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Bingen am Rhein
Gateway to the Romantic Rhine

Down the ages Bingen am Rhein has always been a centre of wine trade and an attractive destination for travellers. Hardly any other town in Germany is predestined to be the secret capital of German wines. Here is where Germany's wine-growing areas of Rheinhessen, Nahe, Rheingau and Middle Rhine Valley meet. Bingen am Rhein is also known as the gateway to the Romantic Rhine and the UNESCO World Heritage of the ‘Upper Middle-Rhine Valley’.

1. Location of Bingen am Rhein in Germany

The town of Bingen am Rhein is located at the point of intersection of the Nahe holiday region, Rheinhessen holiday region and Romantic Rhine holiday region, approximately 61 km to the east of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (see map on bottom of page).

The Nahe holiday region is a landscape full of poetry and colour, dotted with old towns and villages full of history. The region's highlight is undoubtedly the German Gemstone Route, together with the gemstone capital Idar-Oberstein and the German Museum of Precious Stones. The region is also known for its three spa resorts (Bad Kreuznach, Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg and Bad Sobernheim) that are located in the Nahe wine-growing area. ... read more about the Nahe holiday region

The Rheinhessen holiday region has it all. Modern city life and traditional sleepy villages, temples to fine dining rubbing shoulders with bars serving the new season's wine, art galleries in warehouses, theatre in vineyards, jazz in a barn. If variety is the spice of life, it's especially true in Rheinehessen, Germany's largest wine-growing region. The local people are cosmopolitan and full of joie de vivre, with a dash of Gallic laissez-faire and a certain idiosyncrasy thrown in. ... read more about the Rheinhessen holiday region

The Romantic Rhine holiday region is characterized by Rhine Romanticism, that is still very much in the air today, as anyone who has visited this world-famous valley between Bingen/Rüdesheim and Koblenz will tell you. With its picture-book castles and ruins and its historical towns and sights, this impressive stretch of the river epitomises some of the loveliest river scenery in the world. Only a short time ago, it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Experience a journey back in time and let the diversity, the beauty and the culinary specialities of this region work their magic on you. ... read more about the Romantic Rhine holiday region

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2. Points of Interest in Bingen

2.1 Landmarks

Burg Klopp
The Klopp Castle towers above Bingen on top of Klopp Hill in the centre of the town. The Klopp Castle was built as a private residence by Ludwig Cron, a rich merchant from Cologne, in the middle of the last century. He rebuilt the ruined castle to his own design. Actually, the fortress goes back to Celtic times from 260 to 70 BC.
Basilika St. Martin
The history of the Basilica St. Martin goes back to Roman times. In those days there was a temple on the site. It is known that a church built in Roman style was later erected on the same spot. It is first mentioned in a list of presents to the Abbey of Lorsch in 794. In 883, 1165 and 1403 the church was destroyed and rebuilt. The latest construction, built in 1414, is in the gothic style typical of its era. As St. Martin's was a collegiate church, a church for the local population was added in 1505. On 1 April 1930, Pope Pius XI awarded the church the status of a ‘basilica minor’, thus honouring the significance of the building.
Rochuskapelle (Rochus Chapel)
In 1666 the last major European pest epidemic afflicted Bingen and claimed more than 1,300 lives, almost half the town's population at that time. In distress, the townspeople vowed to build a chapel on the Rochusberg in honour of St. Rochus, the saint who protected the faithful from the plague. The promise was kept, and the chapel was built within a year, but it was not solemnly consecrated until 1677. During the French revolution, the chapel was fully destroyed in 1795 and was totally forgotten — until French troops returning from the battle of Leipzig brought typhus to Bingen with them. People remembered the past and rebuilt the chapel. Goethe was among the guests at the opening celebration on Rochus Day, 16 August 1814. The fittings and furniture came from the Eibingen convent, which had been dissolved in the process of secularisation, and which stands on the opposite side of the Rhine. It was the second convent founded by Hildegard. Since that time, the chapel has been a place of rememberance in honour of Hildegard. The bones of St. Rupertus were also transferred to the chapel. St. Rupertus was the founder of the hermitage on the Rupertsberg in Bingen, which was later developed by Hildegard von Bingen into a stately convent. The chapel was once again destroyed by lightening and fire in 1889. The present triple-nave building, a late-gothic church with an exterior choir, was consecrated on the eve of the Rochus festival in 1895. The Hildegard tradition was maintained with a new Hildegard altar.
Der alte Kran (The Old Crane)
The crane, which used to be on the waterfront, is now some metres away from the river, due to the reinforcement of the river bank. The medieval wooden construction is protected by its slate cladding and is still the original building. Unfortunately, the crane can only be viewed from the outside.
Katholische Kapuzinerkirche (Roman Catholic Capuchin Church)
The church originally belonged to a monastery, which no longer exists. It was consecrated in 1658 and suffered the same fate as many of the other interesting buildings: destruction, reconstruction, secularisation and the second world war.
Drusus Bridge and Bridge Chapel
In Roman times there used to be a wooden bridge where the stone bridge now stands at the mouth of the river Nahe. It was destroyed in 70 AD, and was replaced with the first, and then the second stone bridge. The latter is said to have been built by archbishop Willigis in Mainz. In the eastern pillar a small bridge chapel was built in the early Roman style from stone hewn from the bank of the Nahe River. The Drusus Bridge is one of the oldest stone bridges in Germany.
Mäuseturm und Binger Loch (Mouse Tower and the Bingen Hole):
The small island in front of Bingen had a small fortress on it in the days of the Romans, but which then disappeared. Hatto II, archbishop of Mainz since 968, and thus Lord of Bingen, made the tower on the island famous throughout the world. The population suffered under Hatto's rule. The various versions of the saga all agree that the bishop was imprisoned in he tower from 969 to 970, where he was attacked by thousands of mice and died. In the 14th century, the tower served as the watchtower for the customs collection castle, Ehrenfels. After that the tower was employed until 1975 as a signal tower to safeguard the passage through the then so dangerous Binger Loch. The cliffs remaining from the huge quartz barrier, which used to link both sides of the river, made the shipping channel extremely narrow for centuries. Only experienced pilots could guide ships through the small, shallow channel. It was not until 1974 that most of this obstacle was removed, making shipping the Rhine River much safer.

