Ansbach is the administrative capital of Middle Franconia, largely due to having been a residence of the Margraves of Ansbach-Bayreuth in the past. At roughly 40,000 inhabitants, it is by far not the largest city in Middle Franconia.
Kaspar Hauser, a mysterious foundling who claimed to have grown up in complete isolation, lived in Ansbach from 1831 until his violent death two years later. Some believed him to be the abducted heir to the throne of Baden, while others considered him a patent liar and a fraud. Before he succumbed to his injuries, Hauser claimed that he had been assassinated in the court garden; most experts however believe that his injuries were self-inflicted (without suicidal intent) in order to gain attention.
Ansbach is home to an American Army Garrison which has been downsized in the course of post-Cold War withdrawal from Germany.
Ansbach stationServed by intercity trains from Nuremberg and Stuttgart every two hours, from Hamburg, Hanover and Munich once a day. Hourly regional trains from Würzburg and S-Bahn (suburban line) S4 from Nuremberg. The trip from Nuremberg takes 30–40 minutes, from Würzburg one hour, from Stuttgart 1 hr 40 min, from Munich 1 hr 50 min.
By planeThe next commercial airport is in Nuremberg (NUE). From there take U2 to the main station (~12 minutes) and S4 or regional train to Ansbach (~1 hour altogether).
Flugplatz Ansbach-PetersdorfThis airfield can accommodate small general aviation planes.
Most of the sights are in the old town which is less than a kilometer in diameter. Within this area, as well as the neighbouring residence and court garden, everything is accessible by foot. Cars should be parked outside the old town with its narrow lanes, one-ways and pedestrian zones.
Ansbach ResidenceLarge Rococo-style palace (almost disproportional to the size of the town) that now hosts the district government of Middle Franconia and a comprehensive collection of faiences and porcelain, paintings, ballroom with ceiling fresco and hall of mirrors.
St. GumbertusLate-romanesque church with burial place of the Ansbach margraves. It was built around 750 CE, and was converted into a Lutheran church when the Margraves became Lutheran. According to the then valid principle of cuius regio eius religio, their subjects had to convert or leave, too.
St. Johannisaddress: Martin-Luther-PlatzThe second major medieval church of the town. Its architecture is Gothic, the interior Baroque.
Synagogueaddress: RosenbadstraßeBaroque-style. Unlike most synagogues in Germany, it survived the Nazis' "Kristallnacht" of 1938 almost undamaged. Can only be visited during a guided tour.
OrangerieLarge Baroque-style orangery, part of the court garden.
Court gardenExtensive and idyllic French-styled garden, including limetree avenues, lawns, flower parterre, orangery and citrus house. A medicinal plant garden was layed out according to the works of 16th-century botanist and physician Leonhart Fuchs (name giver of the fuchsia). A stele marks the place where Kaspar Hauser was supposedly assassinated: Hic occultus occulto occisus est ("The mysterious one was killed here in a mysterious way").
address: Promenade 29Quite an impressive repertoire for such a small town. Founded in the mid 2000s.
Ansbach GrizzliesOne of the oldest American football teams in Germany, they played the very first German Bowl in 1979 against the now defunct Frankfurt Löwen. Their founding, like that of many of the earliest American football teams in Germany was linked to a notable US Army presence in the area. In the first years (before the introduction of more substantial limits on the number of Americans on the field), many of their players were serving tours of duty for the US Army at nearby bases, which have been shut down or greatly reduced in size in the post Cold War era. However, during the 1980s Ansbach produced several German national team players. They played in every German Bowl between 1979 and 1986 (I-VIII), winning it all in 1981, 1982 and 1985. Since those glory days, their fortunes have waned, however, they still field some pretty decent youth teams given the small size of the town.
- The surroundings of Ansbach are picturesque and inviting for a cycling tour. However they are quite hilly, so if you are not trained at all, you may opt for an e-bike.
phone: +49 981-2170address: Promenade 33
phone: +49 981-42124-0address: Pfarrstraße 31A traditional down home Franconian place with a beer garden. Try the Schäufala, a pork shoulder with a bacon-like crust.
Café Karladdress: Karlstraße 7Cozy Café with cake and an outdoor seating area.
Brasserie-Loungeaddress: Schwanenstraße 7The family-run pub is owned by a German-Taiwanese couple and boasts an impressive menu of spirits (listing some 420 different drinks, including some high-end whiskys, cognacs and champagne). Usually the last pub in town to close. Snacks and fastfood served all night. The pub's highlight is called "Wheel of Death": a wheel of fortune, where you pay a fix price and the drink you will get is determined by chance, it may be an upscale whisky or armagnac at best or "dishwater" at worst.
Café Klatschaddress: Kronenstraße 1Popular cafe and pub in the old town, with tables on the street and in the patio during Summer. Occasionally hosts small concerts, jam sessions or pub quiz.
address: Würzburger Straße 18Quirky pub with bizarre interior, including a laundrette. Meeting place of left-wing and subcultural groups, cards and bord game nerds. A football table is available, drinks are incredibly cheap. The publican is a character (but should not be argued with).
phone: +49 981-971420address: Promenade 30Upscale hotel with antique furniture.
phone: +49 981-42124-0address: Pfarrstraße 31
phone: +49 981-4874561address: Wasserzell 21
Lichtenau FortressRenaissance stronghold of the Nuremberg burgraves.
HerriedenPicturesque old town on Altmühl River.
Colmberg CastleHigh-medieval spur castle.
Wolframs-EschenbachHometown of the legendary medieval poet and Minne singer Wolfram von Eschenbach. Medieval town wall and gates, castle of the Teutonic Knights.
Heilsbronn AbbeyFormer Cistercensian abbey and minster.
- Franconian Lake District, including Gunzenhausen (30 km southeast; 18 min by train)
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 35 km northwest (40 min by train via Steinach), international symbol of a romantic-medieval German town
- Dinkelsbühl, 40 km southwest (1 hr by bus 805), another romantic-medieval, a little less crowded than Rothenburg
- Nuremberg, 45 km northeast (30–40 min by train)
- Altmühl Valley nature park, including Treuchtlingen (50 km south of Ansbach; 35 min by train), Weißenburg, Pappenheim, Solnhofen, Eichstätt – Altmühl cycling path is one of the most popular bike trails in Southern Germany, passing many natural and cultural sights; alternatively you may travel along the river by canoe.
- Nördlingen, 60 km south
- Schwäbisch Hall, 70 km southwest (1 hr by train via Crailsheim)