The Blue Tower in Bad Wimpfen
In 1182 Friedrich Barbarossa is believed to have lodged in Wimpfen. He had decentralised the administration of his empire. The Staufers had built Kaiserpfalzen (local castles) across the empire. These were big castles where local lords stayed and jurisdicted. The Pfalz Wimpfen was built on a rocky hill above the settlement of the Neckar valley. The Pfalz and its surrounding settlement grew so strong that it outstripped the older settlement on the Neckar bank. By around 1200 most of the Staufer buildings had been built, including the Blauer Turm (Blue Tower) which is now generally seen as the principal visual landmark of the town. It served as a watch-tower until the 20th century.