The rather free community of Bacharach
Bacharch, according to Heinrich Heine, was originally one of the municipalities that were founded by the Romans during their rule on the Rhine.
"Although the times that came after were very stormy, and although they had to submit first to the Hohenstaufen and then to the Wittelsbach dynasties, the inhabitants nonetheless managed, following the example of other cities on the Rhine, to maintain a rather free community."
This rather free community consisted of an alliance of different social elements, particularly the patricians and the various guilds of skilled artisans. These groups were unified when to came to warding off the raids of the robber-knights from nearby castles, but were constantly feuding internally, with each group trying to get the upper hand.
GPS 50° 3'35.61" North; 7°46'4.92" East
in 2004 we where again in Bacharach
Last year we stayed two days at Rudesheim.
One day we rented bikes and decide to ride along the Rhine to Bacharach, we discovered a nice small camping spot directly along the river, so we said to each other maybe this is a good place to stay when we are at the way back from Italy.
So we did this year. We got a nice spot along the river.
In the evening we sat with a glass of wine along the river Rhine looking at the boats
The “movie star” of Bacharch – Alterhaus (German for Old House) is the oldest and most photographed building in town. This half-timbered house was built in 1368 and is known as one of the most famous ones in the Loreley Valley. It was praised by German poets, composers, and moviemakers. Today it serves as a “Weinstube” – a kind of a wine bar where you can enjoy the local wine and have something small to eat like cheese etc.
The murder of "Saint" Werner in 1287
The first documentary evidence of Jews living in Bacharach is from the year 1019. At times the Jewish residents seem to have been quite secure in Bacharach, but there is evidence of persecution and pogroms in the years 1146, 1283 and 1287.
Heine mentions the pogrom of 1287, because in that year a sixteen year old boy named Werner, later known locally as "Saint" Werner, was murdered and the crime was blamed on the Jews, who supposedly wanted to use his blood for their Passover rituals. Twenty-six Jews were lynched in Bacharach alone, accused of murdering Werner.
These legends of Jewish blood crimes circulated in various forms throughout the Middle Ages in Europe, along with a related legend which claimed the Jews stole consecrated wafers from Christian churches and stabbed them with knives until the blood came out. Blood? In wafers? Yes, the faithful believed that the consecrated wafers contained the blood of Christ, which they thought the Jews wanted for their gruesome rituals.
Around 1300 these two legends were combined. The story went that young Werner was about to swallow a consecrated wafer when some Jews grabbed him, hung him by his feet, took the wafer for its blood and then killed the boy for his blood. People believed this for centuries, not only in Germany.
Werner was never officially canonized as a saint, but he was regarded as a sort of regional saint in the diocese of Trier, where his Saint's Day was celebrated each year on April 19th. This went on until 1963, when his name was finally removed from the diocese calendar (perhaps under pressure from the Vatican).
Modern research suggests that Werner's murder was probably a sex-crime, but for centuries the legend of his murder by the Jews was reenacted every year at the "Werner Chapel" in Bacharach, to keep anti-Jewish sentiment alive in the Christian population.
Now the Chapel is maintained as an appeal for tolerance among religions. In 1996 a plaque was attached to the chapel with the text of a prayer by Pope John XXIII (who was Pope from 1958 to 1963) praying for forgiveness for centuries of persecution of the Jews.
From top of the castle Stahleck
From top of the castle Stahleck you have a beautiful view at the Rhine river.
At the inner court of the castle are some banks and tables where you can sit down and relax, enjoy the view of the boats that sail on the river, and believe me there are many :-0
You can order your drinks at the reception situated at the castle.