Regional Overview

Crossroads of an Empire

The Wetterau is characterized above all by the legacy of the Free Imperial Cities. The high level of urbanization achieved in Frankfurt, Gelnhausen, and Friedberg supported a lively competition for trade and control over the region. This somewhat small region has more to offer than what is visible at first glance.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The Renaissance and Baroque Half-Timbered Cityscapes of Gelnhausen, Büdingen, Friedberg, and Seligenstadt
  • 19th century historicism and urban planning from both the Nassau and Wilhelmine periods
  • The Romanesque architecture of the late Staufen Empire




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted.

What is Hessen?

The Wetterau was one of the most strategic locations in Europe. It was here that the trade from the East on Via Regia met the Rhenish trade from the west. It’s where the goods of the northern Saxons started their journey on the Main to the Danube.

At the center was the Free and Imperial City of Frankfurt, the jewel of the Holy Roman Empire. To defend the heartland of the Empire, the medieval Emperors assumed direct control of the region. It is their legacy that shapes the character of the historical heritage in the Wetterau.

Regional Overview

Cities of the Saarland

Hiking in the Region

Hike: The Royal Road – Via Regia

Hike: The Royal Road – Via Regia

The Via Regia is an ancient trade route that stretched across Central Europe, connecting Krakow and Paris, with major stops in Frankfurt and Leipzig and several divergent paths. Part of…

Hike: Monks of the Wetterau

Hike: Monks of the Wetterau

For an easy hike across some of the nicer farmland north of Frankfurt, there is the Monastery of Ilbenstadt. The monastery complex is mostly preserved and features a remarkable late…

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

8.2 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 8
  • Transportation: 10
  • Volume/Capacity: 8
  • Infrastructure: 9
  • Interactivity: 6

5 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 5
  • Monuments: 5
  • Quality: 5

4 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 7
  • Tradition: 1




This is a land of sleepy towns of half-timbered houses and ancient castles.

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