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Between Bingen and Bonn, Germany, the river Rhine
Rhine
flows as the Middle Rhine
Rhine
(German: Mittelrhein) through the Rhine
Rhine
Gorge, a formation created by erosion, which happened at about the same rate as an uplift in the region, leaving the river at about its original level, and the surrounding lands raised. This gorge is quite deep, about 130 metres (430 ft) from the top of the rocks down to the average water-line. The "Middle Rhine" is one of four sections (High Rhine, Upper Rhine, Middle Rhine, Lower Rhine) of the river between Lake Constance and the North Sea. The upper half of the Middle Rhine
Rhine
( Rhine
Rhine
Gorge) from Bingen (Rhine-kilometer 526) to Koblenz
Koblenz
(Rhine-kilometer 593) is a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site (2002) with more than 40 castles and fortresses from the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and many wine-villages. The lower half from Koblenz
Koblenz
(Rhine-kilometer 593) to Bonn
Bonn
(Rhine-kilometer 655) is famous for the formerly volcanic Siebengebirge
Siebengebirge
with the Drachenfels volcano. Both parts together are known as "the romantic Rhine". The Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley has been a major tourist attraction since the 19th century. It is also home to some 450,000 people. The valley owes its special appearance to both its natural shape and human alterations. For two millennia, it has been one of the most important routes for cultural exchange between the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
region and northern Europe. Situated in the heart of Europe, it was sometimes a border and sometimes a bridge between different cultures. The history of the valley reflects the history of Western Europe. With its many outstanding monuments, its hills full of vines, its settlements crowded on the narrow river banks, and the rows of castles lined up on the hill tops, it is considered the epitome of the Rhine
Rhine
romanticism. It inspired Heinrich Heine
Heinrich Heine
to write his famous poem "Lorelei" and Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
to write his opera Götterdämmerung. The vineyards along the Middle Rhine
Rhine
form the wine-growing region of the same name, see Mittelrhein (wine region).

Contents

1 Geography

1.1 Location 1.2 Transport 1.3 Towns and cities 1.4 Tributaries

2 Castles, fortresses and palaces 3 History

3.1 Prehistory 3.2 Roman period 3.3 Middle Ages 3.4 Late Middle Ages 3.5 Modern Period 3.6 19th century 3.7 20th century

4 UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site "Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley"

4.1 Criteria for a cultural landscape 4.2 Transport planning

5 Castles 6 Viticulture 7 Tourism 8 Navigation 9 Events 10 See also 11 Footnotes 12 References 13 External links

Geography[edit]

The Andernach
Andernach
Geyser, the highest cold-water geyser in the world

Deutsches Eck
Deutsches Eck
("German Corner") at the confluence of Rhine
Rhine
and Moselle in Koblenz

Location[edit] The name Rhine
Rhine
Gorge refers to the narrow gorge of the Rhine
Rhine
flowing through the Rhenish Slate Mountains
Rhenish Slate Mountains
between Bingen am Rhein
Bingen am Rhein
and Rüdesheim am Rhein
Rüdesheim am Rhein
in the South and Bonn- Bad Godesberg
Bad Godesberg
and Bonn-Oberkassel in the North. Between Rüdesheim and Lorch, the left bank belongs to the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate; the right bank belongs to the wine region of Rheingau
Rheingau
in the state of Hesse. Downstream of Lorch, both banks belong to Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
until the river crosses the border with North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
shortly before Bonn. The Middle Rhine
Rhine
basin at Neuwied
Neuwied
separates the upper and lower halves of the Middle Rhine. On the Namedyer Werth peninsula (between Rhine-kilometer 614.2 and 615.5), is the Andernach
Andernach
Geyser, which at 50 to 60 metres (160 to 200 ft) is the highest cold-water geyser in the world. On 7 July 2006, the geyser was reactivated for tourists. Transport[edit] There are major railway lines on both sides of the river: the Linke Rheinstrecke on the left and the Rechte Rheinstrecke
Rechte Rheinstrecke
on the right. Major roads are the federal roads B9 and B42 and, of course, the Rhine itself is a major international waterway. Towns and cities[edit] The most important cities on the left bank are Bingen, Bacharach, Oberwesel, St. Goar, Boppard
Boppard
and Koblenz
Koblenz
on the Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
and Andernach, Bad Breisig, Sinzig, Remagen
Remagen
and Bonn
Bonn
on the Lower Middle Rhine. On the right bank we find Rüdesheim, Assmannshausen, Lorch, Kaub, St. Goarshausen, Braubach
Braubach
and Lahnstein
Lahnstein
on the Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
and Vallendar, Bendorf, Neuwied, Bad Hönningen, Linz am Rhein, Bad Honnef
Bad Honnef
and Königswinter
Königswinter
on the lower part. Tributaries[edit] Larger tributaries on the left include Nahe, Moselle
Moselle
and Ahr; on the right Lahn, Wied and Sieg. Castles, fortresses and palaces[edit]