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2.2 Museums

Historisches Museum am Strom — Hildegard von Bingen
With the Hildegard jubilee in 1998, the Historical Museum on the River — Hildegard von Bingen, the former electricity generation station on the bank of the Rhine River, opened its doors. There is a large department dedicated to Hildegard, the universal scholar and theologist. The museum offers something very special: a complete set of surgical instruments from the Roman days, discovered during renovation work in Bingen. A further department focuses on the Rhein Romantic epoch. In a unique way, the 200-year epoch is illustrated using, among other things, prints, paintings and furniture from the period.
Stefan-George-Museum
The museum is in the Stefan-George-Haus in Bingen, and the building belongs to the town. It is the former ‘Hafenkasten’, a Tudor-style building built in 1689. The exhibition in seven glass cases shows four main aspects of his life and an insight into the most important stages in his life (born in Bingen on 12 July 1868 and died on 4 December 1933 in Minusio/Locarno). The museum contains his writing desk and part of the library he left behind. There are also books by Melchior Lechter and translations of George’s work in foreign languages and also sculptures by Victor Frank, Heinrich Moshage, Ludwig Thormaelen, Urban Thiersch and Alexander Zschokke.

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3. Famous Personalities

3.1 Hildegard von Bingen

The place where Hildegard worked — the Rupertsberg convent in the part of the town known as Bingerbrück — has long since disappeared. All that remains is the convent's vaulted cellar. The building was destroyed in the Thirty Years' War. But Hildgedard's ideas, deep mystical knowledge and visions have survived the centuries, and are experiencing a renaissance and rediscovery at present. In 1998, in connection with the celebrations to mark her 900th birthday, the Hildegard Forum was established on Rochusbeg (Rochus hill). It is a meeting place in the spirit of Hildegard von Bingen.

Hildegard was born in Bermersheim, near Alzey, in 1098. She was the daughter of Baron Hildebert von Bermersheim. From a very early age her upbringing was entrusted to mistress Jutta von Sponheim, who led a god-fearing life with a handful of girl pupils in a hermitage next to the church at the Benedictine convent on Disibodenberg. In 1114, Hildegard committed herself to basing her life on the Benedictine rules, and when Jutta von Sponheim died the nuns elected Hildegard to be their leader. The number of followers rapidly increased. Hildegard founded a new, larger convent on Rupertsberg, in what is now Bingerbrück, and established a sister convent on the opposite side of the Rhine in Eibingen, near Rüdesheim am Rhein.

