A part of the farmland of the village of Hausen (near Forchheim in Upper Franconia) with a size of approximately 85 acres1) is called the “Pilatus” (alternatively, “Pilotes”). The Pilatusweg (“Pilate's Path”) meanders through the center of the area, which now largely consists of fields with a small forest. There is an old pine tree on the boundary of this forest, which is called the Pilatusbaum (“Pilate's Tree”) or Galgenföhre (“Gallow Pine”). Furthermore, the red trousers of Pilate were on display in Forchheim.

According to local legend, Pontius Pilate was born in Hausen. Some claim that the site of his birth was at the house with the number 48, others at the house with the number 73 (which was built on the location of the old town hall). As the story goes, Pilate had a multitude of talents even as a boy and was sent to Nuremberg for his apprenticeship. From this city he was sent to Jerusalem as a representative and accumulated great wealth. He then used that wealth to build a city near his home village of Hausen, which he named after himself. But in the moment he proclaimed his unjust judgement over the Savior, his city sank into the ground. And one day, when Hausen has grown enough that a cockerel from the village can wander into the Pilatus field, a cockerel will scratch the tip of the city's tower free and the city of Pilate will rise again.

A baker's boy from Forchheim, who sold bread to the surrounding villages, met a little man at the Pilatus field and sold him bread for a nice sum of money. The little man led the boy beneath the earth to a beautiful city with a gleaming palace. This happened more than once, but when the boy's father accompanied him out of curiosity the entrance to the subterranean city had vanished.

Source: Panzer, F. Bayerische Sagen und Bräuche. Beitrag zur deutschen Mythologie. Zweiter Band, 1848. p. 23f.

Notes & commentary: That Sinking Feeling - More Sunken Cities

The land size was described in the original text as 100 “Tagwerk” - a land unit which could be translated as “A day's work (of farmland)”. In Bavaria, this was defined as 3407.27 square meters.