Steinau an der Strasse – the city of the Brothers Grimm

In August 2022, we are on our way back to Switzerland, coming from Berlin and Thuringia. On the way, we stay one night at Steinau an der Strasse.


Steinau an der Strasse – is this a noisy place? No, “Strasse” commemorates the medieval Via Regia

First, I frowned at “Steinau an der Strasse“. Why “an der Strasse” (“on the road”)?  Is it a noisy place with the houses lined up along a busy road? No, not at all. It was one of the cities on the medieval trade route Via Regia (from Frankfurt to Leipzig and beyond), and this is why it has the attribute “an der Strasse”.

These are some meters of the original cobble stones; it must be a bumpy experience to travel on such a road.

The cobblestones, retrieved nearby (between Salmünster and Steinau), were installed in the city in 2006, as the panel says.

In 2007, Steinau opened a museum about the Via Regia, the trade route between Frankfurt and Leipzig, as the Stadtchronik (town chronicle) on the Steinau homesite says.

Twinkling with an eye in 2007, Steinach installed the milestone that welcomes travellers (Reysende) and invites them to spend some Euros in the shops, inns and restaurants (läden, herbergen und tavernen) so that these will not be in need henceforth (auf dass diese fürderhin nit noth leyden).

We conform to this wish. We spend one night in the friendly B&B Burgmannenhaus on the Market Square (called am Kumpen).

On the ground floor, the shop “Wilde Speisekammer” sells local specialties, including venison products, as the owner is a hunter. The owner tells me that the guards of the nearby castle once stayed in this house (“Burgmannen” can be translated as “castle men”).


The Brothers Grimm lived at Steinau

In the Amtshaus (administration building), the bailiff (Amtmann) Philipp Wilhelm Grimm lived with his family from 1791-96. His sons Jakob und Wilhelm Grimm later became world-famous as linguists and fairy tale collectors. The Amtshaus was built in 1562. It is a museum today.

Fairy tales are present all over at Steinach. This house has been painted with fairy tale scenes, such as Hänsel and Gretel, Snow White, Red Riding Hood (Rotkäppchen), the Wolf and the seven little Goats or Gänseliesel (Liesel with the geese).

On the Market Square, the fountain tells more fairy tales, such as Frau Holle (Mother Holle).

Dragons also belong to the world of fairy tales and legends.

In 2006, Steinau received the official attribute Brüder-Grimm-Stadt or city of the Brothers Grimm.


The city centre has been well preserved with medieval half-timbered houses

We stroll along the streets of the city centre and find well preserved medieval half-timbered houses. This is the view of the main street.

The “Kemenate derer von Hutten” (bower of the von Hutten family) was built in 1557. It was reconstructed in 1732 to serve as the Lutheran parochial house, as the plate on the house explains.


Market Square with City Hall and Saint Catherine Church

The City Hall was built in 1561.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria is the city saint. The first church was built here in the 9th century. What we can see today is mainly late Gothic from 1481-1511. I find the two naves interesting, as seen from the castle.


The Renaissance Castle

The Renaissance castle of Steinau was built in 1528-55. It was a representative building for the duchy of Hanau (Obergrafschaft Hanau). Temporarily it served as residence of the duke, later it became the seat of the duke widows. Steinau was the centre of the duchy of Hanau.

I like the staircase in the castle.

Today the castle is a museum. It makes the life of the former dukes of Hanau-Münzenberg revive. In addition, it hosts another exhibition about the Brothers Grimm, besides the museum of the Brothers Grimm in the house, where they once lived.


Our culinary experience at Steinau

We have dinner at Ali Baba. It is a small Turkish restaurant, well liked and visited by the people from Steinau. I do not remember, what I have ordered. But I remember, I enjoyed the meal, and I enjoyed the service provided by the extremely friendly and hard-working wife of the house.

Our breakfast was served in this cosy small dining room in the Burgmannenhaus. It was a delicious small breakfast with fresh fruit and yogurt.

After one night, we leave the welcoming small city Steinau and der Strasse; our next destination is the Odenwald.

Perhaps I will return one day to explore the museum of the Brothers Grimm (in the house, where they lived), the Museum Steinau (about the Via Regia) and the Renaissance castle (about the life of the dukes and again about the Brothers Grimm).