On our river cruise with A-ROSA on the Rhine and Main we saw the beautiful town of Bacharach from the river in the UNESCO World Heritage “Oberes Mittelrheintal”, which we really wanted to take a closer look at. That’s why we used a nice sunny day in November to go on a discovery tour here.
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Things to know about Bacharach
Bacharach is a small, cosy town with about 2,000 inhabitants which lies in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley on the left bank of the Rhine between Bingen and Boppard. The city was first mentioned in a document at the beginning of the 11th century and is considered the secret centre of the Rhine Romanticism due to its very well-preserved old town. Many poets and artists of the Rhine Romanticism, such as Clemens Brentano, Victor Hugo, Heinrich Heine or William Turner, have already been captivated by the beauty of Bacharach and have captured them in poems and paintings. These triggered a veritable Rhine tourism already at the beginning of the 19th century and more and more people came to Bacharach. Even today, the city is a magnet for tourists from all over the world, mainly due to the medieval old town, the old city fortifications, the castle Stahleck and the Gothic Werner Chapel.
A walk along the old city fortifications (ring wall and towers)
Construction of the Bacharacher City Wall began in 1344. Around 1400 it was completed with 16 towers and a wall height of 5 to 6 meters. Today, the wall can only be guessed in places, because the stones were probably removed over time for the construction of houses and for the construction of vineyard walls. Nevertheless, the Bachacan city fortification with its old towers and walls is today one of the best preserved in the Rhineland. To get to know them, it is worth taking a walk along the city wall circuit that runs around the city.
In glorious sunshine we started in the old town (Mainzer Street, near the town hall) and walked the city wall past the hat tower and sun tower to Stahleck Castle. From there we went down again past the Liebesturm to the Steeger Tor. From there you can walk up the city wall to the Post Tower, which is located in the middle of the vineyards. From here we had a beautiful panoramic view of Bacharach, the Rhine and the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
The medieval streets of the old town
Walking through the medieval streets of Bacharach, we were able to discover many old, picturesque half-timbered houses all of which provide beautiful photo motifs. The central point in the city is the old market square, where the Old Cologne Hall or Kurkölnsaal which was once probably the most important secular building in the city, is located. Just opposite is the Protestant parish church of St. Peter, which was built in the early 13th century and is considered one of the greatest buildings of the Late Rhenish Romanesque. Above St. Peter’s Church is the ruins of the Werner chapel built in 1287, which used to be a very well-attended pilgrimage chapel.
A particularly idyllic district is the “Malerwinkel”. The small river Münzbach is lined with old half-timbered houses with beautifully landscaped gardens. Photo tip: If you walk up a few steps in the painter’s corner towards Stahleck Castle, you have a beautiful view of the district.
Other buildings worth seeing in Bacharach are the town hall, the crane tower, the former Electoral Palatine mint, the House of Utsch and the Catholic parish church of St. Nicholas.
The most beautiful photo motif for us in Bacharach is the “Alte Haus” in the Oberstraße, which is also one of the most famous medieval half-timbered houses on the Rhine. The somewhat skewed truss radiates here in wine-red tones, and the “Old House” also features gables, corner towers, rococo doors and green shutters. A true gem from 1586!
We climbed the town wall circuit to Stahleck Castle which is perched in the middle of the vineyards above the city. The castle was probably built at the end of the 11th or at the beginning of the Built in the 12th century and has a lively history with various sieges, conquests and severe damage. Today, the castle is used as a youth hostel, which with 168 beds records about 40,000 overnight stays per year. Therefore, the castle itself is not to be visited; on the other hand, the courtyard is freely accessible.