Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Historical Play “The Master Draught” in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Bavaria), every year during the days of Pentecost, a central event of the town’s history is commemorated that took place during the Thirty Years’ War in 1631. Highlight is the performance of the historical play "The Master Draught" by more than 100 amateur actors, which is performed twelve times a year.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: Pentecost weekend
Inscription: 2016
Domains: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events
Where to find: Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Bavaria)


Historisches Festspiel
„Der Meistertrunk“ e.V.

Alexander Zierer

The historical play “The Master Draught” was written in 1881 and is reminiscent of the 1631 events. At that time Rothenburg was besieged by the field commander "Tilly". He condemned mayor and city councilors to death and wanted to plunder and burn the city.

Nevertheless, he was offered a welcome drink from a fine cup, which was normally reserved for kings and emperors. The wine propitiated him, and he promised to spare the city, if someone had the courage and strength to empty the entire cup, which held over three liters, in one gulp. The old mayor mastered this "master draught" and thus saved the city.

The voluntarily run association “Historisches Festspiel ‘Der Meistertrunk e.V.’” organizes and preserves all these traditions. Part of its work is the maintenance and care of costumes as well as running a museum about the life and environment of the town of Rothenburg around 1631.

In addition, historical music and song material is sustained by encouraging young people and newcomers to learn historical instruments and songs.


Bundesweites Verzeichnis Immaterielles Kulturerbe - Jubiläumsausgabe.
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2023