Bingen am Rhein Things to Do

  • Stained glass detail of illustration
    Stained glass detail of illustration
    by toonsarah
  • Hildegard enters the convent
    Hildegard enters the convent
    by toonsarah
  • Roman doctor's grave finds
    Roman doctor's grave finds
    by toonsarah

Most Recent Things to Do in Bingen am Rhein

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    CRUISING THE RHINE - KLOPP CASTLE - 1

    by balhannah Updated Jan 25, 2016

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    I love a Boat trip if it look's like a good one, and this one does!

    We quickly pull out from Port in Bingen, and straight away, we are viewing Bingen in a different way. No traffic to dodge, or park's to find, just sitting back and relaxing, seeing what Bingen has to offer.
    Well, the first surprise was seeing a Castle in Bingen.

    It is Klopp Castle, built as a foritification on top of Kloppenberg [Klopp Hill]
    We decided to visit when we returned to Port, which is what we did.

    So I will tell you about it now......

    Klopp Castle was not the first Castle built on this site, many others were, and many were destroyed! Klopp was partially destroyed many time's too!
    Local legend says, Emperor Henry IV was imprisoned by his son in 1105 or 1106, this being the first surviving mention of a castle here.
    Eventually, a wealthy merchant, Ludwig Cron from Cologne, began renovation's, then, in 1897, the Castle ownership was taken over by the Town of Bingen, and now is the residence of the Mayor and the Town administration.

    We walked around the Castle, and then took in the fabulous view's from here. The Sun was in the wrong direction for River Photo's, so if you want them, morning would be best. The garden's are still kept nice, and against one of the Wall's were some old headstone's.

    This area is believed to date back to Roman times.

    Address: Burg Klopp, 55411 Bingen am Rhein

    Website: http://www.steveclapp.com/places/kloppcastle.htm

    View Klopp Castle from Boat Klopp Castle Klopp Castle View from Klopp Castle Klopp Castle
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    Basilika St Martin: what lies inside

    by leics Written Jun 27, 2015

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    Although the church structure has been much changed over the centuries, and although it was severely damaged by Second World War bombing, I was pleased to find that not only were various Medieval artworks on display (I suspect many were stored elsewhere for safekeeping during the war years) but also that some older wall-paintings had been exposed. I'd guess they were protected from fire damage by the many layers of whitewash which would have covered them up in later centuries.

    What's to see?

    * The gravestone of a priest, one Eleutherius, which dates from the 5th or 6th century (400s/500s).

    * A whole row of older (1500s 1600s?) graveslabs are set against one wall, well-worn and some (I think) cracked and damaged by masonry falling on them after the bombings.

    * Three ?Medieval? carvings: a man with a scroll, a monkey and...of course.. a rather impressive Green Man. The Green Man has been repainted in very recent times (rather garishly imo) but I'm pretty sure the carvings themselves are much older.

    * A rather lovely sculpture of St Barbara from the early 1500s. There's a similarly-old statue of St Katherine too, though I didn't spot her...unless she's to the right of St Barbara?

    * A Madonna sitting upon a throne, dating from 1320.

    There's also a very flashy Baroque pulpit dating from 1681 and an early Dutch altar with five paintings, dating from 1579.

    Well worth a visit. The church should be open from 0800-1700 on Mondays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays and from 0800 - 2000 on other days of the week.

    Address: Basilikastrasse

    Directions: At the far western end of Basilikastrasse. Also accessible from Pfarrhofstrasse.

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    Basilika St Martin: the structure itself.

    by leics Updated Jun 27, 2015

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    I was determined to visit Bingen's Baslika, suspecting that it might hold some historical and architectural interest. It took a while to find it, partly because there was a huge amount of deep-excavation roadworks going on nearby so my streetmap didn't quite fit with the reality and I got a bit lost. But that was ok, because two two tall spires tower over the town and, in the end, I got to the church building. I then had to work my way all the way round it, trying every door in sequence, until I was almost back where I started. I finally discovered the only unlocked door, a tiny one at the rear of the church with a disabled access ramp!

