The Altmühl River, a tributary of the Danube, meanders through a lush valley at its lower end. The valley and the surrounding medieval villages are all part of the largest natural park in Germany. Of the towns along the river, Eichstätt is one of the most picturesque. Founded in 908, the city boasts a treasure-filled Romanesque cathedral on the magnificent Residenzplatz, a square lined with baroque and rococo palaces.
Bishop's residence in the idyllic Altmühltal
The city on the Altmühl River is dominated by the imposing Willibalds Castle, where there was already a stronghold even in Celtic times. Formative over centuries was Catholicism. In 741 the Holy Willibald founded the place as a missionary monastery. The houses crowd around the Romanesque cathedral, St. Salvatius, which watches over the triangular marketplace. But the most interesting part of the old town is the bishop's residence from the Baroque era, which now houses the District Office. The Residenz square in front of it is one of the most beautiful spots in Germany. In the early modern era Eichstätt was a center for superstition and witch hunts. Alone from 1617 to 1630, 141 women and 26 men were executed for witchcraft.