Historical Ballenhaus

86956 Schongau, Marienplatz (710 m über NN)

The Ballenhaus is the only free-standing building on Marienplatz. In the Middle Ages it served as a warehouse and transhipment house. Here the carters had to store their goods packed in bales and declare them. The naming of the building still bears witness to this today. The first floor of the Ballenhaus is also the city‘s old council chamber.

Audio commentary on Station 2, Ballenhaus

Excerpt from the audio commentary by Oliver Pötzsch

The Ballenhaus, in front of which you are now standing, is certainly the most important building in the city, at least it was at the time of executioner Kuisl. Since the 15th century it has served as a storage facility for goods of all kinds, including goods to be transported wrapped in cloth bales, hence the name. Foreign traders who passed through Schongau at the time had to store their goods here and pay a lot for it. During this time, Schongau was one of the most important camps in the foothills of the Alps, and the town was correspondingly rich. That changed when the seafarer Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope to India around 1500. The trade routes changed. As a result, Schongau suffered a gradual decline, which you can feel in my novels.

In general, the Ballenhaus appears again and again in the hangman‘s daughter saga, mainly because the council chamber is on the first floor. It can be visited during special guided tours, and it is also possible to get married there. Incidentally, the magnificently carved late-Gothic ceiling, the wall and the door are from that time.

The patrician Jakob Schreevogl has just climbed the well-trodden stairs into the hall. And there is also Magdalena! The two have been friends since the first part of the series. Today Magdalena is supposed to speak in the council because a mandrake was found on her sister Barbara. The root of the Mandragora plant, which is often shaped like a little man, is believed to be a magic potion and a medicine for abortions. Anyone who possesses them can quickly end up being burned at the stake as a witch. Magdalena is certain that the mandrake was foisted on her sister. But can she prove it? In the volume "The Executioner‘s Daughter and the Game of Death" you will learn how this meeting ends.

The Ballenhaus also played a role in executions. Those sentenced to death spent their last night in the so-called “Kleines Stübl”. On the procession‘s way to the place of execution, which led through the Kuehtor, stops were made at the four corners of the Ballenhaus, the executioner pinched convicted child murderers at each corner with red-hot tongs. I used this gruesome procedure in my first novel...

Oh, the door to the council chamber just got shut. The session begins! Let‘s keep our fingers crossed for Magdalena that she can convince the powerful councilors of Barbara‘s innocence.


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