Some parts of the historic city wall, built from around the 9th century, have survived, and these are impressive. For example, the imposing Raschitor in what was once the Jewish quarter, the city gate at Torturmplatz or the section on Lutherring that protected the cathedral. The green belt along Adenauerring and Lutherring marks the course of this former city wall.
At a number of points around the city centre, you can find remains of the medieval city wall. A wall round Worms was built as early as Roman times (about 360 AD), when the threat of attacks from across the Rhine increased. This Roman wall was frequently repaired and served as a fortification until the High Middle Ages.
The positive economic development around 1200 led to an eastward extension of the city to a branch of the Rhine. As the land near the Rhine was marshy, this undertaking proved a great challenge. At first, there was a simple wall round the city with battlements.
As early as the 12th and 13th centuries, small settlements became established outside the city wall, with an outer wall forming a ring around them. When it was completed, the inner city wall had 27 towers and eight gates, and also a wooden walkway. Outside it was a ditch, but with water only in the eastern half of it as the western section had dried up. Because of its terrible smell, this part of the ditch was called “Aasgraben” (literally “carrion ditch”).
As a reaction to more powerful artillery, the outer wall was strengthened in the 16th century by the addition of 11 bastions. The inner city wall survived the Thirty Years’ War (1618 - 1648) largely undamaged. However, in the course of the Palatine War of Succession (also called the Nine Years’ War), French troops occupied the city in 1688. In 1689, they completely destroyed the outer ring of fortifications, blew up a number of towers and began to demolish the wall of the inner ring.
The view from the Rhine gives some idea of the impressive dimensions of the city wall during the Staufer period. Two of originally 11 towers have survived. The places where the original Staufer arches stood can still be identified in the base of the wall’s arches. If you look carefully from Torturmplatz, you can imagine, under the walkway, the battlement structure of the Staufer wall.
The Fischerpforte (Fishermen’s Gateway) is between the Torturm and the Bürgerturm. This small entrance in the wall is so named because fishermen used it to enter the city. It is also called the Lutherpforte (Luther’s Gateway) but has no connection with Martin Luther or his stay in Worms for the Imperial Diet in 1521.
Siegfried’s Grave is on Torturmplatz. This artwork created by Eichfelder from Worms is a representation of a tumulus about thirteen metres long that is said to have been on a site near the former abbey Maria Münster. Because of its size, the grave became associated from the 15th century or even earlier with Siegfried, the dragon slayer in the Song of the Nibelungs.