    Excavations have shown that the church is on the site of a Roman temple. That is not really surprising because the vast majority of early Christian churches were built on already-existing 'pagan' sacred sites. A church is first mentioned in 793 though it is probable that there were earlier structures (possibly wooden rather than stone).

    Like all ancient churches, St Martin's has undergone a vast number of alterations, renovations, damage and renewals over subsequent centuries. There was certainly a Romanesque church on site in the 1000s and the crypt which you can see through the metal gates dates from that time. The gates have to be locked nowadays because of vandalism. :-(

    Additions were made later in the 1400s and then, in the 1500s, the northern part of the church was changed again and rebuilt in late-Gothic style. More changes were made in the 1800s (including the addition of the towers) and, inevitably, the church was severely damaged by the bombings of the Second World War. Reconstruction began in 1958.

    So...St Martin's is just the same sort of historical mish-mash as so many other ancient churches in Europe and elsewhere. But it still has much of interest to see and is definitely worth a visit. It should be open from 0800 to 1700 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 0800 - 2000 on the other days of the week.

    Address: Basilikastrasse

    Directions: At the far western end of Basilikastrasse. Also accessible from Pfarrhofstrasse.

    Romanesque crypt Tombstone in church wall Crypt gates
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    Rathausstrasse: what once was.

    by leics Written Jun 26, 2015

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    What is now called Rathausstrasse was, until the 1800s, called Judenstrasse, the home of most of Bingen's Jewish community.

    There was a Jewish community in the town from at least the 1100s, a community which continued throughout the Middle Ages. Expelled in the late 1100s and again in the early 1500s, the Jews nevertheless returned although the community was always small.

    By 1939 there were only 222 Jews in Bingen. By 1942 there were 169. All were deported.

    The Great Synagogue of Bingen (1905-1938) once stood on Rochusstrasse.There is a commemorative plaque, installed in 1983, on the small part which remains.

    Bingen now has a very small community of Jews, many from the former Soviet Union.

    Address: Rathausstrasse

    Directions: Pedestrianised Rathausstrasse runs between Basilikastrasse and the Fruchtemarkt, a busy road between the old town and the riverside.

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    Burg Klopp

    by leics Written Jun 26, 2015

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    Burg Klopp is on a hill above Bingen's historical centre, with an excellent view of the river and the surrounding countryside. It is very likely that the hill was the site of the Roman fortifications of what was then called 'Bingium'.

    I didn't go up to the castle itself, I'm afraid. I was determined to find the Basilica and simply had no time. And castles aren't really my thing, especially Medieval castles like this one...because what you can see is simply not medieval at all.

    The earliest mention of a castle one the site is from the 1100s, but it is probably this early structure was enlarged and rebuilt so that its final version probably dated from the late 1200s.

    But Burg Klopp in its 1200s version was destroyed in the Thirty Years War, in the first half of the 1600s. It was rebuilt by 1653, blown up by the French in 1689 and what was left of the structure was blown up again in 1713.

    So what you see now is just a 'restored' (that is, almost entirely re-created) version using the few 'original' ruins which remained by the early 1800s. I love the idea that this almost-entirely 'modern' re-creation somehow became one of the important sights of the 'Romantic Rhine' (and it was painted by the famous English artist J.M.W Turner, amongst others). Clearly, excellent marketing existed even in the 1880s and early 1900s!

    And yes...the castle, owned by the city since 1897, was 'significantly destroyed' (to quote Bingen's tourist information website) yet again during the Second World War. So the reality is that what you can see now is a re-creation of a re-creation. :-)

    If you do wander up the steps for a closer look you'll find that the castle holds the Mayor's office and some of the city's administration office, plus an upmarket restaurant...and it's also popular for weddings.

    I'm not sure if it is possible to climb the castle's tower (also re-created, of course). Bingen's tourist information website (linked below, with an English version) seems to suggest that it is open from 0800 to 1800 but i'd suggest you check with them first before setting off.

