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Founded in 1838, it emerged from a settlement, built around a monastery, which belonged to the Neckar Community in the Kingdom of Württemberg. In 1886, Maulbronn officially became a German town and was an administrative centre until 1938. The return of many displaced persons following the Second World War significantly raised the local population.
Legend has it that the settlement was founded by monks who followed a mule to a valley with a source of clean water. The valley was also blessed with large deposits of soft sandstone for building. The monks built the original abbey and erected a fountain to honour the mule. The town name means mule fountain.
According to legend, the monks of Maulbronn also invented the pasta dish Maultasche.