Traveling in Time Through Bingen

Bingen, Germany

Photos courtesy Germany TourComm

Bingen, Germany, is renowned as the gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its breathtaking landscapes, medieval castles and quaint country towns, the valley is the quintessence of a romantic and picturesque setting. The fully reconstructed Klopp Castle is scenically set atop the Kloppberg in the heart of Bingen. The town’s most famous landmark, the so-called “Mouse Tower,” situated on a small island on the River Rhine, is approximately 1,000 years old.

Bingen’s Rhine embankment is more than where water meets land: it is an historical site of significance, gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and a UNESCO World Heritage site. With transformation of the grounds into a magnificent cultural embankment, the banks of the River Rhine have been given a new look. Together with its natural, architectural, horticultural and cultural attractions, the embankment invites visitors to enjoy the mixture of culture, nature and recreation. The cultural embankment is a combination of scenery, playground, open-air stage, park, museum and gallery.

There are historical records and legends about the tower on the small island in the Rhine near Bingen. The Romans built a small defensive fortification here and during the period of the Franks it went into disrepair. Only when Hatto II took over the leadership in Mainz in 968 and ruled over Bingen did the tower awake from its long slumber. In 1298 the tower was part of the customs system involving Ehrenfels Castle.

(left to right) Klopp Castle; Mäuseturm

Klopp Castle houses the main administration of the town and the office of the mayor. The hill was once part of a defensive belt surrounded by a wall, in which the small town of Bingium was located. In 355 AD the fortification was a victim of the Alemannen.

It was not until the middle of the last century that the merchant Ludwig Cron from Cologne began reconstruction; in 1897 the castle was placed into the possession of the town of Bingen.

Saint Martin Basilica

The basilica of St. Martin is built on the foundations of a Roman temple. It is here that visitors get an insight into the history of Bingen. The Romans built a temple on this site in the years before Jesus’s birth. The basilica was first mentioned in 793 in a list of gifts of the Abtei (abbey) in Lorsch. A place of worship of special beauty awaits the visitor.

Rochus Chapel

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe went on an annual pilgrimage to Rochus Hill. In 1889 lightning struck the Rochus Chapel, just after elaborate restoration work had been completed and the resulting fire destroyed everything apart from the walls. On the foundations of the former Baroque building a three-nave late Gothic church was built with an exterior choir. That is what is seen today.

One of the oldest stone bridges in Germany is the Drusus Bridge in Bingen.

Bridges have a long tradition at the mouth of the River Nahe. The first was built a decade before the birth of Jesus. A special commando unit blew up the bridge in March 1945 before the approaching Allied troops could reach it. Today Drusus Bridge plays an important part in the appearance of the town.

(left to right) Drusus Bridge ceiling detail; Museum; Stefan George portrait

One of the most famous German poets, Stefan George, was born in Bingen-Büdesheim. This museum traces his life in the Stefan-George-Haus in the so-called “Haferkasten,” an impressive half-timbered house from the 18th century.

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