All along the city walls: The Worms highlights tour


For the people of Worms, the city walls are much more than a stone monument. They are a symbol of home. This applies to Dr Gerold Bönnen too. “The city walls are alive. And they lead us through 2,000 years of the history of Worms,” explains the curator of the city archive and the Jewish Museum with a smile. “The oldest parts date back to Roman times.”

The Roman remains of the city wall in the idyllic Heylhofspark are just a stone’s throw from the venue for the legendary Nibelungen Festival. They are the perfect starting point for a discovery tour. The „Worms erleben“ App will show you the way. The first stage takes you south past the town’s most famous landmark, the Imperial Cathedral, to a small but exclusive vineyard. It shares its name with the prison tower that stood here in the Middle Ages: Luginsland. “German King Henry VII had no great views from here. His own father, Frederick II, incarcerated him before going on to marry his son’s bride in extravagant style,” explains Dr Bönnen.

Heylshofpark with a view of the cathedral, Worms

Heylshofpark with a view of the cathedral, Worms

In the Middle Ages, few cities had better defences than Worms. You can see this from the scale model in the Museum in the Andreasstift collegiate church. There were two rings of city walls. Until 1689, when the French almost completely destroyed them during the Nine Years’ War. The section of city walls by the Andreastor next to the museum bears witness to what was left standing. And also to the fact that parts of the city walls were sacrificed during peacetime. What is now known as the Andreastor was a gap created in 1907 to make space for road traffic. The gate itself had long been destroyed. It had served as a toll tower.

Walk along the city wall in Worms, Rhinehesse

Walk along the historic city wall in Worms, Rhinehesse

Judengasse in Worms, Rhinehesse

Judengasse in Worms, Rhinehesse

To the east on Torturmplatz, the city walls demonstrate what a stronghold they once represented. They look pretty intimidating here, with their mighty façade, tall defences and lofty towers. Walled arches from the Hohenstaufen period are visible at the base. “It is its varied nature that makes the Worms city wall so great. Each of its parts harks back to a different time, from the High Middle Ages to today,” explains Gerard Bönnen. The Nibelungen Museum spans this period remarkably well. It brings the legend surrounding dragon slayer Siegfried to life in a way that is interactive, captivating and thought-provoking. The exhibition uses the city walls as its venue.

From Torturmplatz, you head further north to the former Jewish quarter. The synagogue and the district around it were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2021. For Gerold Bönnen, human history and the city walls are very much intertwined, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Jewish quarter. “Some houses form part of the walls. They were already there when the walls were extended. The Jewish community even rescinded the mandatory Sabbath day of rest once in 1200 in order to defend the city.” The Jewish Museum in the Rashi House brings the whole history of Judaism in the region to life. Or you can try an extra tour with the ShUM App*. 

Travelling through time in the northern section of the city walls can be really fun with the  City & Quest Worms quiz. It its great fun for teams of two people or more. Or if you fancy a quiet spot to rest, head for the Martinskirche to the west. It is one of Gerold Bönnen’s favourite places. “The north side has a pretty dilapidated cloister, which has been taken over by nature. It is surprisingly, enchantingly beautiful.”

The Nibelungen Museum at the city wall, Worms

The Nibelungen Museum at the city wall, Worms

* ShUM is derived from the first letters of the Hebrew city names: shin (sh) for Shpira (Speyer), vav (u) for Vermayza (Worms) and mem (m) for Magentza (Mainz). The ShUM cities became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021.

More recommended excursions for cultural lovers in Worms:


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