Stahleck Castle
Stahleck Castle
at Bacharach

Burg Pfalzgrafenstein
Burg Pfalzgrafenstein
at Kaub

Burg Rheinfels
Burg Rheinfels
at St. Goar

Marksburg
Marksburg
at Braubach

Stolzenfels Castle
Stolzenfels Castle
at Koblenz

Burg and Schloss Sayn

The most outstanding castles are the Marksburg, the only undamaged hilltop castle in the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley, the Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, on a rocky island in the middle of the Rhine, and Rheinfels Castle, which was developed into a fortress over time. Stolzenfels Castle
Stolzenfels Castle
is a synonym for Rhine
Rhine
romanticism like no other. It did not just encourage the acceptance of the existing castles, it also encouraged their restoration and the building of even more castles. The Electoral Palace in Koblenz
Koblenz
was the last residence of the Electors of Trier. It was demolished by the French revolutionary army. The most powerful fortress in Rhineland-Palatinate, Koblenz
Koblenz
Fortress, was built in the 19th century by the Prussians. Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, once part of the fortification system, dominates the Rhine
Rhine
Valley to this day. The following castles are found along the Middle Rhine, in downstream order:

Left bank Right bank

Klopp Castle Trutzbingen Rheinstein Castle Reichenstein Castle Sooneck Castle Heimburg in Niederheimbach Fürstenberg Castle Stahlberg Castle Stahleck Castle Schönburg Castle Rheinfels Castle Alte Burg (Boppard) Stolzenfels Castle Fort Großfürst Konstantin Alte Burg (Koblenz) Electoral Palace (Koblenz) Kaiser Franz Fortress Stadtburg Andernach Namedy Castle [1] Schloss Brohleck Rheineck Castle Sinzig
Sinzig
Castle Schloss Marienfels Rolandseck Castle Godesburg Poppelsdorfer Schloss Electoral Palace, Bonn

Boosenburg Brömserburg Vorderburg Ehrenfels Castle Nollig Castle Pfalzgrafenstein Castle Gutenfels Castle Katz Castle Reichenberg Castle Maus Castle Liebenstein Castle Sterrenberg Castle Schloss Liebeneck Osterspai Castle Schloss Philippsburg (Braubach) Marksburg Schloss Martinsburg Lahneck Castle Fort Asterstein Schloss Philippsburg (Koblenz) Ehrenbreitstein Fortress Schloss Sayn Sayn Castle Schloss Engers Schloss Neuwied Altwied Castle Marienburg Castle Hammerstein Castle Schloss Arenfels Dattenberg Castle Linz Castle Ockenfels Castle Vilzelt Castle Löwenburg Castle Wolkenburg Castle Drachenfels Castle Drachenburg Palace Lede Castle

