Rüthen: City wall tour

Rüthen Tourismus / Outdooractive Touren / Rüthen: City wall tour
On this circular tour you will discover Rüthen's historic town wall, the craftsmen's village and the ropemakers' workshop as well as the Jewish cemetery in the former fortification ditch at the Hachtor.

Abendstimmung an der Stadtmauer in Rüthen

Blick von der Stadtmauer auf den Naturpark Arnsberger Wald

Hachtor Rüthen

Handwerkerdorf am Hexenturm

Jüdischer Friedhof unterhalb der Stadtmauer

Rüthen Luftbildaufnahme mit Stadtmauer

Schubstuhl an der Stadtmauer

Stadtmauer Rüthen

Tour starting point:

Hachtorstrasse 1

Tour destination point:

Hachtorstrasse 1


  • Round trip
  • cultural / historical




3.3 km


0:50 Std.

Elevation ascent

22 m

Elevation descent

22 m

Altitude (Minimum)

357 m

Altitude (Maximum)

379 m





Rüthen's historic city wall

The fortification of the 14th century connected by a city wall four city gates and eleven towers. The entire city wall was about 3000 meters long. The fortification was used to protect the inhabitants e.g. in the Soest feud, in the Thirty Years' War or in battles that the sovereigns fought against each other and to ward off robber barons. The walls were between 1.20 meters and 1.80 meters wide and around 3.00 meters to 3.50 meters high. The thickness of the wall tapered towards the top, where the battlements were protected by a wall crest, interrupted by observation and shooting gaps. In places where the town, with its location on a hillside, was not protected by steep slopes, but merged with the open land, there were additional double ditch sections.

The Hachtor and the semicircular Hexenturm as well as extensive remains of the town wall have been preserved from the town fortification. Today, the former city wall is a circular route around the historic city center that invites you to visit it once. You will always find new insights and views of the history of Rüthen and the Ansberg Forest Nature Park with its many idyllic places.

Craftsmen's village and ropery

In the historic craftsmen's village you will be presented with the history of old, typical local trades (stonemason, blacksmith). The neighboring building of a former rope factory (1914) documents the importance of an indispensable trade in former times.

As a building material, the green sandstone quarried near Rüthen had a decisive influence on the local history of architecture and art. The stone with its characteristic greenish coloring has also made a name for itself beyond the Soest region. In order to do justice to the importance of quarrying and processing in the region, the Förderverein Heimatpflege und traditionelles Brauchtum Rüthen e.V. opened a historical craftsmen's village in November last year. In 14 months, with the support of the NRW Foundation, a project was created that provides an overview of the history of regional crafts. For example, the permanent exhibition provides information on geological structures, mining regulations, the development of mining techniques and forms of processing stone throughout history.

The Hexenturm is the only completely preserved fortified tower of the town fortifications. In the 17th century, alleged sorcerers and witches were imprisoned in the building. Today, the tower houses a small documentation with exhibits about the time of these witch trials. The bronze relief on the outside commemorates all the persecuted people, but also points out people who stood up against such injustice. It shows, among others, the clergymen Friedrich Spee and Michael Stapirius (Rüthen), who as contemporaries courageously raised their voices against the persecutions of witches at that time. The Hexenturm can be visited as part of a guided tour of the town.

The Jewish cemetery in the former fortification ditch at Hachtor

The Jewish burial ground in Rüthen is as such the oldest, originally preserved cemetery in Westfalen. In 1625 the town of Rüthen gave the local Jews the fortification ditch at the edge of the northern town wall, east of the Hachtor, as a permanent burial ground for their deceased, after Jewish burial grounds had already been established there in earlier times (probably since the late Middle Ages). Evidence of older Jewish life in Rüthen can be found in written sources from the years 1447 and 1279. A continuous Jewish settlement in the town of Rüthen took place from 1587. The Jewish community was destroyed by the Nazis in 1942.

The right of burial in the local "Judenhagen" - the oldest name of the Jewish cemetery at the Hachtor - granted by the council of the town of Rüthen in 1625 was additionally valid from the year 1700 for the Jews who since then have also been documented in the town village of Altenrüthen. The last grave was laid out in 1958, since then this cemetery is to be regarded as orphaned or closed according to Jewish rites.

The extremely rare original topography of a Jewish cemetery surviving from the urban Middle Ages, which is still visible here, makes this burial ground a Westphalian cultural monument of supra-regional importance.

In 2009, the city of Rüthen was the first municipality in North Rhine-Westphalia to collaborate with the Steinheim Institute for German-Jewish History in Duisburg in the scientific cataloging and indexing of the 80 gravestones remaining from more than 200 gravesites on a total area of 1821 square meters with the aim of digitally editing them. The institute employee Nathanja Hüttenmeister M.A. translated and interpreted the inscriptions with their ornamental symbolism and explained the sepulchral cultural development of the burial place. The biographical and genealogical research results, which she also compiled in the process, can be supplemented, expanded, and possibly corrected in the future without any problems due to the transparency and flexibility of the selected digital edition technique. The Rüthen municipal archives (stadtarchiv@ruethen.de) will be happy to receive any comments and information in this regard.



You start from Hachtorstraße 1 along the city wall in the direction of the Poetry Trail. The tour takes you past the Hexenturm, the Craftsmen's Village, the Water Tower and the Jewish Cemetery before returning to your starting point at Hachtorstraße 1.

Wir binden die Videos der Plattform “YouTube” des Anbieters Google LLC, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA, ein. Datenschutzerklärung: https://www.google.com/policies/privacy/, Opt-Out: https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated.