Mahlberg – densely packed houses jostling each other in the Upper Town. The way every spare inch is built on hints at the medieval roots of this historic little Staufer town. But even before that royal dynasty, there’s evidence of local settlement by the Celts, the Alemanni and the Romans.
In the Upper Town, right opposite the town hall, stands Mahlberg’s palace church, a rare central-plan building with an octagonal ground plan. As the palatine chapel attached to the imperial castle of Mahlberg, it stood between the castle and the town and was originally called St. Katharine’s Chapel. These days, it’s Mahlberg’s Protestant parish church.
Above the church are the bright façades of Mahlberg Castle and, right next to it, the palace with its Treppenturm, or Stair Tower, both standing proud above this little town on the Upper Rhine. The first documentary evidence of Mahlberg’s existence goes back to the year 1007. The historical document in question is a deed of gift from “the demesne of Mortenau with its main settlement Mahlberg” to the diocese of Bamberg.
In the 13th century, Mahlberg Castle welcomed a royal visitor. King Friedrich the Second, who became Emperor of the Roman-German Empire two years later. He spent time at the castle in late autumn 1218, dealing with government affairs.
The history of Mahlberg is closely linked to the history of the tobacco industry. The Ortenau region can look back on more than two centuries of growing and processing tobacco.
So it makes sense for the Upper Rhenish Tobacco Museum in Mahlberg to be dedicated to this success story.
With seventeen hundred square metres of exhibition space, it offers the visitor a unique display that brings tobacco processing and cigar-making to life. The museum is just a few minutes’ walk from Rathausplatz, at Kirchstrasse number 4. It’s open from ten a.m. to five p.m. on Sundays and public holidays from May until September. Guided group tours can also be booked on any other day during the summer months.
All depictions: © Oberrheinisches Tabakmuseum Mahlberg