Costumed ′merchants′ journey through southern Germany | News | DW | 02.06.2019
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Costumed 'merchants' journey through southern Germany

Altogether 170 costumed participants are traveling a historical route often used by German merchants in past centuries. Dozens of horses are also involved in the two-week reenactment.

A crowd of costumed participants has begun a reenactment of one of the typical journeys undertaken by German merchants since the Middle Ages, setting off from the southern Bavarian city of Augsburg on Saturday.

Over the next two weeks, they will wend their way northward to the town of Seligenstadt, where merchants used to make their last stop before reaching their final destination of Frankfurt in the state of Hesse, then as now a commercial hub.

Costumed people in front of a covered cart

Costumed people in front of a covered cart and decorated horses

The 170 men and women are traveling with 43 horses and 18 carts. The "merchants" and their retinue will mainly use cycle paths and paths through fields and woods to avoid modern-day motorized traffic, but will still try to keep to the historical route as far as possible, organizers told the daily Augsburger Allgemeine.

The 14-stage journey is scheduled to end at the marketplace in Seligenstadt on June 15.

Danger on the road

The current event reenacts a journey such as would have taken place in the 18th century, with merchants from Bavaria seeking to sell their wares at the large trade fairs in Frankfurt. The merchant groups at the time were accompanied by imperial troops paid to protect the traders from being attacked and robbed by highwaymen.

Such reenactments, organized by a working group in Seligenstadt, have been taking place every four years since 2003, with the "merchants" traveling either from Augsburg or Nuremberg.

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