Medieval Crime Museum


A unique museum showcasing the gruesome history of crime and punishment during the Middle Ages.

Medieval Crime Museum

Medieval Crime Museum

Situated in the medieval setting of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a region known for its enchanting fairy-tale-like landscapes in Germany, resides one of the most unique museums exploring the curious world of crime and punishment in Medieval Europe - The Medieval Crime Museum (Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum). With an impressive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and original documents, the museum offers an intriguing look into the many aspects of crime, law, and punishment in the Middle Ages over a span of 1000 years, making it a must-visit site for all travel enthusiasts.

The museum itself is housed in a 14th-century building, adding a genuine aura of medieval charm to your experience. As one enters, a wide array of artifacts that articulate the varied measures of justice in the bygone era can be observed. The museum's collection boasts over 50,000 objects and items, which provide insights into the penal systems of a time when law and order were heavily influenced by superstition, fear, and pre-modern beliefs.

The exhibition showcases a plethora of physical devices used for punishment and public humiliation, such as stocks, gibbets, Pillory, and shame masks, all adding to the museum's chilling yet riveting ambiance. Although some of the exhibits are undoubtedly disconcerting, they offer an essential glimpse into the prevailing mindsets during the Middle Ages.

With the promise of a fascinating, albeit somewhat harrowing journey back in time, the Kriminalmuseum is carefully sectioned into different thematic rooms. Each room is designed to explain various aspects, like witch trials, instruments of torture, embezzlement, false coinage, and judicial law, among others. One of the most popular exhibits is the “Iron Virgin of Nuremberg," a chilling casket lined with spikes, which was believed to be used for torture.

But it's not all darkness and dreadful tales. The museum also houses a separate section for the history of the Imperial City of Rothenburg up until its downfall in 1802, covering politics, law, and everyday life in the late Medieval Period. So, if you're a medieval history buff, this part of the museum will surely captivate your interest.

Recognising the importance of tailoring exhibits to suit visitors of all ages, the museum has also created an interactive area specifically designed for children. By using replica costumes and working models of medieval life commonplace items, young visitors can gain a fun yet educational insight into the everyday ordinariness of the period.

The museum is laudable for its effort to present the exhibits not just in a cold, factual manner but through engaging storytelling. It has integrated multimedia presentations throughout the exhibition, creating a captivating blend of dramatic history and education. Numerous information boards and video screens in each exhibit area provide additional context, with translations available in English and other languages for international visitors.

Every year, the Medieval Crime Museum attracts a considerable number of tourists due to its sheer uniqueness and its deep dive into a past that often tends to spark intrigue and fascination. Located in the heart of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the museum is easily accessible and offers guided tours for an enhanced experience. Though it may not be for the faint-hearted, a visit to this museum promises an unforgettable dive into a challenging and mesmerizing part of human history.

To conclude, if you are fascinated by social history, folklore, and justice systems and enjoy diving into the intriguing past, a visit to the Medieval Crime Museum (Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum) in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is absolutely worthwhile. You'll come away with a greater understanding and appreciation of how far we've come as a society, and the journey that's brought us to where we are today.

Thus, make sure to include the Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum as a highlight in your itinerary when visiting this charming German town. The journey through humanity's history of crime and punishment is both fascinating and thought-provoking, and one you certainly won't want to miss.