Not far from the castle, a round settlement which received its town charter in 1289 developed at a horseshoe bend in the Ems river. This structure is still visible today in the historical old town. Splendid half-timbered houses characterise the “town of beautiful gables”, which, like the Franciscan monastery on the monastery island, dates from the 17th century. A good starting point for a historical walk around the town is the Catholic Parish Church of St. Johannes Baptista, the Hofbeamtenhaus (Court Official’s House) and the Town Hall dating from 1806. The old court, the ‘Gräfliche Conductionshaus’ (Count’s Conductionshaus), the Heimathaus (local history house) as well as the monastery and the residence of the court painter Ludwig Bartscher are also among Rietberg’s treasures of architectural history.
To the south of the town centre, one finds the Johannesweg, an old procession route which follows the historical path of the road from Rietberg to Paderborn and which boasts an impressive avenue of chestnut, linden and sycamore trees. A Baroque Nepomuk statue was donated by the count’s family and erected at the end of the path as early as 1723. Since then, a traditional procession has taken place here every year on the first Sunday after Pentecost.