GERMANY  |  Lahn Valley, Germany Travel Guide
Monday, December 4, 2023
2 Of 7


Altstadt (old town), Wetzlar, Germany (cc)


Wetzlar is a small town on the river Lahn, with an extensively-restored and tightly-packed medieval town center with half-timbered houses and stone buildings and an unfinished, 13th-century Romanesque cathedral of some renown. The town actually has scores of historic buildings set upon an interesting array of formerly commodity-centered squares – such as Iron Market, Grain Market, Butter Market and Fish Market – as well as one of the world's largest and most famous public libraries devoted entirely to fantastic literature, Phantastische Bibliothek Wetzlar. There's also a supremely ancient stone bridge across the Lahn here, the 13th-century Alte Lahnbrücke.

Still, despite its historical and visitor-oriented offerings, Wetzlar is famous principally for three reasons: law, literature and photography. Of the first it can be said that Wetzlar was the seat of the Reichskammergericht (Imperial Court), the highest court in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which was originally established in 1495 in Speyer, but fled in 1689 in the face of the advancing French troops during the War of the Palatinate Succession, and settled in Wetzlar until the dissolution of the empire in 1806. Next came the town's association with literature, which was indirectly tied to law; for in 1772, a young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe arrived in Wetzlar to complete his legal training at the Reichskammergericht, but during his stay he wrote and published a slim novella, The Sorrows of Young Werther, which caused quite a stir and brought visitors by the hundreds to this small town to see what the fuss was all about, in turn establishing Goethe as a literary genius. And finally, in 1914, Wetzlar became instrumental in the development of popular photography, with local inventor Oskar Barnack's development of the first small-format (35 mm) film camera, which subsequently went into serial production here in 1926 as the Leica. That legacy has since given birth to optical industries such as Hensoldt binoculars and Siebert microscopes which continue to flourish in Wetzlar.

Wetzlar is situated on the northern edge of the Taunus in the German state of Hesse, on both banks of the river Lahn. It is 33 miles (53 km) north of Frankfurt, or 22 miles (35 km) southwest of Marburg. It has a population of about 52,000

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated May 9, 2012
Posted in   Germany  |  Lahn Valley
No votes yet
Explore the Destination
Amenities and Resources
  • Map
  • Weather Forecast
  • Broken clouds, mist, light snow
    • Reported on:
      Mon, 12/04/2023 - 08:50
    Broken clouds, mist, light snow Temperature: -3 °C
Trending Themes:

Guides to Popular Ski Resorts

  • Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More

  • Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More

  • Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More

  • Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More

  • Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More

  • St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More

  • Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More

  • St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More

  • Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More


Copyright © 2010-2013 Indian Chief Travel Guides. Images tagged as (cc) are licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.