Last week I went to a “training” to Ladenburg for one of my coming assignment with the USO. I had NEVER been there and I will tell you that I found that little town just BEAUTIFUL and full of history.
I learn that Ladenburg was the second oldest city on this side of the Rhine River. The town started as a Celts settlement around 3000BC. The Name was LOKWODUNOM (meaning “Castle on the water”) it changes with the different area in history. Around 200BC the Celts left the region chased by the Suebs, who came from the North of Germany. When the Romans invaded the country, they accepted the Suebs as settles and made them their auxiliaries (militia). From 70AD the Romans started construction of a “Castellum” and chose to make town a “military base”. The town became soon after the “Capital” of the region. A little like in the states where DC is the Capital of the USA, each states has a capital, and in this time Rome was the Country capital and naming little town as their “regional/states” capital.
St Sebastian Chapel: it belongs to the Bishop’s palace. Its origins date back to the 7th or 8th century. The oldest visible parts are the Romanesque walls of the northern transept and the steeple.
Key symbol on the wall: Signified that it was a bishopric town and that we were coming close to the bishop house.
The 30 years war (1618-1648) was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. The war was fought primarily in what is now Germany and at various point involved most of the countries of Europe. The origin was initially because of a religious conflict between the Protestants and Catholics. Gradually it developed into a more general conflict involving most of the European powers. The war became more a continuation of the “Bourbon-Habsburg” rivalry for political power and then less specifically about religion.
Martin’s Gate: You can still see the holes made by cannon balls in the year 1622, when the town was besieged in the 30 years’ war.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Carl Benz moves to Ladenburg. In 1888 while her husband was away, Bertha decided to take the car on a long distance trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim where her mother lived. She took her 2 sons (13 and 15 years old) and left a note to her husband. So Bertha Benz and her sons drove by ear. If a chain had extended and now quite audibly missed individual teeth of the gears, they had to go to the blacksmith’s in Bruchsal who fixed the chain. However, two bad troubles happened in the middle of the road, so that “on-board” tools had to be used for the repair. These two pretty dramatic situations were described later as follows, rather coolly, by Bertha Benz, “The first time, the fuel line was clogged – my hairpin turned out to be helpful there. The second time the ignition was broken. I used my garter to fix it.” You can find the first garage in Germany in Ladenburg.
The Stumble Stones: Many places in Germany have started to put down some “Stumble Stones” – “Stolpersteine”. You’re supposed to stumble, not literally of course, but in your thoughts. These golden bricks are put down on the pavement in front of a building in which a victim of the Nazis used to live.