Rothenburg ob der Tauber (rōˈtənbōrkh ôp dĕr touˈbər) [key], town (1994 pop. 12,001), Bavaria, S Germany, on the Tauber River. One of the best-preserved and most picturesque medieval towns in Germany, it is primarily a tourist center. It also has manufactures of electronics, textiles, steel, and motor vehicles. The town is entirely walled (the walls dating from the 14th and 15th cent.), and it contains numerous Gothic and Renaissance-style buildings. The town hall (13th–16th cent.) is considered one of the most beautiful in SW Germany. Noteworthy churches include St. Jakobskirche (1373–1436) and St. Johanniskirche (1393–1403). First mentioned in the 10th cent., Rothenburg was a free imperial city from the late 13th cent. until 1803, when it passed to Bavaria.