While staying at a hotel west of Frankfurt, I realized the next town over was Idstein in the state of Hesse. I grabbed a brochure at the Hotel reception and read it has a well preserved historical Altstadt (Old Town). I was looking forward to see it for myself.
Idstein is part of the Deutsche Fachwerkstraße (Timber-Frame Road), connecting towns with fine Fachwerk buildings and houses.
The König-Adolf-Platz (on top) is at the center of the city and surrounded by half-timbered houses, most of which date back to around 1600’s. Next to the town hall (1698) on the left is the Schiefes Haus (crooked house), which was built in 1728 by the major of the city militia Nicolay. To the right of the town hall is a mighty Gatehouse, which has been the entrance to the castle district since 1497.
Idstein’s treasure is its old buildings, the half-timbered houses from the 15th to the 18th century, some with rich carvings, aristocratic residences such as the Stockheimer Hof from the 16th century and the former stately group of buildings in the upper Schloßgasse with the Hexenturm (witches’ tower) and castle. The simple but well-kept craftsmen’s houses from the time of the first expansion of the city from around 1700 are also charming.
The Killingerhaus (1615)
The so-called Killingerhaus is one of the most beautiful Idstein half-timbered houses. It was built in 1615 and has one of the richest wood carvings in town.
The Hexenturm, is the oldest building from 1170’s
The picturesque ensemble of buildings from the chancery gate to the Hexenturm (Witches’ Tower) below was built between 1497 and 1588 and served representational, administrative and residential purposes.
The Protestant Union Church (~1340)
A real jewel is the Protestant Union Church that dates back to the 14th century. Stepping inside, it surprised me with a colorful, picture-decorated interior (artists of the Rubenschule). The church was completed in the 18th century after a reconstruction between 1665 and 1677. The interior has exuberant fittings with polished marble stone columns, arcades and altar.
The Hoerhof (1620)
The Hoerhof below is a historic hotel located in the picturesque town center of Idstein. The property dates back to 1620 and was designed by the master of the counts Nassau-Idstein, Henrich Heer
As I was walking down a steep hill and passing the city hall, I retrieved my car in the parking garage. While driving back to my hotel I had to digest the images I just saw. I came to the conclusion, Idstein is a real jewel west of Frankfurt.