History[edit] Prehistory[edit] The terraces of the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley have been inhabited since the early Iron Age. Evidence of this are the barrow fields around the city forest of Boppard
Boppard
and in the forest of Brey
Brey
and the ring walls on the Dommelberg in Koblenz
Koblenz
and on the giant hill at St. Goarshausen. On the western border of the Middle Rhine
Rhine
region, there are also traces of a Celtic settlement, with the grave pillars of Pfalzfeld
Pfalzfeld
and the Waldalgesheim chariot burial. In the 4th century BCE, the area had come under the influence of Mediterranean
Mediterranean
civilizations. The north-south link between mouth of the Nahe and the Moselle
Moselle
estuary rich already in use in pre-Roman times. The Roman development of the route overlaps in large sections with the route of the modern Bundesautobahn 61 Roman period[edit] The Romans settled in the area of the Middle Rhine
Rhine
from the mid-1st century BC to about 400 AD. An important factor was the construction of the Roman Rhine
Rhine
Valley Road between the provincial capitals Mainz and Cologne
Cologne
along the left bank of the Rhine, both on the plateau (northbound from Rheinböllen) as on the left bank in the Valley (the route of the modern highway Bundesautobahn 9). The Rhine
Rhine
was the border of the Roman Empire, which is why the road had to be constructed on the left bank, just inside the Empire. Traces of significant road construction have been identified near Stahleck Castle
Stahleck Castle
at Bacharach. The cities of Bingen (Bingium) and Koblenz
Koblenz
(Confluentes) are the sites of early Roman fortresses, and Oberwesel
Oberwesel
(Vosolvia) housed a Roman Mansio. The fortresses protected agriculture and natural resources against the Germanic tribes of the Tencteri, Usipetes, Menapii
Menapii
and Eburones. The agricultural settlements in the hinterland provided for the people in the cities and military camps. The Romans used the Rhine
Rhine
for shipping. In the 1st century CE, bridges were constructed at Koblenz
Koblenz
across the Rhine
Rhine
and the Moselle. In 83—85 a Limes
Limes
was constructed between the Rhine
Rhine
and the Danube, to protect a weak section of the border. In the 2nd century, the Romans ventured onto the right bank of the Rhine
Rhine
and constructed a fortress at Niederlahnstein. Emperors Constantine and Valentinian safeguarded the frontier by constructing fortresses in Koblenz
Koblenz
are (Confluentes) and Boppard
Boppard
(Bodobrica) with strong walls and round towers, of which remnants remain. In the 5th century, the Alamanni
Alamanni
and Franks
Franks
forced the Romans to withdraw from the area. They took over the Roman cities and the Franconians began founding new cities of their own. Unlike the old Roman cities, the new Franconian cities were independent of the old Roman farmsteads; agriculture and livestock farming took place inside the city. These cities can be recognized by their names ending in -heim. At the end of the 5th century, the Merovingian
Merovingian
king Clovis founded the Franconian Kingdom. Although the Roman population of the area declined steadily, the people spoke a Franco-Roman dialect and the language of administration was Latin. Grave inscriptions from the 4th to the 8th century in Boppard, in the St. Severus Church and the Carmelite Church prove the survival of a small Roman population in addition to the Frankish immigrants. Middle Ages[edit] The Roman settlements, especially the fortified cities in the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley, were taken by the Franconian Kings as Crown possessions. Almost all of the territory between Bingen and Remagen, including the cities of Bacharach, Oberwesel, St. Goar, Boppard, Koblenz
Koblenz
and Sinzig, were in royal ownership. The enfeoffment of individual parts of the empire began in the 8th century and continued until the early 14th century. Beneficiaries of the gifts were, among others, the abbots of Prüm
Prüm
and Trier
Trier
and of the Abbey of St. Maximin
Abbey of St. Maximin
and the Archbishops of Cologne, Trier, Mainz
Mainz
and Magdeburg. The Counts of Katzenelnbogen are also governors of the Abbey of Prüm
Prüm
and this allow them to establish their own territory around their seat Burg Rheinfels
Burg Rheinfels
Castle in St. Goar. When the male line of the Counts dies out in 1479, this territory is inherited by the Landgraves of Hesse. The grandsons of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
split his Empire in the Treaty of Verdun of 843, which they prepared in the Basilica of St. Castor
Basilica of St. Castor
in Koblenz in 842. The left bank of the Rhine
Rhine
between Bacharach
Bacharach
and Koblenz
Koblenz
falls to Middle Francia. In 925, Middle Francia
Francia
is finally becomes the Duchy of Lorraine within East Francia, the German Empire. The Rhine
Rhine
remains the heartland of the royal power, or Vis maxima regni as Otto of Freising called it, until in 1138 Conrad III is elected King of Germany
Germany
in Koblenz, the first King of the House of Hohenstaufen. Late Middle Ages[edit]

The Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley at Oberwesel

The late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
were marked on the Middle Rhine
Rhine
by the territorial fragmentation. In addition to the spiritual Electors of Cologne, Mainz
Mainz
and Trier, the Count Palatine
Count Palatine
had gained influence on the Middle Rhine
Rhine
since Hermann of Stahleck in 1142. Most of the forty castles in the area between Bingen and Koblenz
Koblenz
arose during this period as a sign of mutual competition. These castles are interesting examples of late medieval military architecture. They were partly influenced by developments in France, Italy and the Crusader states. The Counts of Katzenelnbogen in particular, excelled as castle builders. They built the Marksburg, Rheinfels Castle, Reichenberg Castle and Katz Castle. Another outstanding ruler in the 14th century was Elector and Archbishop Baldwin of Trier
Trier
from the House of Luxembourg. His brother King Henry VII, Count of Luxembourg and Roman-German King from 1308, had pledged him the imperial cities of Boppard
Boppard
and Oberwesel, two of the around twenty cities and towns established on the Rhine
Rhine
between Bingen and Koblenz
Koblenz
in the 13th and 14th century that had city rights and similar freedoms. Not all of those city rights have resulted in effective urban development, but in almost all these places more or less extensive remnants of the fortifications remain to this day. Boppard
Boppard
and Oberwesel
Oberwesel
resisted of integration into a modern territorial state for a long time. Boppard
Boppard
fought battles for the freedom of the city in 1327 and 1497. The grave stone in the popular "wide-track bully" type in the Carmelite church of Boppard
Boppard
of the knight Sifrid of Schwalbach, who fell in 1497, is a testimony to this struggle for local liberties which erupted for the last time in the Palatine Peasants' War
Palatine Peasants' War
of 1525. The City Castle of Boppard, built by Baldwin of Trier
Trier
in 1340, however, is a monument of the suppression of urban autonomy by territorial princes. Since the territories of the four Rhenish electors lie close together on the Middle Rhine, these cities have been the venue for countless historically important events, such as imperial diets, electoral diets, royal elections and princely weddings. The most important of these events was the Declaration of Rhense
Declaration of Rhense
in 1338. Boppard
Boppard
was especially frequently visited ed by German Kings and Emperors. The rulers would then reside with their entourage in the Königshof ("Royal Court"), outside the city gate. Bacharach
Bacharach
was a founding member of the League of Rhine
Rhine
Cities in 1254. King Louis IV the Bavarian resided in Bacharach
Bacharach
at the time. The painted Volto Santo
Volto Santo
by Lucca
Lucca
in the local St. Peter's church is testimony to the reverence for the reverence Louis held for the Lucca
Lucca
archetype and the cultural exchange between imperial Italy and the Middle Rhine. Modern Period[edit] Landgrave by Philip the Magnanimous of Hesse
Hesse
introduced the doctrine of the Reformation
Reformation
in the Katzenelnbogn area in 1527. In 1545 the Reformation
Reformation
reached the area of the Electorate of the Palatinate through Elector Frederick II. The Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
broke out in 1618 from the struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants and the political tensions in the German Empire. France, Spain and Sweden intervened. When peace was established in 1648, the country was economically ruined with and half the population having died from the fighting, disease or famine. During the 17th century, the Middle Rhine
Rhine
was increasingly the scene of a long-lasting conflict between Germany
Germany
and France. After devastation of the Thirty Years' War, the War of the Palatine Succession brought in 1688–1692 further destruction of castles and fortifications part of the cities' defenses. The city of Koblenz
Koblenz
was reconstructed in the 18th century and is characterized by the style of early classicism. After the French Revolutionary Wars, the left bank of the Rhine
Rhine
was annexed by the French Republic and later the French Empire. Prefect Lezay-Marnésia, who resided in Koblenz
Koblenz
began restoring the road on the left bank, which had not been maintained after the Romans had left and had fallen into disuse. He also promoted fruit production in the Middle Rhine
Rhine
(for example, cherry growing in Bad Salzig, like it was practiced in Normandy). This partly replaced the viticulture, which had declined sharply at the end of the 18th century. 19th century[edit]

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
in Koblenz

The French included the Middle Rhine
Rhine
area in the department of Rhin-et-Moselle, with its seat in Koblenz. The new government replaced the German princes with French secular rulers, abolished the feudal system, seized land from the church and nobility in order to resell it and introduced French-style legislation. On New Year's Day 1814, an army under general Blücher crossed the Rhine
Rhine
at Kaub. This marked the end of the French rule, the final defeat of Napoleon and the beginning of Prussian rule over the Middle Rhine. On the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
in 1815 Prussia
Prussia
received its "Watch on the Rhine" on the left bank. The right bank was held by Hesse-Nassau. Prussia
Prussia
secured its supremacy by the construction of the great fortress at Koblenz
Koblenz
from 1817 onwards. After 1830, most of the changes introduced by French rulers were abolished in the Rhine Province and the old corporate state (nobility, cities, farmers) was rebuilt. The nobles resumed the political power; the educated middle class had almost no political influence outside of towns. After the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
of 1866, Prussia
Prussia
annexed the Nassau areas on right bank. Steamships were introduced on the Rhine
Rhine
from about 1830. Railway lines were constructed from 1857. Neither innovation led to industrialization in the narrow Rhine
Rhine
valley. As late as 1900, viticulture dominated the economic structure of the Middle Rhine, with its small cities and agriculture. 20th century[edit] After the end of the First World War
First World War
in November 1918, the left bank of the Rhine
Rhine
and 50 km wide strip on the right bank were declared a "demilitarized zone". At first the Americans administered this territory, after 1923 the French. In the Rhineland, the change from a monarchy to a republic went almost unnoticed. The plan, in 1923, to build a "Rhenish Republic" failed. The French withdrew their troops again in 1929. After the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 the enthusiasm on the Middle Rhine
Rhine
was great. In many places, Hitler was named an honorary citizen. Jewish and other non-Christian officials were replaced by party functionaries. The Jews, who had played a significant role in small town business were robbed and driven out, some of them murdered. The Allied forces ended hostilities of the Second World War
Second World War
on the Middle Rhine
Rhine
on 19 March 1945. The French again took up the administration of the territory in its occupation zone. At end of 1946, the Americans created the State Hesse
Hesse
in their occupation zone; six months later the French founded of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate. Although some areas were combined in the new states that historically do not belong together, a sense of togetherness quickly appeared. The desire for state boundaries more in line with historical territorial boundaries, however, never ceased entirely. UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site "Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley"[edit]

