Station: [19] Privileges

This elongated hall right next to the Black Kitchen is where the castle’s permanent residents used to take their meals …

… while the elector had his on the floor above – whenever he spent time in Radeberg.

“Stadtluft macht frei!” –“city air makes you free” – a saying that has come down to us from the Middle Ages. It shows how sought-after a town charter was. Towns didn’t come under the manorial system, which required the payment of taxes, and under which so many people were serfs. Anyone who had lived in a town for a year and a day could no longer be reclaimed by his or her manorial lord. So the bestowal of a town charter brought more independence and extra liberties for the townsfolk.

In 1412, Radeberg was granted such a charter by Landgrave Friedrich the Peaceful of Thuringia. The charter included the right to hold markets, to build a town wall, to elect a mayor, and to brew and serve beer.

The chapter of our exhibition dealing with Radeberg’s history covers the period from the town’s beginnings in the High Middle Ages to around 1800. Trade, manual crafts and domestic work were the three pillars on which urban life had rested since medieval times. If you look at the display cases in the centre, you’ll discover various aspects of town life. More detailed information can be found in the drawers along with any light-sensitive exhibits. The outer display cases deal with events representing outside influences on Radeberg: wars or major fires, for instance.

One display case on the right-hand side contains old pieces of wood with metal rings. That was the old conduit that supplied water to the palace and the market place. Conserving and maintaining the conduit was the job of the Röhrmeister – the pipe master – an important figure, because without him, there was no fresh water. Which explains why, in the 16th century, Radeberg’s Röhrmeister in charge of the conduit system was the highest paid local official. To this day, remains of the wooden conduit that supplied the entire town with running water are still being found during construction work.

All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen