Buchen is situated on the seam between the south-eastern Odenwald and the Bauland area, along the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes. It lies geographically in the triangle formed by the cities of Mannheim, Würzburg and Heilbronn. The precincts of the municipality lie in the Natural Park of the Neckar Valley and the Odenwald and in the Geo-Natural Park of Bergstrasse-Odenwald, at an altitude of between 250 and 500 metres.
The municipality of Buchen (Odenwald) consists of 14 city areas Bödigheim, Buchen-City (Buchen-Stadt), Eberstadt, Einbach, Götzingen, Hainstadt, Hettigenbeuern, Hettingen, Hollerbach, Oberneudorf, Rinschheim, Stürzenhardt, Unterneudorf and Waldhausen. The city areas cover the same areas that were occupied by the former townships with the same names, with the exception of the city area called Buchen-Stadt which is officially designated 'Buchen (Odenwald) - …. The city areas are, at the same time, subdivided into 13 residential districts (Wohnbezirke) in terms of the arrangement of municipalities in Baden-Württemberg, whereby the city areas of Buchen-Stadt and Hollerbach are joined together into one residential district. With the exception of the city area of Buchen-Stadt, all city areas contain towns (Ortschaften) in terms of the Baden-Württemberg arrangement of municipalities, each having its own town council (Ortschaftsrat) and provost.
To the city area of Bödigheim belong the village of Bödigheim, the farms of Faustenhof, Griechelternhöfe, Rosshof and Sechelseehöfe and the Sägmühle House. To the city area of Buchen-Stadt belongs the town of Buchen (Odenwald). To the city areas of Eberstadt, Götzingen, Hettigenbeuern, Hettingen, Hollerbach, Oberneudorf und Stürzenhardt belong all the villages of the same names. To the city area of Einbach belongs the village of Einbach and the farmstead of Einbacher Mühle. To the city area of Hainstadt belong the village of Hainstadt and the land covered by the Hainstadt train station. To the city area Unterneudorf belong the village of Unterneudorf and the house Unterneudorfer Mühle. To the city area of Waldhausen belong the village of Waldhausen the farmstead Gehöft Glashof.
In the city area of Eberstadt lie the deserted medieval towns of Klarenhof and Reinstadt and in the city area of Götzingen the deserted towns of Rönningen and Buklingen.
In Roman times, a wall known as the Limes Germanicus was built in the area as a fortification. Many stretches of this wall are still visible today.
Buchen was first mentioned in the Lorscher Codex, the deeds of the Lorsch Monastery, where it appears as Buchheim, and makes a number of donations to the monastery in the year 773. The location was already populated in prehistoric and in Roman times and in Carolingian times it was under the influence of the Amorbach Monastery, the Reeves (Vogt) of which, the Lords of Dürn, held the rights of jurisdiction over Buchen. In the second half of the 13th Century Buchen was given the right to call itself a city. On the fall of the Lords of Dürn, Buchen was sold in 1303/1309 to the Archbishop of Mainz and remained his territory for 500 years. In 1346 Buchen formed the Federation of Nine Towns ( Neunstädtebund) along with Amorbach, Aschaffenburg, Dieburg, Külsheim, Miltenberg, Seligenstadt, Tauberbischofsheim and Walldürn.
In 1382 the Elector Ruprecht I. failed in an attempt, to break the town during a battle with the Mainz Electorate. The already formidable medieval town fortifications were again strengthened in about 1490 and now even enclosed the western suburbs. During the course of the town’s expansion in 1492 the so-called Wartturm on the Wartberg was built higher, and in the same year the so-called Steinerne Bau or ‘Stony Building’ took its place as the seat of the Official belonging to the Electorate of Mainz. The town had early importance as a market town. Alongside the four great Yearly Markets (Shrove Tuesday Market (Fastnachtsmarkt), the May Market, the Jakobi Market und Martin Market) were especially the Yarn, Cloth and Horse Markets as well as the ‘Weekly Market, held every Monday.
During the Peasants' Revolt in 1525 Götz von Berlichingen was forced to become the leader of the Peasant mob in the courtyard of the Steineres Haus ‘the Stony House’ (nowadays the Museumshof). After the defeat of the Peasants the Nine City Federation of the provincial administration was in fact dissolved, and Buchen lost its right to self-government.
In the Thirty Years War the place was now conquered by the Swedes. These had to yield, however, about 1634 royal troops. On this occasion a great fire broke out in the town, in which 153 houses were sacrificed. The church, the Parsonage, the Upper Mill, the Hausener Court and probably the castle was also destroyed here. Further sacrifices had to be suffered with the arrival of famines and epidemics. Out of 215 citizens and 16 Jews only 29 citizens, 5 widows und 26 houses survived. The fields were poisoned.
In 1688 French troops beset the town As a result of a lightning strike in 1717 a new catastrophic fire occurred in the centre of town, to which about half of the buildings fell victim, among which were the old Town Hall and the church.
In 1803 after the dissolution of the electorate of Mainz and as a result of decisions made by national deputies, Buchen was assigned to the Principality of Leiningen, which had been resettled on the orders of Napoleon, 1806 it was then switched to the Grandduchy of Baden. 1815 three of the city towers were torn down, only the western gate was retained (the Mainzer Tor). The Baden Revolution of 1848/49 also found support in Buchen, and some of its citizens burned the records of the Leiningen rent offices. Despite the failure of the revolution, the citizens retained some of the rights they had fought for.
Buchen was already the seat of a district office (Amt) in the Prince Elector Era of Mainz. This position as centre of administrative power kept the city under the rule by Leining and Baden. In 1938 the Bezirk administration of Buchen became the Landkreis of Buchen.
On Kristallnacht 1938 the synagogues in Buchen and Bödigheim were desecrated. In the following deportations of the 34 inhabitants of Jewish belief who had been living in Buchen in 1933 at least 13 were killed. The former common cemetery in Bödigheim still bears testament to earlier Jewish community life in the close-knit, surrounding area, which was staunchly Catholic.
During the course of the district reforms in 1973, the Buchen district was dissolved and the city was made a member of the Neckar-Odenwald-District.
Thirteen new localities were incorporated into Buchen as a result of the municipality reforms up to 1975: Stürzenhardt in 1971; Unterneudorf in 1972; Oberneudorf, Bödigheim, Waldhausen and Einbach in 1973; Götzingen, Hainstadt, Hettigenbeuern, Hettingen and Rinschheim in 1974; and, finally, Eberstadt and Hollerbach in 1975. In 1986 the 'Home Days' for Baden-Württemberg took place for the first time.
The local elections of the 13th of June 2004 produced the following results:
Since February 2006 Roland Burger has been the mayor of the city of Buchen. He had previously been the mayor of the city of Osterburken (since February 1991). The former mayor of Buchen became a county commissioner (Landrat) for the NOK in Mosbach.
The blazoning of the coat of arms says: 'In silver on a green hill with three peaks, on the outer knoll of which is a green branch leaning outwards, a green beech, the trunk of which has a stapled red shield leaning on it, on which there is a silver wheel with six spokes; Wheel of Mainz.
Since Buchen is midway between the rivers Neckar and Main an economic structure developed based on production, trade, handicrafts, and service providers and people settled in the industrial areas.
The District Hospital in Buchen serves the whole area, and there are also a number of old people’s homes. Buchen had one of the first housing facilities in the whole country based on the model of assisted living.
Buchen can be reached by the Bundesautobahn 81, Exit Adelsheim/Osterburken, the main road (from the south) or from the Exit Tauberbischofsheim, Bundesstrasse 27 (from the north); as well as from the A 6, Exit Sinsheim, B 292 and B 27 (from the south-west).
The Buchen (Odenwald) Railway Station lies on the stretch of rail going from Seckach to Miltenberg (KBS 709, also called the Madonnenlandbahn), which has a further stop in East Buchen (Buchen Ost). Railway services are run by the Westfrankenbahn. The ÖPNV (Open Personal Suburban Transport) provides buses in the Rhine-Neckar transport area.
Stuttgart Airport and Frankfurt (am Main) Airport are both about 100 km away. The aerodrome is the Walldürn Airfield. The nearest inland port is Wertheim am Main.
Buchen is the seat of a local court (Amtsgericht), which belongs to the court circuit of Mosbach. Furthermore, in Buchen-Hainstadt is the headquarters of the regional office of the Archbishopric of Freiburg for the region of Odenwald-Tauber, to which belong the Deanery of Mosbach-Buchen and the home of the Bishop of Tauber.
Buchen has a wide variety of schools, as a result of which many students commute daily to the former county town. There is a technical vocational school, with a high school for those who want to specialize in engineering or information technology; a high school for general education; a technical school for social education; a home economics school; as well as several secondary modern schools, junior schools, primary schools and special schools.Fränkische Nachrichten (Franconian News), issued in Buchen/Walldürn, edited in Buchen
Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (Rhine-Neckar Newspaper), issued as Nordbadische Nachrichten, edited in Buchen
South-West Broadcasting, office Buchen
Buchen has a correspondent's office of South-West Broadcasting (Südwestrundfunk) and since 1951 there has been a transmitter for the company (the Buchen-Walldürn transmitter) in the north-west of the city, in Walldürne Strasse. Until 1993, the first station of South-West Broadcasting was being broadcast over this transmitter on the middle-wave frequency 1485 kHz, although the support for the antenna was a 60 metre high unharnessed, steel framed mast, that served as a self-beaming mast fed from the nadir and insulated against earthing. 1993 the medium wave service was tweaked and the ultra short wave antenna on its tip was expanded. As a result, it was not only increased in height but also made to cover a greater area. Since there were no more plans to receive the medium wave transmissions, the guy-wires of the uppermost level were not provided with isolators.