In 1141, under the influence of her visionary experiences, she began to write down her view of creation and the world. The writings of the highly gifted prophetess not only reveal a closed picture of mankind and the world, but are also political documents of highest quality. She bravely and openly criticised the clergy and dubious diplomacy of her time while acting as a wandering preacher. Popes, emperors, abbots and abbesses sent couriers to Rupertsberg to hear her message. Over the years, many thousands of people went on pilgrimages to the convent hill in order to seek medical advice from a woman who was also a respected healer. Hildegard had been the head of the convent on Rupertsberg for over forty years, when she died on 17 September 1179, aged 81. Her remains are lying in the church in Eibingen, which was part of the convent there. Above Rüdesheim am Rhein the new Benedictine Eibingen abbey is situated, established at the end of the 19th century, which is committed to Hildegard's tradition.

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3.2 Stefan George

Stefan George is certainly not easy to understand. Only those who have spent some time on intensive study of his works understand why he is regarded as one of the most famous German authors. Stefan George was born in Bingen-Büdesheim on 12 July 1868 as the son of a wine merchant and restaurant owner. Even as a child he was attracted to cultism, religion and national ideas. After his high school graduation, he travelled throughout Europe, making contact with famous writers and artists of his days. Even in his early works, the departure from daily reality can be seen. Followers and admirers of the young author quickly established themselves as the ‘George Circle’. From 1900 George lived a quiet life in Berlin, Munich and Heidelberg. In 1927 he received his first official recognition as a lyrical poet from the City of Frankfurt. Bingen changed the name of Nahekai (Nahe Quay) into Stefan-George-Straße.

Dispirited by the exploitation of his works for propaganda purposes by the National Socialists, George left Germany for neutral Switzerland, where he died on 4 December 1933 in the Muralto Clinic near Lucerne. The death watch was arranged by Claus von Stauffenberg, who referred explicitly to his tutor Stefan George in connection with his attempted assassination of Hitler. Traces and relics of the writer's life have been collected and are on display in the Stefan George House, the so-called ‘Haferkasten’, a stately Tudor-style building of the 18th century.

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4. Secret Capital of German Wines

Bingen am Rhein is the right place to discover and enjoy wine, one of mankind's oldest drinks. The four wine-growing regions of Rheinhessen, Nahe, Middle Rhine Valley and Rheingau, are all Bingen's neighbours. Even in the town, you can go through the vineyards, with their precisely spaced-out rows of vines, and watch the vintners at work, or simply follow the wine discovery path in and around Bingen.

Bingen has a very particular relationship with ‘Eiswein’ (ice-wine). This speciality, which is famous throughout the world, is actually the coincidental result of a particularly bad winter in 1830. The vintners in a part of the town called Dromersheim went into the vineyards to harvest the grapes which they had not been able to pick earlier. There had been severe frost, and the vintners intended to pick the grapes and feed them to their cattle. But they discovered that the cold grapes still contained liquid, and it was wonderfully sweet. The grapes were pressed and ended up as the very first ice-wine. Because of the unique climatic conditions, ice-wine can only be made in Germany.

Where so much wine is produced, the people know how to drink it. Best, of course, at a vintner’s during a wine-tasting. The huge range can be experienced at the ‘Fest des Weines’ (Wine Festival) in Bingen, the traditional vintners’ festival. It is no coincidence that the festival lasts 11 days, because so much time is needed to taste all of the wines on offer. But this magnificent product is offered at all other festivals in the town.

You should enjoy a glass of wine in one of the many wine pubs or at a Straußwirtschaft (seasonal wine tavern). A very enjoyable and interesting experience is a wine-tasting session in a vineyard. The Tourist Information Centre will be glad to help you organise a wine tasting experience.

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5. Romantic Rhine River Cruises

A romantic Loreley boat trip, a visit by boat to the castles, an evening cruise along the river with music and dancing — the descriptions alone tell you what to expect: enchanting hours on Germany's largest river, which attracts crowds of visitors from all over the world every year. All ships have catering facilities on board and are ideal for excursions and on-board celebrations. There are regular services from Good Friday to the beginning of November. The Bingen-Rüdesheim passenger-ship companies regularly organise enjoyable evening cruises down the river. The River Boat Shuffles are fun. And a combined ship and cable-car outing is particularly exciting: by ship from Bingen to Rüdesheim or Assmannshausen, and from there with the cable-car up to the hunting lodge or to the Niederwald monument and back.

