There is a surreal beauty surrounding the charming medieval town of Nordlingen, Germany. Its human population dates back 1,200 years, but before that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who or what lived there. It seems this quaint little town has the distinction of being nestled into a unique valley that dips some 100 to 150 meters into the earth.

This odd little town is built on top of a giant meteorite.

The approximately 24,000 residents of this quaint Bavarian enclave encircled by medieval walls and towers have fully accepted their mysterious past.

Fragments from the enormous meteor that crashed into the countryside were melded into many of the local edifices. Blocks of suevite, which are rocks that the impact melted, form the foundation of the bell tower of the city’s huge, Gothic St. George’s Church. Known affectionately as Daniel, from its turrets the panorama of the surrounding countryside is breathtaking to behold.

What is Reis Crater?

The tiny town sits atop this crater, which is 26 kilometers (16 miles) in diameter, and has an inner, irregular rim that is about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) wide.

Until the 1960s it was believed that the crater was the result of volcano activity, but geologists determined that the shocked quartz grains, which were used as building materials, were formed instead by meteorite impact.

Nordlingen is a town with its own colorful past.

Nordlingen is one of the only three remaining walled medieval towns in Germany, but its origins in the middle of a crater formed by a meteor makes it by far the most interesting of the other two.

Recorded history dates it back to the year, 898 and this town was the site of two battles during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This town's rich history has been well preserved for all visitors to see in the half dozen fascinating and diverse museums that dot the streets. Come and visit, when you can.

In all probability, it is the only town of its kind that you will ever see, and you, dear traveler, will be the only one on your block to stand on a spot that was built on top of a meteor crash site.

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