Buchen lies on the Siegfried Way (Siefriedstrasse), a tourist road, which takes people to many worthwhile sights.Productions of the Baden County Stage
The concert series known as ‘Buchen in concert’
The Regional Museum of Buchen (with the Joseph Martin Kraus Memorial Place)
The Culture Forum Vis-à-Vis (presenting, among other things, exhibitions of the Neckar-Odenwald Art Society).
The City Library
The Adult Education Centre
The City Joseph Martin-Kraus Music School
The City Home Library ‘Between the Neckar and the Main“
The Library of Judaism
The Hermann Cohen Academy for Religion, Science and Art
The International Joseph Martin Kraus Society
The memorial marking the former Synagogue
The City Archives
The commemorative plaque for the victims of fascism in the old Jewish cemetery, with the names of eight Jewish victims of the Holocaust from Kleineichholzheim
A memorial plaque at number 35 Vorstadtstrasse, commemorating the Synagogue destroyed during the National-Socialist Era
Faschenachtsmuseum – a small display of carnival characters and memorabilia in the Guildhall of the Fasenachtsgesellschaft Narrhalla, open by appointment
The Stalactite Cave (Tropfsteinhöhle) in Eberstadt is approximately 600 metres long and between one and two million years old. Since 1973 tourists have been shown round it. (It forms part of the Geo-Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald). It contains a rich range of stalactites, including very slender examples and extremely conical stalagmites, flags of calc-sinter, terraces of calc-sinter and crystals. Since the cave remained sealed after its discovery and tours took place from the very beginning using electric light, the stalactites are still predominantly as white as chalk, as opposed to most of the older German caves that are shown to the public, where the use of candles and flaming torches caused the stalactites to go blackish.The Roman Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, the greatest ground monument in Europe runs round the edge of the city area Walldürn through Buchen, in the direction of Osterburken. Until around the year 260 the Romans used the Limes as a protective wall keeping them safe from the Alamanni and from other Germanic tribes. They built it all the way from Rheinbrohl a distance of 500 km up to the Danube
One of the original buildings by the architect Egon Eiermann, the annex to the Hotel Prinz Carl built in 1967, in which the rooms and features created by him are still in use (since then it has been ascribed as belonging to the classical modern style)
Where the present-day town of Bödigheim now stands the knight Wiprecht Rüdt built a castle in the year 1286; at the end of the 16th Century it was upgraded into a Renaissance palace. Between 1712 and 1720 the new Castle (Schloss) of Rüdt von Collenberg was built by Johann Jakob Rischer in Bödigheim
The ruins of a Jewish Mikveh in Bödigheim
The Old Town Hall (Hallen-Rathaus) in the centre of the old town
The Wartberg-Tower (on the hill called the Wartberg)
Fastnacht (Shrove Tuesday Night): the Buchen 'Faschenacht' is a region-wide attraction, which has brought thousands of visitors to the area every year for as long as anyone can remember. During the annual 'Fasching' pageant it is compulsory at least to kiss the behind of the symbolic figure, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages, the Buchen Blecker
Goldener Mai (Golden May)- Jazz-Sessions in the whole of the municipal region. On the first Saturday in May
The Pre-Summer Festival – Brass bands in the courtyard of the museum (Museumshof) on a weekend in the middle of June – including the Cellerbar ('Zeitmaschine': Time-machine) on the Saturday. Organized by the City Band and the Catholic Church Choir
The Shooting Market (Schützenmarkt), a traditional festival in the first week of September every year. (A market for shopping and amusement)
The Buchen Cult-Night
Ow-art (Art from the Odenwald), the Odenwald art fair, brought to life by the artist Patris Semma. This takes place in the Frankenlandhalle
13th Century, Albrecht Pilgrim von Buchheim, Minnesinger (mentioned in the Codex Manesse)
1460, Konrad Wimpina, died 17 May 1531 in Amorbach, Roman Catholic Theologian
1672, Gottfried Bessel, died 1749 in Göttweig, abbot and scholar
1765, Marianne Kraus, painter and lady-in-waiting, sister of Joseph Martin Kraus
1830, 20 May, Wilhelm Emelé, died 11 October 1905 in Freiburg in the Breisgau, German battle painter
Edmund Lang (1847–1914), Oberamtmann, official
1866, 24 March, Franz Josef Wittemann, died 10 September 1931 in Karlsruhe, German politician (centre), member of the Landtag (Baden), State President of Baden
Jacob Mayer (1866-1939), dialect poet
Pia Bauer (1871–1954), nestor of oncological care in Germany
1892, 30 June, Wilhelm Schnarrenberger, died 12 April 1966 in Karlsruhe, painter
1897, 10 July, Ludwig Schwerin, died 2 July 1983 in Ramat Gan, painter
1950, 21 September Wunibald Müller, German writer and pastoral psychologist
1952, 5 June, Heinz Fischer-Heidlberger, President of the Bavarian Chief Audit Office
1965, 17 September, Ulrike Ballweg, Co-trainer of the German Women's National Football Team
Joseph Martin Kraus, (1756–1792), composer
Juliana von Stockhausen (1899–1998), writer