Assmannshausen, as seen from the Damianskopf

Main article: Rhine
Rhine
Gorge The "cultural landscape of the Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley" is the narrow Rhine
Rhine
Valley from [Bingen and Rüdesheim to Koblenz. On 27 June 2002, the UNESCO
UNESCO
included this unique landscape in the list of the World Heritage sites. Criteria for a cultural landscape[edit] Recognistion as a "cultural landscape" requires under the terms of the criteria an integrated landscape space that has a certain uniqueness and where humans experience an unusual configuration. In the Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley, the breakthrough by the Rhine
Rhine
through the Rhenish Slate
Slate
Mountains created this configuration. The valley with its steep rocky slopes, which forced users to create terraces, which shaped the valley over the centuries. It was particularly influenced by the vineyards on terraces (since the 8th century), shale mining and coppicing. Agriculture was possible only on the plateaus. The valley is unique in its variety of over 40 castles along only 65 kilometres (40 mi) of the stream. The Upper Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley is the epitome of the Romantic Rhine
Rhine
landscape and also a traditional transport axis (important shipping lane, two highways and two railway lines). Transport planning[edit] When the world cultural heritage status was granted, UNESCO
UNESCO
pointed out that the noise generated by traffic (in particular, the railway lines) is a problem. Concrete measures but were neither recommended nor required. Nevertheless, the Rudesheim section was scheduled to be routed through a tunnel (construction began in 2011). The Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
state government plans to construct a new Middle Rhine
Rhine
Bridge near St. Goar
St. Goar
and St. Goarshausen. This should be coordinated with UNESCO. On 29 July 2010, UNESCO
UNESCO
announced in this regard that before further planning of a bridge, a master plan is to be presented to demonstrate the need for new bridge and compatibility with World Heritage status. Only further consultations can reveal whether problems similar to those in the former World Heritage Site Dresden Elbe Valley
Dresden Elbe Valley
can be avoided.[2] Various explanations by the state government notwithstanding, reports that consent of UNESCO
UNESCO
had been granted after discussions is Brasília, turned out to be premature. According to the UNESCO
UNESCO
commission, a decision could be reached in the summer of 2011 at the earliest. The Rhine
Rhine
Cable Car that was constructed for the Federal Garden Show 2011 in Koblenz
Koblenz
also posed a threat to world heritage status. For this reason, the garden show organisers agreed with UNESCO
UNESCO
on an inconspicuous design of the cable car structures and the demolition of the cable car after three years. Castles[edit] With a few exceptions, the castles in the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley were constructed between the 12th century and the first half of the 14th century. They were usually built on the middle terraces that were created during the formation of the valley. In the 10th and 11th century, castle building had been a privilege of the king and high nobility. Structures from this period were usually made of wood or rammed earth and have not survived. The weakening of imperial power began in the 12th century and the power of the Princes grew. Between 1220 and 1231, several important rights (regalia) were transferred to the spiritual (Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis) and temporal (Statutum in favorem principum) princes of the empire. From 1273, the Emperor was elected by the Electors; in 1356 imperial fiefs became territorial states. This was also the period when most castles were constructed. Four of the seven Electors held territories in the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley. The political landscape was a patchwork, as the parts of these territories were not connected. initially, the castles served to secure territory. In the late 12th century, the princes discovered customs revenue as a source of income and some castles were built to control customs. Castles
Castles
were also built outside cities to keep the aspirations to freedom of the city dwellers in check. By the end of the 14th century, firearms were introduced in the area. Structural responses were needed, which only wealthy castle owners could afford. Many castles lost their strategic importance to firearms in this period. Most castles declined slowly or were abandoned. In the Thirty Years' War, many castles were destroyed by passing troops. The final destruction of almost all castles was brought about by Louis XIV's troops during the War of the Palatine Succession. Only the high castles Festung Ehrenbreitstein, Marksburg
Marksburg
and Burg Rheinfels
Burg Rheinfels
were spared. With the advent of Rhine
Rhine
romanticism after 1815, many castles were rebuilt. Viticulture[edit] Main article: Mittelrhein (wine region)

