The Rhine Gorge

The Rhine Gorge, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites due to its unique historical, cultural, geographical, and industrial combination.  This 65 kilometers of the waterway between Koblenz and Bingen had been a very important trading route for a long time before the railroads.  Because it was a major trading route and the center of Holy Roman Empire small towns and castles built along its banks.  Due to wars, the castles fell into ruins, however, the small towns pretty much stayed the same.

The Rhine Gorge waterway
Stolzenfels Castle
The Marksburg Castle
Electorial Castle (or Alte Burg, meaning Old Castle) is a 13th-century relic
The 13th century Saint Severus’s Church in Boppard
Feindliche Bruder (Enemy Brothers) Sterrenberg and Liebenstein
Burg Maus
Burg Katz above St. Goarshausen
Lorelei Rock (lore means murmuring in Rhine dialect and ley means rock in Roman.) is a slate rock protruding around the bend on Rhine River.  This type of rock is typical of Rhine Gorge which contains sediments and fossils.

Because the area water currents and the sound of a small waterfall in this area at the time caused an echoing effect, people named it the murmuring rock.  Plus the position of Lorelei protruding around the bank caused many boating accidents.  Stories were spin around these odd phenomena, such as elves living in the rock.   In 1801, Clemens Brentano composed a ballad about a beautiful maiden betrayed by her love, was accused of bewitching men and causing their death.  On her way to the nunnery to serve her sentence, from the top of Lorelei Rock she thought she saw her lover and plunge to death.  The story inspired many poems, songs, folklore, and even in the works of symphonies.

Near Lorelei sits this statue of the pretty maiden combing her hair and singing song to distract the sailors to crash into the Lorelei rock. Taking her revenge on sailorman.
Oberwesel, Martinsberg (Saint Martin’s Parish Church)
Town of Oberwesel. The Schonburg on top of the hill. Underneath is the Liebfrauenstraße (Church of Our Lady) and in the middle with black rooftop doom is, Wernerstraße: “Saint” Werner’s Chapel
Burg Gutenfels (Gutenfels Castle) of 1220 in the town of Kaub. Used to be a toll castle. along with Pfalzgrafenstein Castle
Pfalzgrafenstein Castle on an island behind up on the hill is Burg Gutenfels
Burg Stahleck) (Stahleck Castle)

The towns along the Gore stayed the same due to its livelihood which did not change much from ancient times.  Its special gorge climate and geographic condition especially the slopes facing south are a very good condition for a kind of terraced vineyards.  The wines from these vineyards are very special.

Other scenes of the Rhine Gorge.  Artists are attracted to this region and often drew inspiration from here for their creations.

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Koblenz, Germany

Koblenz came from the Latin words which mean the convergence of two rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle.   Because of its strategic position on a major waterway, it was in a prime location to collect tolls and levy taxes on goods that were on the merchant ships passing by.  For this reason only, Koblenz had different occupants throughout its history.  With this, of course, came the largest fortress built between 1817 and 1828 and it is the best-preserved fortress in Europe on the Unesco World Heritage List of 2002. Ehrenbreitstein Fortress located on the hilltop east of the Rhine across from Koblenz.  It overlooks the old town of Koblenz and at the same time monitor the waterways of Rhine and Moselle.

The Fortress Ehrenbreitstein on the hilltop. and The Dikasterialgebaude at the foot of the hill, built in the mid 18th century in baroque castle style. Now it is used for offices.

The grounds of the fortress now houses several museums, exhibition halls, pubs, and a youth hostel.

View from the fort Ehrenbreitstein and the cable car ride.

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The German Corner (Deutsche Eck) at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle

This Statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I is a reconstruction of the old one which was destroyed during World War II.  This is his memorial in honor of his Unification of Germany after three years of war. The original one was erected in 1897 and this replacement was erected in 1993.  This has been a part of UNESCO world heritage “Upper Middle Rhine Valley” site since 2002

The Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) built-in the 5th century on the highest point in the town of Koblenz on a Roman foundation.  Since that time it had been rebuilt and expanded on its original foundation.  For a time from late middle age to the French Revolution, it served as the church of Koblenz.

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A walk around in the old town.

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Some other interesting tidbits about Koblenz.

Schangel a symbol of Koblenz. on a manhole cover. It is a child born in the period when Koblenz was in allegiance with France or the German-France child. Designed in 1940 dedicated to the poet, Josef Cornelius who wrote the lyrics to the anthem of Koblenz
The Schangelbrunn fountain stands in Willi-HorterPlatz. It will pit out water at odd intervals to spray at the passer-bys.
Old Kauf und Danzhaus stands in St. Florin’s Market. It housed the Middle Rhine Museum until 2012. The head below the clock will roll its eyes to the beat of the pendulum and sticks out its tongue every 1/2 hour. It is a reminder of robber baron Lutter von Kobern”s execution in 1536
The New Koblenzer beer brewery. Koblenzer was first brewed in 1689 in the Historic center of Koblenz. But it has become a part of a brewery conglomerate.

