word Cultural Heritage status.
The abundance of half-timbered houses, the imposing city hall still today bear witness to the activities of the days when many local inhabitants worked in the forests as lumbermen. Before they went off into the municipal forest to cut wood, they met every morning on the old stone bridge and whetted (sharpened) their Barten (axes).
Melsungen for friends of fairy tales
In the town of Melsungen with half-timbered buildings one can find many traces of the Bartenwetzer (axe sharpeners). Who were these Melsunger "Bartenwetzer"? Most men of Melsungen in the Middle Ages made their living by logging. Before they went off into the municipal forest to cut wood, they met every morning on the old stone bridge and whetted (sharpened) their Barten (axes) on the sandstone. This practice created grinding troughs that are still clearly visible today. The nickname "Bartenwetzer" for the inhabitants of Melsungen harks back to this activity.
The Melsunger are proud Bartenwetzer and are glad to remember their traditions: Since 1928, twice daily (at 12 noon and at 6 pm) in the city hall turret, the symbol figure of the Bartenwetzer appears and reminds us of these times. Likewise, two “Bartenwetzer” bronze figures are on the Bartenwetzer bridge.Public town guided tours from May to October every Tuesday at 2 pm, Saturday at 11:30 am and Sunday at 2 pm, price: €3 per adult (children free), meeting place: Cultural & Visitor Information Melsungen, Am Markt 5.
Thematic group guided tours: by arrangement
• “Half-timbering and more” - get to know the more than 1000 year history as well as the landmarks on a round tour through the half-timbered old town.
• “With the Bartenwetzer through the old town” - experience a guided tour with the Bartenwetzer, the iconic figure of the town. He accompanies you on the round tour through the historical old town and recounts life and working conditions in the Middle Ages.
• Culinary guided town tour “History with pleasure” - during the round tour, you can discover much of the history of the town and enjoy the culinary specialties of the region in a stop at quaint restaurants.
• Evening round tour “The darker side of the town" – eerie and legendary stories of the town
Melsungen for holiday tourists and day visitors
In Melsungen, you can relax in the middle of culture and nature. Enjoy a stroll through the romantic streets bordered by quaint half-timbered houses and many stores, or savour the quiet on the banks of the Fulda river. Forget daily routine and turn into one of the fine sidewalk cafés or restaurants for a treat.
Here you can get to know the specialties and customs of the region. Celebrate with us at the Melsunger Wine Festival on the last weekend in August, relish North Hessian sweets at the North Hessian Specialties Festival in October, when Melsungen becomes the culinary capital city of (North) Hesse for a day, or laugh outloud at the Melsungen cabaret competition for the “sharp beard” in November. The Melsunger town centre is fabulously and romantically illuminated in the advent period, when more than 300 adorned fir trees and festively illuminated streets show the way to the “Royal Plaza” at the historical city hall, which, with its unique ensemble of half-timbered houses as well as numerous large and small Christmas trees and covered “feeding mangers”, conjures up a cosy winter forest atmosphere that invites us to shared meals, drink, and chatting.
You can be active in and around Melsungen and the Fulda Valley in the Grimm Northern Hesse home on foot along about 300 km of marked trails and paths, in part discovering historical routes such as “Sälzer road”, “Fulda highway”, “Bartenwetzer path” and “Barbarossa road”. A particular distinction of the region is the Art Hiking Path "Ars Natura", which leads along a large part of the Barbarossa road. The artist group ARS NATURA from “Gallery In Nature” created more than 100 works of art along this route.
With the bicycle, you can explore the region on the Fulda cycling path R1, which has been certified with 4 stars since 2012. It provides well-marked cycling routes along the Fulda to Hann. Münden (about 70 km) or up to the Fulda source in Rhön (about 100 km). Also the valleys of Eder and Pfieffe invite tours without being too steep. Water sportsman find ideal conditions on the Fulda, be it an active tour with a canoe or pedal boat. You can journey on a raft in the romantic Fulda Valley very comfortably with the Fulda water nymph.
It won't take you long to find out that Melsungen is noteworthy and very worth a visit! For holiday tourists and day visitors.