Vineyards at Bopparder Hamm

Vineyards and Middle Rhine, view from Rheinbrohler Ley

The Middle Rhine
Rhine
geographical region is largely identical to the geographical region to the Middle Rhine
Rhine
wine region, as defined by the German wine law as a specified area for quality wine. The Romans introduced viticulture into the Region. That is, they introduced it into the Moselle
Moselle
valley; it spread into the Middle Rhine Valley during the Middle Ages. This development took place in four phases from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. An essential element of this development was the new technique of terrace viticulture. Vines are grown on terraces sloping from 25° to 30° and more. The climate favored wine Production. The Rhine
Rhine
and the slate and greywacke weathered soils function as a heat storage to prevent large temperature fluctuations. Additionally, the steep slopes function to drain cold air from the valley. This is particularly beneficial for the late-ripening Riesling, which is grown on about 68% (stand 2013) [3] of the total area under viticulture. The terraced vineyards used to be much smaller. The current situation has emerged only after a land consolidation in the 1960s. Unfortunately, with the disappearance of the old stone walls, a valuable habitat for microorganisms was lost. Some old style terraces are still in use in the Middle Rhine Valley. They continue to use the old technique of binding each vine to a separate pole.

Vineyards near Leutesdorf
Leutesdorf
with the ruins of Hammerstein castle

In the Middle Ages, wine was the only non-germinated storable drink for the common people, as beer was often expensive and of poor quality, water in urban areas was usually polluted and coffee and tea were still unknown. A regional speciality of the four valleys around Bacharach
Bacharach
is Feuerwein, a specially treated wine that was traded far to the North. It now again being manufactured at Posthof in Bacharach. It was one of the dominant items of trade in the Middle Ages, fostered by the Rhine
Rhine
as the most important waterway, and existing Roman roads. It was valued by landlords, as growing wine appreciated the value of their land. The legal, social and economic situation of the workers improved as more and more workers with critical skills were needed. In the late Middle Ages, the economy flourished and the majority of the population was dependent on wine growing. After the dissolution of many Lordships, land ownership fragmented and the land was divided into many small parcels. By the end of the 16th century this industry was booming. The Thirty Years' War then caused recession and decline. Prices of beer, tea and coffee dropped, causing profit margins on wine to shrink. After 1815, the left bank was Prussian and the economic situation improved. The 1839 German customs union
German customs union
led to strong competition. Many farmers found themselves a day job, and grew wine as a secondary occupation. New sources of income were the sparkling wine industry and wine bars serving tourists attracted by the Rhine
Rhine
romanticism. After 1870 the railways brought new problems: cheaper and better foreign competition and the advent of vine insects of America and France
France
(powdery mildew, phylloxera, downy mildew and vine moth). The deeper cause of the decline were the changed socio-economic conditions. Until the 19th century, there were few other opportunities for paid employment in the Rhine
Rhine
Valley, so many workers migrated to areas where the emerging manufacturing industries were creating new employment opportunities. The economic situation on the left bank improved after the Second World War. Until then, the only industries on the left bank were viticulture and tourism. In the 1960s, 92% of the slopes was consolidated into larger vineyards. Nevertheless, the wine industry declined further, due to lack of profits. In 1950 the Mittelrhein region boasted 1,448 hectares (3,580 acres) of vines under cultivation [int. document of the winegrower's association Middle Rhine]. In 1989 it still had 681 hectares (1,680 acres) (−53%). From 1989 to 2009 the total area of viticulture in the Middle Rhine
Rhine
region shrunk by another spiraling −19% to 438 hectares (1,080 acres).[4]

Vineyards and Middel Rhine; view from Hammerstein castle

About 58% of the vineyard area that existed in 1900 has since become a wasteland; another 16% lies fallow 40 to 80% of the time. Some 480 hectares (1,200 acres) remains and the trend is decreasing: in 2006, only 380 hectares (940 acres) of that 480 hectares was actually used to grow grapes. The wastelands are overgrown with bushes and, over time, they revert to being forests. This is a big problem. If we want to retain the character of the landscape, we will have to find new uses for the terraces, or at least maintain them and keep them open. The Land consolidation program at the Oelsberg in Oberwesel provides a successful example of preserving the terraces without major movement of dirt. By creating transverse terraces and construction of a drip irrigation system, the characteristic small parcels could be retained for the viticulture industry. At Bacharach, a smooth transformation to facilitate the maintenance of the trellis is in the planning stage. Particularly distinctive landmarks, such as the single layers at Roßstein opposite Oberwesel, or below Stahleck Castle
Stahleck Castle
at Bacharach, or around Gutenfels Castle
Gutenfels Castle
at Kaub
Kaub
deserve the continuation of the industry to maintain the appeal of the cultural landscape. At the foot of many of the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley castles, we now find derelict vineyards and scrubland. Reintroducing viticulture would restore the much sought-after picture postcard idyll, in which the light and fine-grained green and rich yellow (in the autumn) of the terraced vineyards, with their small parcels, contrasts nicely with the darker green of the forest.[5][6] Despite parcel consolidation, use of mechanization is limited, as most vineyards are too steep to allow access using wheeled tractors or grape harvesters. This means, all labour is still done manually. Consequently, the only profitable vineyards are the ones selling their own bottled wine, and even they need the extra income from renting out apartments or restaurants or even an ostrich farm. By today, there are only 109 commercial wineries left of the 455 counted in 1999.[7] Tourism[edit]