 

Heidelberg, Germany

Heildelberg Castle Ruins is the landmark of Heidelberg.  It is one of the most important Renaissance structure north of the Alps.  It was built as a castle in the twelve hundreds.  After several natural and man-made destructions, the rebuilding and expansion resulted in a three castle structure and through several changes of ownership it fell in ruins.  Its position on the hillside is one of the reasons why it’s beauty charmed the romantics of the time.

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The view from Heidelberg Castle terrace of the Old Town, the Old Bridge(Karl Theodor Bridge), and the Church of Holy Spirit.
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Heidelberg Castle Ruins from Old Stone Bridge

Some scenes from the castle ruins.

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Heidelberg Castle Ruin did not become a tourist attraction until the 19th century when the town is connected to the railroad system.  The American writer, Mark Twain got his inspiration for Huckleberry Finn here as well as “A Tramp Abroad”.The banks of Neckar River that inspired Mark Twain for his Huckleberry Finn

The banks of Neckar river

Heidelberg is a university town.  Heidelberg University founded in the 14th century, the oldest institution of higher education in Germany.  Students, from the university, make up a quarter of its population.  They bring in the vibrant vitality. innovation spirit, and idealistic vision which is unique to this town.  Heidelberg’s attraction is this unique blend of the old and the new.  Photos below show a variety of the old and the new.

 

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Food anyone?

 

Wurzburg, Germany

Würzburg,  a city in Germany’s Bavaria region.  It is the center of Franconian wine country.  Therefore is the home of many winery, wine cellars, and bars.  The Franconian wine stores in distinctive round flat bottles ( bocksbeutel).  Memorable wine tasting at the Staatlicher Hofkeler Würzburg, the former Prince Bishop’s Cellar.

Würzburg Residence was the palace of Prince Bishops.  Its construction was intended to be comparable to the Palace of Versailles or the Schonbrunn Palace.  It is one of the masterpieces of Baroque/Rococo style architecture.  Although most of it was destroyed or damaged by World War II, the grand staircase, the Imperial Hall, and the chapel still stand.  After much restoration and reconstruction work was done from 1945 to 1987 to its present form.  The Residence, and its Court Garden and Square are listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The front of the Würzburg Residence and the courtyard’s Franconian Fountain.
The Back of the Residence leading into the Court Garden
A view of the Court Garden

Among the busy shopping center is the Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrucke) built 1473-1543.  The pedestrian bridge is aligned with statues of saints.

The oldest stone bridge in the city and quite busy too.  Würzburg Cathedral in the back
St. Mary’s Chapel (the Marienkapelle )built 1377-1479 near the Marketplace

 

market square of Würzburg surrounded by beautiful buildings

And lastly the landmark of Würzburg, the Marienberg Fortress which stands on the west bank of the Main River.  It originally was a fort built in ancient times but became a fortress and home of the Prince-Bishop.  It was severally damaged in the Second World War and since rebuild in 1990.  Now it houses two museums.  From where it stands, one can see the whole city of Würzburg.

The Marienberg Fortress from the Old Main Bridge. Surrounding the fortress are the famous Franconian vineyards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg city would always be associated with the Nazi Party in our recent history.  Nuremberg is where the Nazi Party took to power and Nuremberg is where it stood trial for its war crimes for the world to see.

Beyond its infamous recent history.  Nuremberg has a glorious past as the center of the Holy Roman Empire, build around the banks of River Pegnitz.  The vibrant trade brought excellent artisans and craftsmen thus established itself as the cradle of the German Renaissance.

Nuremberg Castle: Heathen’s Tower on the right and Sinwell Tower on the left. notice the fortified medieval sandstone walls

 

 

St Sebaldus Church, a medieval church has been a Lutheran parish since the Reformation.
Frauenkirche of Gothic style architecture stands in front of the main market. Most notable is the church clock which would strike at mid-day. At which time the figurines of trumpeters and drummer and electors of the city would encircle the figure of the Holy Roman Emperor.  In front would be the marketplace which would be especially active around Christmas time.  Aside from normal wares, there will be the famous gingerbread cookies (Lebkuchen).
The Gothic style Schoner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain) spire stands 62 feet tall n the center of an octagonal pool enclosed by an ornated Renaissance grill. It is said that your wish would come true if you turn the golden ring on the grill three times
Chain bridge of Nuremberg. Chain bridge ( Kettensteg) of Nuremberg, footbridge to cross the Pegnitz River. First built-in 1824, the oldest chain bridge on the European continent, It was recently fortified and re-opened in 2010.

 

A walkabout revealed a picturesque town as you can see below.

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of course, a walk should always end in food and enjoy the most notable Bratwurst and beer.