Sights of the Southern Rhine
An attractive Medieval town on the Middle Rhine
is a lovely small town in the middle Rhine Gorge and is a
popular port of call for the many Rhine cruise ships as well
as shorter cruises along the river.
The water front is attractive with its flowers and timber frame houses and dominated by the twin towers of St Severus Church. The Electoral Castle was not only a fortification to keep out enemies but also a toll collection point for passing ships.
The town was one of most important Roman settlements on Middle Rhine and has one of the best preserved fortifications in Germany. A 55m length of the wall dating from the C4th with its towers can be seen on Angerstrasse. The open gateway to the west leads into the remains of a medieval building.
The town used to be walled and one of the medieval town gates and part of the walls can still be seen on Bingergasse.
The town still preserves the medieval street plan with many narrow lanes connecting the main streets.
The Market Place is the focal point of the town with its modern fountain dedicated to local furniture maker, Michael Thonet.
The Market Place is surrounded by some very nice timber frame houses, often with elaborately carved and decorated frontages.
The Roman Catholic St Severus Church occupies one side of the Market Place and is one of the largest and most important churches in the Middle Rhine. The first church was built on the site of the Roman baths. When the Roman soldiers were withdrawn, these became a church. The original baptismal font survives beneath the nave. The present building dates from the C13th and is an excellent example of late Romanesque architecture. The inside is stunning with its tall clerestoried nave with triforium. Walls are whitewashed but all the arches and ceiling ribs are painted. Hanging in the chancel is is a C13th triumphal crucifix. with Christ crowned as a King rather than the more usual image of the suffering Christ.
Outside the medieval walls is the Carmelite Church which was originally part of a Carmelite monastery with twelve clergy and lay brothers, before becoming a parish church. It is a large double naved building dating from the C14th and C15th.
The inside is sumptuous compared with the plain exterior, thanks to donations by wealthy citizens, with several splendid Baroque altars and elaborately carved choir stalls.
We had just under two hours to explore the town and I would have liked longer.
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