    The steps in the photo lead up from Burgermeister Franz-Neff Platz, which is off pedestrianised Kloppgasse in the historical heart of Bingen. Otherwise you can access the castle and the restaurant from Mariahilfstrasse.

    Address: Burgermeister Franz-Neff Platz or Mariahilfstrasse

    Directions: The pedestrianised part of Kloppgasse runs parallel with Speisemarkt, slightly further up the hill. Take Schmittstrasse or Schluesselgasse from Speisemarkt.

    Website: http://www.bingen.de/

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    On the opposite bank

    by toonsarah Updated Jun 26, 2015

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    Take just one glance across the river from your walk beside it in Bingen and you won’t fail to notice the huge monument high above the Rhine. This is the Niederwalddenkmal which, like the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I at Deutsches Eck in Koblenz, stirs mixed emotions among Germans and a degree therefore of controversy. The monument commemorates the foundation of the German Empire after the end of Franco-Prussian War – the same war in which Ludwig IV led his troops “in a soldierly, plain and composed manner” according to his sculpture here in Bingen. And in another link between nationalistic monuments in this region, the first stone of the Niederwalddenkmal was laid by Kaiser Wilhelm I who was later to have that one of his own in Koblenz.

    This monument is pretty huge, properly “monumental” in fact. The figure of Germania is 10.5 metres (34 feet) tall and the overall height is 38 metres (125 feet). It was designed to represent the union of all of Germany following that war and thus Germania holds the recovered crown of the emperor in her right hand and in her left the imperial sword. Beneath her the inscription (translated) reads:
    “In memory of the unanimous victorious uprising of the German People and of the reinstitution of the German Empire 1870-1871"

    On the base on which she stands is a large relief that shows emperor Wilhelm I riding a horse surrounded by 133 generals, princes, soldiers and others who played a significant role in the victory over the French. All are life-size, but only Wilhelm gets to ride a horse and thus tower above the crowd. Beneath this relief the lyrics of the Wacht am Rhein (Watch on the Rhine – a German patriotic anthem) are engraved. This exhorts the people of Germany to rush to the defence of the Rhine and was very popular during the Franco-Prussian War, and below it another relief shows Father Rhine passing a watchman’s horn to his daughter Moselle, presumably to enlist her in the duty of guarding the border. On either side of the main monument are statues representing War (left side – carrying a sword and blowing a trumpet) and Peace (right side – wearing an olive wreath and holding a cornucopia).

    The controversy comes from conflicting interpretations of the monument. Some argue that it was largely peaceful in intent, celebrating the stable nation that Germany could now become (some irony there however!) Others see it as bellicose, celebrating the power of might. For an explanation for that side of the argument you could do worse than read Trekki’s tip about the monument.

    But also visible from the river walk in Bingen, and much less controversial, is Burg Ehrenfels (photo two). The ruins are picturesque, and it is very nicely positioned for photography too, with a winding track leading up to it through the vineyards. The castle dates from 1212 when it was built to defend the archbishopric of Mainz and to exact tolls from those travelling this stretch of the Rhine, but it was heavily damaged during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and destroyed by French troops during the Siege of Mainz in 1689.

    I also enjoyed taking photos of the vineyards on the opposite bank, the vines making pleasing geometrical patterns on the hillside. Most run vertically up and down the hillside but here and there a horizontally planted field breaks the rhythm (we couldn’t however decide if there was a reason for this – drainage maybe, or the angle of the hillside towards the sun?)

    Niederwalddenkmal Burg Ehrenfels
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    Statue of Ludwig IV

    by toonsarah Updated Jun 26, 2015

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    This rather imposing statue is of the Grand Duke Ludwig IV, dressed in his artillery uniform. The nearby information plaque explains that he is portrayed by the sculptor, Hans Damman, as the "leader of the Hessian Division that in 1870, at the railroad embankment close to Gravelot, heroically withstood volleys of French grapeshot, the leader at left keeping the binoculars in his rapier belt, remaining in a serene posture, in a soldierly, plain and composed manner" [translation taken from http://www.vanderkrogt.net/statues/].

    Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig IV, Karl von Hessen und bei Rhein, to give him full name and title, only became “Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine” in 1877, and therefore after the date of this image of him. This relates to the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War in which he led the Hessian contingent of the armies of the North German Confederation, and in fact at that time he was not only not a Grand Duke, but also not a Ludwig, as he was christened Louis and only took the name of Ludwig on becoming Grand Duke.

    Oh, and he has a British connection. He was a son-in-law of our Queen Victoria, having married her second oldest daughter Princess Alice in 1862. Their oldest daughter, also called Victoria (presumably after granny!) went on to marry Prince Louis of Battenberg and to be the maternal grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of our present-day Queen Elizabeth II. Ludwig is therefore, by my reckoning, Prince Philip’s great great grandfather. Can you see a resemblance?!

    Directions: Near the boat jetties and the beer garden named after Ludwig. The website linked in my text has a good map

    Ludwig IV
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    Cultural riverside

    by toonsarah Updated Jun 26, 2015

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    The town of Bingen has created a pleasant promenade, the Kulturufer (“cultural riverside”) along the Rhine that runs the length of the town. This was renovated and improved in 2008 when the town hosted the regional horticulture show (Landesgartenschau). Several of the gardens created at that time remain, and there are plenty of places to sit and relax either in the gardens or on the promenade itself, from where you can get lovely views of the river, any passing boats (and there are plenty) and the opposite shore. We also encountered quite a few ducks, both on the boat slipways and in the park areas – no doubt looking for tit-bits from visiting tourists!

    Part way along is a war memorial (photo two). Unfortunately, although some signs along this walk are in English, the one here was only in German – maybe deliberately, given the subject matter? I don’t however have any problem with the idea of the Germans commemorating their war dead and nor do I imagine would most English visitors. Anyway, from my limited German I established that the memorial is to the fallen of a reserve infantry regiment who fought in a number of battles, including at Vimy Ridge and Verdun.

    Another rather different monument is nearby (photo three) – a monument to the grapevine and viniculture which has played so significant a role in the economy of this region. Indeed, you only have to glance up from the monument itself to see the vineyards on the opposite bank of the Rhine.

    Even on the cool cloudy day when we were in Bingen this was a pleasant place to take a walk, and i imagine in fine weather it is even better.

    Website: http://www.bingen.de/en/tourism/cultural-riverside/cultural-riverside-overview

    WW1 memorial Monument to the grapes VTers take a break on the promenade

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    Hildegarten

    by toonsarah Written Jun 26, 2015

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    Near the Museum am Strom, devoted to the life and works of Hildegard of Bingen, is a small garden known as the Hildegarten. This is designed to complement the exhibits in the museum by presenting some of the plants that Hildegard included in her book of 1150, “Physica“, which described nearly 300 herbs, shrubs and trees with their healing effects. Here they are planted in a number of small beds tucked behind hornbeam hedges in a design intended to be suggestive of a Medieval monastic garden, with sandstone paths intersecting them and benches dotted around.

    Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great when we were here so we only spent a short while looking at the flower beds, which weren’t perhaps looking at their best. Also the interestingly shaped “Quellenbrunnen” (a fountain shaped a bit like a snake but perhaps intended to look like a stream?) was empty of water and it was thus hard to appreciate the effect it was trying to achieve. I’m sure on a sunny day, and with water flowing, this would be a pretty as well as an educational spot. As it was we only paused to read a few signs (many of the plants are labelled, with Latin as well as German names – but not English) before leaving in search of lunch.

    Address: Museumstraße 3, 55411 Bingen am Rhein

    Directions: Arriving at the river from the town centre / station, turn left for about 400 metres. If you arrive by boat, it’s right for about half that distance

    Website: http://landderhildegard.de/sites/bingen/hildegarten/

    In the Hildegarten In the Hildegarten
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    Museum am Strom

    by toonsarah Written Jun 26, 2015

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    This museum is located in an old power station on the bank of the Rhine. It covers several topics of local interest but the main collection is devoted to the life of Hildegard of Bingen. She was a 12th century visionary, Christian mystic and abbess who wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts. The museum tells the story of her life and work in great detail.