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6. Excursions around Bingen am Rhein

Bingen am Rhein is the ideal starting point for excursions in every direction. Within an hour's drive, there are numerous interesting destinations, which can also be comfortably reached by train. In the north-west there is the romantic Rhine valley, the valley with the Loreley cliffs. Major attractions are the castles, manor houses and museums along the majestic river to Koblenz, where the Mosel River joins the Rhine River. In the south it is a short drive to Worms, Speyer and the Pfalz (Palatinate region). Mainz, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt are to the east; to the west the spas in Bad Kreuznach, Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg and Bad Sobernheim, as well as the precious gems centre in Idar-Oberstein. The landscape around Bingen is interesting because it is so varied. Rheinhessen, Hunsrück between the rivers Nahe and Mosel, the Rheingau on the right side of the Rhine River, all offer a variety of places of interest.

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6.1 Castles & Loreley Valley

On the Bingen side of the Rhine River there is Rheinstein Castle, one of the prettiest of the Rhine valley castles. It was rebuilt in 1825 and completely renovated in 1990/91. The fortress was the customs post of the archbishops of Mainz in the 14th century. Only a few miles further is Reichenstein Castle, built in 1215 and thus one of the oldest Rhine fortresses. The castle museum contains the biggest ‘stove plate’ collection in Rhineland-Palatinate as well as hunting trophies from four continents. On the right side of the Rhine River, directly opposite Bingen, there are the ruins of Ehrenfels Castle, once a castle owned by the archbishops in Mainz and used to house and protect the cathedral treasures. It was built in the 13th century and has been a ruin since the French war of succession.

One of the loveliest excursions from Bingen is to the Loreley. The 132 metre high cliff, which rises steeply above the Rhine River near St. Goarshausen, should be viewed from on-board one of the Rhine ships, just as the sailors once did. The legend says that when they caught sight of the maiden they were lured on to the cliffs and sank.

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6.2 Rheinhessen — Land of the Nibelungen

This is a triangle between Bingen, Mainz and Worms. It is almost completely without woods or forest. Rheinhessen is famous for its wine. A drive along the Rhine brings you to some of the most magnificent monuments in romantic Roman style in Mainz and Worms (and Speyer in the Pfalz) with their imperial cathedrals. And they are only about 80 kilometres apart. Mainz is also the city of the printing press. The old Gutenberg printing press is still operating in the Gutenberg Museum there. Those who enjoy modern art should not miss the Chagall windows in the St. Stephan Church. In the ship museum there are Roman ships, which have only recently been discovered during excavation work. Further south there is the Nibelungen, cathedral and Luther city of Worms. The oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe and the Judaica Museum are witnesses of the former ‘small Jerusalem’ on the Rhine.

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6.3 Nahe Valley

Along the river Nahe there are numerous opportunities to ‘take the waters’ and enjoy the spas. Between Bad Kreuznach and Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg there are the Salinental (Saline Valley), with its graduation house for salt, and the radon galleries. In Bad Sobernheim there is the only barefoot path in Germany, famous for its healing properties. A little further up the river there is the gemstone capital Idar-Oberstein, with its famous Felsenkirche (church of the rock) and German Museum of Precious Stones.

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6.4 Rüdesheim am Rhein & Assmannshausen

Rüdesheim with its world-famous Drosselgasse and the red-wine town of Assmannshausen are situated on the other side of the Rhine, and about 5 minutes by ferry from Bingen. From both towns, the cable car conveys visitors up to the Germania Monument. Above Rüdesheim the remains of Hildegard von Bingen are kept in the church in Eibingen.

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7. Events Finder

There is always something happening — whether it is art, music, wine festivals or a host of other activities. The Events Finder gives you an overview about what is on, where and when. Here you can search for events and festivals in the region.

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8. Hotel & Holiday Flat Finder

Here you have direct access to the online accommodation reservation service of the Tourist Board of Rhineland-Palatinate. No other hotel reservation system on the Internet offers you such a broad and comprehensive list of accommodation in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate regions. You can list accommodation, search accommodation, contact accommodation establishments and make online reservations.

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9. How to get there from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport

9.1 By Rental Car

Google Maps: Route from (A) Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to (B) Bingen am Rhein
(61 km distance / 46 minutes driving time) » get directions

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9.2 By Bus

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has no direct bus connection to Bingen am Rhein. However, the buses from the airport will take you to Simmern where you can connect with buses to Bingen am Rhein.

Bus routes and timetables:

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Tourist Office Address

Bingen Tourist-Information
Rheinkai 21
55411 Bingen am Rhein
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 67 21 - 18 42 05
Fax: +49 (0) 67 21 -18 42 14

Website: bingen.de
Email: tourist-information@bingen.de