The town of Nördlingen is settled on a crater made 15 million years ago
The town of Nördlingen is settled on a crater made 15 million years agoWikimedia Commons: Wolkenkratzer

The German Town Which Inspired Japanese Anime 'Attack On Titan'

Nördlingen is a small medieval town in Germany that inspired a fictional town in the 'Attack on Titan' manga and anime series. Its history is even more intriguing

If "beyond the walls" is a familiar phrase to you and "Shinzo wo Sasageyo" is your go-to anthem, then a small town in Bavaria, Germany, might be of interest.

Nördlingen is in fact the inspiration behind Shiganshina district in the famous manga and anime series, Attack on Titan. It's a small medieval town surrounded by well-preserved walls (although surely not made of Titans) with beautiful towers and covered paths. Since Attack on Titan references a lot of World War II in its narrative, it shouldn't be so surprising that this German town inspired mangaka Hajime Isayama. It even withstood bombings during the war.

Here are some of the town's features that will strike a chord with fans of Attack on Titan.

The Wall

A house on the city wall
A house on the city wallFlickr: sanseira

Like Shiganshina, Nördlingen is also famous for its old fortification that protected the town. It is one of only three places in Germany that still has intact city walls. They were erected as a measure against the Thirty Years' War between Protestants and Catholics. 

Rooftops Full Of Diamonds

The rooftops of Nördlingen
The rooftops of NördlingenFlickr: Sarah Kehrle

The red roofs are one of the most striking features of Shiganshina district in Attack on Titan, and that's also the case with Nördlingen. A uniform feature of every building in the town, these roofs are made of over 72,000 tons of tiny diamonds less than 0.2 mm across. Given their microscopic size, they don't have a market value.

The tiny diamonds resulted from the suevite rock used to construct these roofs. The rock came from an asteroid that fell on the location of Nördlingen 15 million years ago. This asteroid is estimated to have spanned approximately one kilometre in width and the resulting impact crater has since been extensively researched. Even astronauts selected for the Apollo missions visited Nördlingen prior to take off to understand the type of rocks they would encounter on the Moon.

Nördlingen Ries

Aerial view of Nördlingen
Aerial view of NördlingenWikimedia Commons: Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung

The Nördlingen Ries is the impact crater and is also known as the Ries Crater. The size of the cavity conforms to the size of the town, which means Nördlingen is settled on the crater itself. The Saint George's Church spire, called Daniel, is also constructed from suevite, and the view from there offers an unmistakable sight of the crater's 'ring' in remarkable clarity. Facing right from the top of the tower, one marvels at the beautiful circular view.

Getting There

The closest airport (71km) to Nördlingen, Germany, is Augsburg Airport (AGB). Another nearby option is Stuttgart Airport (STR), about 120km away.

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