    It is all very nicely presented but with a lot of emphasis on information panels rather than artefacts which made it hard to take in (although it helps that you can borrow English translations of these from the desk - 26 pages of them!). It's good to have those English translations, but somehow it was tiring trying constantly to match the text to the panels (numbering would have helped) and to take in so much information via dense passages of text rather than against the displays. It would almost even be better if they gave you less in English. They deserve credit though for trying, and the exhibits were as I said very well laid out

    I liked best here the copies of old books, the glass paintings on the upper level depicting illuminated images from her works, and the collection of items found nearby in the grave of a Roman doctor.

    In a couple of rooms at the back is a collection relating to the enduring romance of this stretch of the river Rhine, with old postcards, paintings and souvenir booklets. I found it interesting to speculate how the equivalent items of our times may be of equal fascination to future generations. Another couple of rooms here are furnished in the Biedermayer style though I wasn't sure of their connection to either Hildegard or the Rhine!

    Admission is €3 which is good value for the amount that there is to see here. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm and is impressively (considering the age and original purpose of the building that houses it) fully wheelchair accessible. The website, linked below, is available in English and provides loads of information about Hildegard, which if you are interested it would be good to read before your visit, at least in part.

    Address: Museumstraße 3, 55411 Bingen am Rhein

    Directions: Arriving at the river from the town centre / station, turn left for about 400 metres. If you arrive by boat, it’s right for about half that distance

    Website: http://landderhildegard.de/sites/bingen/museum-am-strom/

    Museum am Strom Hildegard enters the convent Stained glass detail of illustration From one of her books Roman doctor's grave finds
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    Marktplatz

    by leics Written Jun 24, 2015

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    Bingen's Marktplatz (marketplace) is one of the oldest in the Rheinland. Has its first written mntion in documents dating from 983 and almost certainly existed for many hundreds of years before that time. The weekly market day was Wednesday (and perhaps it still is?) with four fairs also being held each year.

    The modern-day Marktplatz is no longer bordered by its Medieval buildings. It seems that many of these were stone-built, as opposed to the usual timber-framed buildings of the time, but changes over the centuries mean that the evidence of their existence has long disappeared, although it may still exist in cellars and vaults beneath the more recent buildings.

    There had long been a well in the Marktplatz, originally with a statue of Saint Martin. The 'well' you see today (it's really more like a fountain) was only created in 1983 and its centrepiece is a sculpture which shows scenes from the history of Bingen.

    There are a few interesting buildings, although they date from the late 1700s and 1800s (I think). Unfortunately, one side of the small square has entirely modern architecture.

    Address: Historical centre

    Directions: At the junction of Salzstrasse and Speizemarkt.

    Website: http://www.bingen.de

    Marktplatz 'Well' Looking up Salzstrasse towards the Marktplatz Building detail 1 Building detail 2
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    Visit the Tourist Information office

    by leics Written Jun 24, 2015

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    Bingen's tourist information office is just a short walk from the railway station at Rheinkai 21.

    There are umpteen leaflets and maps available, many in English as well as German, many free. It's definitely worth spending a few minutes browsing to see what Bingen and its surroundings have to offer.

    Staff are very pleasant and speak good English, of course.

    There's a good large-scale streetmap of the historical centre outside the TI office and..perhaps most importantly...there's a toilet available for the public within the office itself.

    The official website below has an English versions, so it's worth spending a while exploring it before you make your trip to Bingen.

    Address: Rheinkai 21

    Directions: Rhinekai runs along the riverside, between Bingen Stadt railway station and the historical centre.

    Phone: +49 6721 184200

    Website: http://www.bingen.de/

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    Fabulous museum about a visionary: Hildegard

    by Trekki Updated Jun 13, 2015

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    I had planned to visit this museum since a long time but it was not before our small VT meet in Koblenz that I finally did. Some of us decided to come to Bingen early enough so that we could visit the museum.
    It was an excellent experience!!

