Historical Museum on the River - Hildegard von Bingen
Even 2000 years ago the Romantic Rhine was a popular destination: the Romans felt very at home here. In many places you can still find their traces and the earth has rendered up numerous “treasures”. The Limes (pronounced Lee-mays), which was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the Roman frontier fortification between the Roman Empire and the Germanic clans and it begins here at Rheinbrohl.
Right up until the recent past the Rhine has always been a pawn, a frontier and transit bottleneck for soldiers, merchants, kings and church dignitaries alike. The Rhine valley experienced its golden age during medieval times. Together with over 40 castles and palaces, the towns of Bacharach and Oberwesel with their impressive town walls, towers and churches, are testimonials to an age when princes once elected kings here and crusaders set off for the Holy Land. For merchants and tradesmen the Rhine was equally important, even though it was often an expensive route, due to the payment demanded by the numerous toll castles and tollgates in return for safe passage. Most of the proud castles and fortifications in the Rhine valley were only destroyed in the 17th century at the hands of the troops of the French ‘Sun King’. Shot to ruins and pillaged, they became a major attraction for the Rhine Romanticists with their passion for wild, untamed nature.
For many travellers the wild river, jagged rocks and ruined castles resembling eagles’ lairs perfectly embodied the ideal of a primitive, romantic landscape. An appeal that has remained intact to this day and which has lost none of its impact.