Steinau an der Strasse is a town of around 10,000 in the Main-Kinzig district, in Hesse, Germany. It is situated on the river Kinzig, 32 km southwest of Fulda. Its name, meaning "on the road", refers to the historic trade route Via Regia from Leipzig to Frankfurt on which it was located. Steinau is best known for the Brothers Grimm who spent part of their childhood here.
Steinau is located at an elevation of around 175 m above NHN in the valley of the Kinzig river which divides the hills of the Spessart (to the south) from the Vogelsberg (to the north). The municipal territory extends into both ranges.
Archaeological evidence indicates that there was a small settlement in this area in the 8th century. The first church was built in the 9th century AD. In the mid-13th century, St. Catherine's Church was big enough to accommodate burials on its grounds. On 4 July 1290, Emperor Rudolf von Habsburg granted a charter permitting Steinau to hold a weekly market. This may have been motivated in part by Steinau's position on the Via Regia connecting Frankfurt and Leipzig. This charter is considered the municipality's founding document.
The Brothers (Jacob and Wilhelm) Grimm, famous for their collections of fairy tales and folklore, lived in Steinau during their childhood. Their grandfather had been a minister in Steinau, and their father, Phillip Grimm, returned to his boyhood home as the court clerk appointed to the city in 1791. The family lived in his official residence until 1796, when Phillip died. Jacob and Wilhelm went to live with their aunt in Hanau to finish their education, and the rest of the family remained in Steinau until 1805 in a house, Die Alte Kellerei, that still stands today at Brückentor. It is one of many half-timbered buildings that can be found throughout the town.