Photo montage of the proposed Middle Rhine
Rhine
Bridge

Signal Station on a special hazard area near the Loreley

Rhein in Flammen
Rhein in Flammen
on the Fortress
Fortress
Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz

Young British aristocrats on their Grand Tour to Italy discovered the Middle Rhine
Rhine
in the 18th century. With the German romance of the Middle Rhine
Rhine
in Germany
Germany
was also a dream destination. Tourism, which had been induced by the Rhine
Rhine
romanticism, in turn promoted, which was provided by the Köln-Düsseldorfer
Köln-Düsseldorfer
company, which was founded in 1827, and the construction of the West Rhine
Rhine
Railway between the 1840s and 1870s. This brought a new economic boom to the Middle Rhine
Rhine
area, which continued well into the 20th century. The only paddle steamer still remaining on the Rhine
Rhine
is the Goethe, running between Koblenz and Rudesheim. German and the foreign tourists never quite lost interest in the Middle Rhine. Interest, however, decreased noticeably since the 1980s. In an attempt to make the Middle Rhine
Rhine
more attractive in the 21st century, two new long-distance trails, the Rheinsteig
Rheinsteig
on the right side of the Rhine
Rhine
and the Rheinburgenweg Trail
Rheinburgenweg Trail
on both sides of the Rhine, were opened which allow a particularly intense experience of the cultural landscape. Cyclists can ride the entire Middle Rhine Valley between Bingen and Bonn
Bonn
on the Rhine
Rhine
Cycle Route. On the left bank, this provides a continuous bike path along the river, separate from any roads accessible to cars. On the right bank, there are still some small gaps where cyclists have to use regular streets. Navigation[edit] The Rhine
Rhine
is one of the busiest waterways in the world. The Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley is the gap in the Rhenish Slate Mountains
Rhenish Slate Mountains
and forms a bottleneck due to its tight curves and shallows. To improve the safety of shipping, the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Warning System was created which uses light signals to guide ships through the dangerous passages. Events[edit]

Rhine
Rhine
in Flames Great Fireworks in several cities in the Valley, in May, July, August and September Culinary summer night in August in Bacharach, Beginner Wine Festival, and in October in Posthof Bacharach Middle Rhine
Rhine
Marathon from Oberwesel
Oberwesel
to the German Corner in Koblenz Tal Total on the last Sunday in June, car-free valley between Bingen/Rüdesheim and Koblenz/Lahnstein Rhine
Rhine
on Skates, last Saturday in August, guided inline skating tour from Rüdesheim via Lorch (crossing Rhine
Rhine
by ferry), Koblenz
Koblenz
and Lahnstein
Lahnstein
back to Rüdesheim, a distance of 135 kilometres (84 mi), with about 1,000 participants (2012) [8]

See also[edit]

Rhine Rhine
Rhine
Gorge Rhineland Mittelrhein (wine region) Upper Rhine Lower Rhine Köln-Düsseldorfer

Footnotes[edit]

^ "A practical princess in a modern world".  ^ Trembling before the Unesco: The Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley does not want to be Dresden, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 7 July 2008 ^ Statistical State Office RLP Archived 2011-01-31 at the Wayback Machine. accessed July 23, 2014 ^ RomanticWine.de/Statistics ^ UNESCO
UNESCO
documentation of the State Office of Historic Monuments, 2002 ^ information on the management of "step vineyards" can be found on http://www.mittelrheintal.de or by writing to the Middle Rhine
Rhine
Visitor Center, Posthof, Oberstraße 45, D-55422 Bacharach, Germany ^ RomanticWine.de ^ Rhine
Rhine
on Skates takes place 10th time in Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley, Wiesbaden Courier, 27 August 2012

References[edit]

