Citizens of Pre and Early History left vestiges all over the region. Approximately in 3000BC and again in 1500BC, mighty ringforts were erected above Miltenberg dwelling on the hills Bürgstadter Berg and Greinberg. Both served as refuge castles of significant size.
The Romans inhabited the region from around 160 to 260AC and constructed two forts during that period: South of where the river Erf flows into the Main was the Fort Numerus, holding about 120 men, and at the mouth of the river Mud, the Fort Cohort (see Kleinheubach), holding about 480 men, where later, on its ruins, the town Wallhausen evolved.
UNESCO World Heritage: Limes
With a length of 550km, some 900 sentries, and 120 forts and keeps, the Limes Germanicus is the biggest archeological monument of Germany. While Emperor Antonius Pius ruled, the Wet Limes (Main River) was extended, connecting Großkrotzenburg and Wörth, stretching to Miltenberg/Bürgstadt. From here, the Solid Limes leads from Walldürn to Osterburken, and Lorch, all the way to Regensburg.
Middle Ages and Early Modern Age
First mentioned in a document in 1237, the town Miltenberg can proudly look back on a turbulent history. Making the best of its conveniently situated position along the busy escort road Nuremberg-Frankfurt next to the Main, Miltenberg grew to be a significant customs point and substantial trading venue. Its most important growth factors were viticulture, wine trade, shipping, timber and stone industry, alongside with trade and craftsmanship. In 1367, Emperor Karl IV granted Miltenberg several privileges, e.g. arranging trade fairs, and implementing the staple right which helped Miltenberg at an early stage to become a thriving medieval trading center. In 1379, the city gates Würzburger and Mainzer Tor were mentioned for the first time and by then the town had already covered an area which only expanded again during the 1800s.
In the Peasant’s War 1525, Miltenberg was not damaged but a few years later, in 1552, Miltenberg partly went up in flames during the Margrave War. After that war, Archbishop Daniel Brendel of Homburg initiated the re-erection of the castle.
In 1583, the sculptor Michael Juncker created one of the most beautiful renaissance monuments of Miltenberg: The Market Fountain. The Market Square, better known as Schnatterloch, is surrounded by magnificent half-timbered houses; e.g. the former Centgrafenhaus, the old Amtskellerei and the Gülden Cron. One of Germany’s oldest taverns, the Gasthaus zum Riesen (The Giant’s Inn), was altered in 1590 to present itself seen today. Century after century, kings, princes, and other secular and clerical officials would stay in this “princely tavern”.
In the 1600s the witch-hunting started. The Mainz territory around Miltenberg was especially affected. Men and women were equally denounced, tortured and executed.
Thirty Year War
During the Thirty Year War (1618 – 1648), the convenient position along the so-called “Highway of Dark Ages” which once helped Miltenberg to become a thriving trade center, turned into a disadvantage. The town lost more than half of its population to lootings, pillage, and epidemics, introduced by soldiers because all troops were using that road. The once splendid era was over.
Transition from Mainz to Bavaria
After the electoral state of Mainz had been disestablished in 1803, Prince Leiningen became legal successor of the Archbishop of Mainz. Nevertheless, in 1806, Leiningen had already lost its political sovereignty but not its property to the Grand Duchy Baden. In 1810, Miltenberg became Hessian and in 1816, Bavarian.
In 1818, the revocation of previous century-lasting customs and market rights by the Kingdom of Bavaria lead to substantial deteriorations. The town lost its former central position and now was located at the outskirts of the Bavarian Kingdom. The main stages of urban development lay in the past but, as hopeless as it seemed then, supported the preservation of the medieval townscape. The award-winning Museum Stadt Miltenberg shows how people used to live here in the course of centuries.
Miltenberg – „Town of Timber“
Miltenberg is a member of the “German Timber-Frame Road”. Using the concept of „Framework United”, the holiday route presents unique landscapes, historic sites, and affectionately restored monuments. Having such an eventful history, Miltenberg can display itself gloriously: A wide main street with marvelous half-timbered houses and medieval alleyways. The oldest, still preserved half-timbered house dates back to 1339.
Miltenberg not only offers a lively present and impressive history, it was also awarded „Bavarian Culinary Hotspot”. There are only few places (just about 100) that can call themselves a culinary hotspot.