    Already in the days before when I called museum staff to ask about availability of English descriptions of the exhibits, a friendly man told me that it won’t be a problem at all because all material about Hildegard of Bingen had been translated and, while not at the exhibits and maps itself, was available as printouts. And when we were in the museum, I could see Sarah, Isa, Kate and hubby busy reading the papers and looking at the maps, models and exhibits. So especially in this context: kudos and congratulation to the museum responsibles for having paper material at hand for non-German speaking visitors. This is not the norm in so many museums throughout Germany, a very sad fact given how much Germany wants visitors from abroad.

    The museum has various sections, connected to the town of Bingen: first of all the history which dates back to the Roman times and earlier, with exhibits of Roman surgeon instruments found nearby (fascinating! The largest set of surgical instruments from Roman times of 2th century A.D. which was ever found), with a model of the bridge across Nahe River from Roman times and more objects. Then there is a fascinating exhibition about Rhine Romaticism, especially with paintings, sketches and souvenirs of these days. My favourite among these was a folded book with sketches of each of the riversides from Bingen to Cologne.

    And then the section about Hidelgard of Bingen! I liked this one very much because it she, her life and work is laid out and described in a very sensitive manner: the various parts of her life from her birth in 1098 until her death in 1179 are explained in detail, also with models of the monasteries Disibodenberg and Ruppertsberg. In addition, her religious, such as “Scivias”, and her books about nature and medicine, “Physica”, are explained in detail. Very very interesting!

    The museum is fully wheelchair accessible, with a ramp, an elevator and wheelchair specific toilets. Entry is through the river promenade side.
    Admission fee: 3 Euro for adults, discounts for groups from 10 persons on.
    Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00 – 17:00, open also on public holidays and for groups upon request.

    The museum is housed in the beautiful building dated 1898 of former electric power station. Next to the building is the so-called “Hildegarten”, which means Hildegard garden, laid out according to her scientific findings about the various plants.

    Location of (1) Museum Am Strom and (2) Hildegarten on Bing Maps.

    © Ingrid D., June 2015 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.).

    Website: http://landderhildegard.de/sites/bingen/museum-am-strom/

    Model of the former Disibodenberg monastery Museum Am Strom, Hildegard of Bingen Museum Am Strom, the Roman bridge Museum Am Strom, the old crane Museum Am Strom, Rhine Romanticism

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    Rhein River promenade and gardens

    by Trekki Updated Jun 13, 2015

    Bingen hosted the regional horticulture show (“Landesgartenschau”) in 2008. This brought the Rhine/Rhein River promenade a magnificent improvement because the whole area between the Mouse Tower and the ferry to Rüdesheim was transformed into one large garden with artwork, flowers, trees and playgrounds. Several of these are still in place and invite for a relaxing stroll or to just sit on one of the benches and watch the world and the ships go by.

    The so-called “Kulturufer” (culture river promenade) is divided into three sections: “Park am Mäuseturm”, the park near the Mouse Tower with playgrounds for kids, “Hindenburganlage”, from the confluence of Nahe and Rhein River to the old crane, and “Hafenpark”, from the old crane to the ferry to Rüdesheim. Especially the section of Hindenburganlage is ideal to wait for the KD boat or other boat tours. I liked the rose garden, because it is nice and shady here and the smell of the various roses and other plants, such as lavender, is divine.

    In each of the sections are information boards, in German and English. Sadly Bingen’s website does have only a German version of the gardens and parks:
    Kulturufer

    Location of Kulturufer on Bing Maps: (1) Park am Mäuseturm, (2) Hindenburg Park, (3) Hafenpark.

    © Ingrid D., June 2014 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.).

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    Burg Ehrenfels

    by antistar Updated Jun 12, 2015

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    On the far side of the Rhine from Bingen are the ruins of Burg Ehrenfels. This UNESCO protected castle has been occupied by different warring sides for centuries, as the great powers struggled for dominance of this rich trading route.

    Burg Ehrenfels, Bingen

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