Monschau - small town on the Rur
You have to know it, otherwise you will pass it. Would Monschau not be one of the goals of our pleasure trip through Nordrhein-Westfalen, we would never have known that this beautiful place exists. The ring road passes above the village without revealing a view of the historic old town, its castle and the valley of the Rur. Only an inconspicuous small sign indicates that a street branches off into the historic center. Our navigation device guides us around the town to the other entrance on Laufenstrasse. This is the one Hotel Lindenhof *in which we stay. The dignified and well-maintained Garni Hotel is located about ten minutes walk from the village center and just a few steps below the historic mustard mill, which is known far beyond the town.
Monschau - historical gem in the valley of the Rur
We park our car at the hotel and follow the running street into the village. The further we go down the hill, the clearer is that this place is special. When the tarred road finally merges into narrow alleys with bumpy cobblestones and modern architecture is replaced by medieval half-timbered houses, Monschau has already won our hearts. Here time seems to stand still. If a car did not occasionally rattle past us and work its way around the tight bends, we might think we have a journey back in time. 1198 is first mentioned in the annals of history.
A half-timbered town
Some already quite crooked house facade is based on the neighboring house. The half-timbered houses lining the town street are also narrow. Left and right, the banks of the Rur valley rise steeply until they reach the vast areas of the High Venn, over which the wind blows unrestrained. Monschau and its houses, on the other hand, are sheltered from the stiff breeze - and perhaps from many a misfortune in its history - in the depths of the valley. If you live here, you have to walk well. Because except the roads along the Rur, it goes straight from the city center over narrow streets and stairs uphill.
Monschau owes its prosperity to Protestant clothiers
In the city center, on Scheiblerplatz, there is a really magnificent building: the Red House. This owes its name to the color. It was once the seat of the Scheibler cloth-making dynasty. Protestant cloth makers, who fled Catholic Aachen during the Thirty Years' War, helped Monschau to prosper. Montjoie, as Monschau was still called at that time, granted its residents freedom of religion. Therefore, the cloth-maker refugees were able to settle here. They thanked the city by making it rich.
The Red House is one of the largest houses in the cityscape of Monschau and testifies to the success of the Scheibler cloth maker family. It was at the same time a house, an office, and a warehouse. It also housed the workshops in which the fine cloths were made. These were exported from Monschau to all of Europe. It was not until the Prussian customs policy in the 19th century and the secluded location in the Eifel that cloth-making in the city fell. The last spinning mill closed its doors in 1982.
Today tourism in Monschau plays the main role
When we take our first walk through Monschau on Sunday afternoon, there is hustle and bustle in the city. Buses bring visitors into the place who are just as impressed by its beauty as we are. On Monday morning, however, we have the city almost to ourselves. Many of the stores are still closed or are just getting ready for the week ahead. The place seems a little sleepy after the Sunday weekend business. This gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at the place.
What has Sherlock Holmes lost in Monschau?
Here we come across the enigmatic metal figure of Sherlock Holmes on the banks of the Rur, where the Laufenbach flows into it. With the typical pipe in the mouth, the flat cap on the head and the long coat, the figure is hard to miss. In fact, the statue of Sherlock Holmes is reminiscent of a writer from the Eifel: Jacques berndorf - once a reputed freelance journalist - began to write crime novels in the 80 years, whose locations and stories he researched carefully and faithfully reproduced in his books.
If Berndorf writes about a road in the Eifel, in which three lime trees stand, then this road really exists, and if one visits these, one finds the described trees. How could it be otherwise: Monschau also appears in his Eifel thriller. So if you want to learn something about the Monschau region and the Eifel, you can do so in a very entertaining way with the reading of the Eifel thriller of Berndorf.
Sweet specialties from Monschau
On our tour through Monschau, we notice the many cafés such as the Café am Roten Haus, the Schloßcafé in the Hotel Royal or the Café Kaulard, which are filled to the last seat on Sunday afternoon. When asked if there were any special specialties in Monschau that we should know, our companion replied: “Of course! There are the Monschau Dütchen, the Vennbrocken and of course the Printen. ”
The Printen will probably fight back Aachener on the other hand, if Monschau claims their invention for itself. But the sachets are guaranteed to be typical of the place, which are bag-shaped biscuit bags filled with ice cream, cream or fruit and served with coffee. The Vennbrocken are pralines that are reminiscent of the peat briquettes that were once cut in the High Fens. The Vennbrocken are filled with marzipan, cream Cointreau truffle or crispy nougat. The Christmas-smelling Printen are made in Monschau and the Eifel all year round, as they are needed for certain recipes that are cooked all year round. The most famous example of this is the Rhenish Sauerbraten, whose sauce is refined with Printen or Printen spices.
At the end...
Monschau has many sites worth visiting: its history, which is beautifully reflected in its historic cityscape; the mentality of its inhabitants, which is best known in the Eifel crime novels by Jacques Berndorf. And the sweet specialties that we discovered in the cafes on site. Monschau has even more to offer in terms of cuisine.
That has to be in the suitcase for the visit to Monschau
Here is our collected tips on how to enjoy the Eifel can. Or take a look at Petar's video and follow us on our visit to Monschau:
Do you already know:
- Enjoy the Eifel - that's possible in Monschau
- Pure enjoyment - three tips in Monschau in the Eifel
- Monschauer mustard from the historic mustard mill
- Hike at the Rursee in the Eifel
- Enjoy beautiful cities in Austria
Source: own research on site. We thank you NRW tourism and Tourism Monschau for the friendly invitation to this pleasure trip. More tips for enjoyment Traveling in North Rhine-Westphalia you will find Enjoyment in NRW or follow the hashtag #noNRW on Facebook or Twitter.
We participate and contribute to the blog parade Small towns in Germany, There you will find other interesting small towns that are worth a visit.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline