The Gerberbach in the open moat
The road under the bridge, Bachstrasse, was once a stream, the Gerberbach, which flowed through the town’s moat. The medieval town wall turned to the east here, spanning the stream and thus linking the fortress on the hill to the ring-shaped town wall.
The stream passage was secured by an iron gate and a tower, which was called “Ampelenturm”. Its name refers to the well-known Hampil family, whose residence was nearby. In c. 1608 the tower was fortified with an imposing bulwark.
As with many other 19th century cities, the obsolete moat in Schaffhausen too was backfilled and a ring road was built on top of the fill for the ever-increasing traffic. The Ampelenturm tower itself was demolished in 1861.
Bild: Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Inv. B5113
The 19th century drawing by Hans Wilhelm Harder shows the impressive bulwark of 1608 (“Schutzgatter-Bollwerk”) with a double opening for the Gerberbach stream and the Ampelenturm tower. The wall to the left runs uphill to the Munot fortress.
Bild: Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Inv. C4616
The view of the city by Johann Jakob Mentzinger (1644) clearly shows the Gerberbach stream flowing beneath the bulwark and above it the Ampelenturm tower (marked in orange). The round tower contained a spiral staircase that led to the watchman’s living quarters at the top.