Martin Stankowski: Links + Rechts, der andere Rheinreiseführer, vom Kölner Dom bis zur Loreley. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne, 2005, ISBN 3-462-03573-8 Wegweiser Mittelrhein. Edited by the Rhenish Association for Conservation and Landscape
Landscape
Protection. 14 volumes, Koblenz: Görres Verl. 1998 ff. The individual volumes are:

Vol. 1: Axel von Berg: Vor- und Frühgeschichte, 1998, ISBN 3-920388-67-4 Vol. 2: Horst Fehr: Die Römische Epoche, 2000, ISBN 3-920388-68-2 Vol. 3: Eduard Sebald: Denkmäler der Romanik, 1999, ISBN 3-920388-69-0 Vol. 4: Joachim Glatz: Bauen im Späten Mittelalter, 1999, ISBN 3-920388-70-4 Vol. 5: Martina Holdorf: Burgen und Schlösser, 2nd, update and expanded ed., 2001, ISBN 3-920388-71-2 Vol. 6: Peter Brommer & Achim Krümmel: Klöster und Stifte, 1998, ISBN 3-920388-72-0 Vol. 7: Magnus Backes: Spätrenaissance und Barock, 1999, ISBN 3-920388-73-9 Vol. 8: Wolfgang Brönner: Das 19. Jahrhundert, 1999, ISBN 3-920388-74-7 Vol. 9: Paul-Georg Custodis: Zeugnisse aus Industrie und Technik, 1998, ISBN 3-920388-75-5 Vol. 10: Reinhard Lahr: Museums-Landschaft Mittelrhein, 1998, ISBN 3-920388-76-3 Vol. 11: Franz-Josef Heyen: Spuren der Geschichte, 1998, ISBN 3-920388-77-1 Vol. 12: Stella Junker-Mielke: ... ich war matt vor Seligkeit. Gärten und Parks, 2003, ISBN 3-935690-20-7 Vol. 13.1: Michael Huyer: Zur Geschichte der Juden am Mittelrhein, vol. 13.1: Synagogen und andere Kultstätten, 2006, ISBN 3-935690-44-4 Vol. 13.2: Michael Huyer: Zur Geschichte der Juden am Mittelrhein, vol. 13.2: Jüdische Friedhöfe, 2006, ISBN 3-935690-45-2 Vol. 14: Bruno P. Kremer & Thomas Merz: Natur und Landschaft am Mittelrhein, 2008, ISBN 3-935690-67-3, ISBN 978-3-935690-67-6

Franz-Josef Heyen: Der Mittelrhein im Mittelalter, Mittelrhein-Verlag GmbH, Koblenz, 1988, ISBN 3-925180-03-6 Christian Schüler-Beigang (ed.): Das Rheintal von Bingen und Rüdesheim bis Koblenz
Koblenz
– Eine europäische Kulturlandschaft., the central piece of the documentation for request to UNESCO, von Zabern, Mainz, 2002, ISBN 3-8053-2753-6 Erdmann Gormsen: Das Mittelrheintal – Eine Kulturlandschaft im Wandel, Leinpfad, Ingelheim, 2003, ISBN 3-9808383-2-3 UNESCO-Welterbe Oberes Mittelrheintal, topographic recreational map 1 : 25000, jointly edited by the State Office for Surveying and Geobasis information Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
and Hesse
Hesse
State Office of Land Management and Geoinformation, 2nd edition, State Agency for Surveying and Geobasis information Rheinland-Palatinate, Koblenz, 2005, ISBN 3-89637-363-3, ISBN 3-89637-364-1, ISBN 3-89637-365-X (set of three maps: Koblenz
Koblenz
- Loreley
Loreley
- Rüdesheim/Bingen) Bruno P. Kremer: Das Untere Mittelrheintal. Flusslandschaft zwischen Neuwieder Becken und Niederrheinischer Bucht, Rheinischer Verein für Denkmalpflege und Landschaftsschutz, Cologne, 2009 (=Rheinische Landschaften, vol. 59), ISBN 978-3-86526-038-3 Franz X. Bogner: Das Mittelrheintal aus der Luft, Theiss-Verlag, Stuttgart, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8062-2328-6

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mittelrhein.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Middle Rhine
Rhine
Valley.

The 40 castles of the Upper Middle Rhine Castles
Castles
and ruins in the Siebengebirge Mittelrheintal (in German) RomanticWine.de – non-commercial site about Middle Rhine
Rhine
wines, wineries and classifications (in English)

v t e

Subdivisions of the Rhenish Massif

Ardennes Eifel Heuvelland High Fens Hunsrück Kellerwald Lahn
Lahn
Valley Middle Rhine Moselle
Moselle
Valley Süder Uplands Taunus Westerwald

Coordinates: 50°21′51″N 7°36′20″E / 50.36417°N 7.60556°E /

.