|Environment/objects of interest
- Nahe Valley
- Mosel Valley
- Rhein Valley
|The romantic Nahe valley
The headwaters of the Nahe river lie in a forest valley, 460 m above sea level, above the village of Selbach in the Saarland district of St. Wendel. The constantly changing landscape with its extensive forests, narrow ravines, and wide floodplains that abruptly open up, follow the river on its 112 km route to the Rhine. On the upper Nahe, in the Idar-Oberstein area, one finds semi-precious stones such as agates, amethysts, mountain crystals and chalcedony, which were commercially mined until the end of the 19th Century. In Kirn, the next largest small town, there is a splendid view from the ruins of Kyrburg. A little downstream from Bad Sobernheim , at the foot of Disibodenberg ,
the largest tributary, the water-rich Glan, flows into the Nahe. In the Glan valley lies Meisenheim , with an old town from the Middle Ages which is worth seeing. From Disibodenberg, the Nahe flows onwards to Bad Münster am Stein and Bad Kreuznach, where saltwater springs are the basis for the health and spa industry. In the past, these saltwater springs also served as sources for salt (salt works and graduation houses). A few kilometers northwest of Bad Kreuznach, in the Ellerbach valley, lies Sponheim with the former monastery church of St. Martin, the most significant romanesque building in the Nahe-Hunsrück region. Near Bingen the Nahe finally reaches the Rhine.
Above is a picture from Lemberg, which is near Bad Münster am Stein in the middle of a 100,000 hectare nature preserve with steep mountain slopes covered by enormous amounts of scree and many rare plants. From the peak of Lemberg one has an unparalleled view of the Nahe Valley below as well as over a wide part of Hunsrück. A picture book worth seeing: Naheland Impressionen; Kreisverwaltung Bad Kreuznach, 1994
The Soonwald is one of the largest contiguous areas of forest in Germany. Its altitude (400-600 m; the highest peak is Ellerspring at 657 m), its low population density, and its distance from the large transportation routes of our time make it an ideal recreation area for people seeking peace and quiet. This wooded area is well developed. It has over 800 km of circular hiking paths with observation towers at the most beautiful spots, which afford spectacular panoramas. You can hike here for hours without ever meeting another human being, although traces of more than two thousand years of human history can be found everywhere. There are, on the heights of mountain ridges, ancient Celtic hilltop forts, surrounded by gigantic stone walls which easily exceed several hundred meters in length; there are ancient Roman long-distance roads, constructed some 2,000 years ago at a standardized width of 5 to 6 meters and protected by watchtowers at regular
intervals; and there are the remains of luxurious Roman villas. In addition, we find medieval fortresses and castles from the glory days of the political might of Sponheim and Kurtrier. And, there are churches and monasteries in the architectural style typical of Hunsrück with ingeniously painted surfaces and galleries; evidence of a very special race of people, who despite difficult living conditions and scant resources created their own works of art over hundreds of years. A race of people who, incidentally, you still encounter today on the farms of the elevated plains or in the village guest houses.
A picture book worth looking at: Uwe Anhäuser, Kultur-Erlebnis Hunsrück; Idar-Oberstein: Dr. Gebhardt & Hilden, 2000
Wanderführer: Wolfgang Bartels, Hunsrück; DuMont Buchverlag, 1996 und Norbert Forsch, Hunsrück; Deutscher Wanderverlag, 2000
Ergänzende Literatur: Landesgeschichtlicher Exkursionsführer Hunsrück; mit Beiträgen von A. Bauer, B. Lipps, W.H. München, E. Schaaf und K.H. Weichert, Herausgeber: Hunsrückverein e.V., Arbogast Verlag Otterbach, 1993
|Idarwald mountain range with Idarkopf (746 m)
Lonely forests, peaceful creek valleys, and protected moors are the distinguishing features of Idarwald mountain range, a quartzite ridge whose two highest points are An den zwei Steinen (766 m) and Idarkopf (746 m). It is not only the extensive stretches of untouched nature that fascinates visitors and draws them from near and far. The "German Gem Road" from Idar-Oberstein leads through such picturesque places as Herrstein, Schauren, and Allenbach into the heart of the region. Relaxation, enjoyment of nature and the landscape, looking for minerals, and getting enthusiastic about the manufacture and processing of gemstones —all this can be combined here in the most pleasant way. What should also not be overlooked are distinct traces of a very old cultural landscape, whose roots reach far back into prehistoric times, which can be found everywhere. The reconstructed Celtic 'Altburg' fortress near Bundenbach or the 'Belginum' archaeological
park near Morbach allow you to experience this era up close. The only castle surrounded by water in Hunsrück is located near Morbach and reminds us of the Trier Archbishop and Elector Balduin von Luxemburg, one of the greatest protagonists of the Middle Ages in Hunsrück.
A picture book worth looking at: Uwe Anhäuser, Heimat am Idarwald; VG Rhaunen, 2001
Hiking guides: Wolfgang Bartels, Hunsrück; DuMont Buchverlag, 1996 und Norbert Forsch, Hunsrück; Deutscher Wanderverlag, 2000
|Hochwald with the Erbeskopf (818 m)
The Hochwald with its dense forests surrounding the 818 meter high Erbeskopf (the highest mountain west of the Rhine in Germany) is a fertile source of sagas and heroic tales. Many researchers of local history suspect that here in this pristine area of the Hunsrück plays one of the central scenes of the medieval Nibelungenlied.
In this place, according to the saga, Hagen von Tronje slew the noble hero Siegfried at the behest of Brunhilde. In fact, Drohnecken castle at the foot of Erbeskopf mountain is thought to be a possible family seat of Hagen von Tronje. Hagen's friend Hunold is thought to come from the nearby Hunolstein castle. Moreover, the towns of Worms and Alzey —the most important locations in the Nibelungenlied— are little more than a day ride on horseback from the Hunsrück mountain range.
A picture book worth looking at: Uwe Anhäuser, Heimat am Idarwald; VG Rhaunen, 2001
Hiking Guides: Wolfgang Bartels, Hunsrück; DuMont Buchverlag, 1996 und Norbert Forsch, Hunsrück; Deutscher Wanderverlag, 2000
|The Mosel valley from Trier to Koblenz
The Mosel river with its length of 545km, isn't even half as long as the Rhine. It has its source in the southern Vosges, from where it winds through the area of Trier in order to reach a branch of the Hunsrück.
From there, until it meets the Rhine at Koblenz, it flows through the deeply cut, winding valleys of the Rhenish slate mountains, creating a natural boundary at the north of the Hunsrück. The Mosel valley is an important wine growing area with famous names such as Bernkastel, Traben-Trarbach, Zell and Cochem.
Guide book: Reinhold Schommers, Mosel; DuMont Buchverlag, 2001
|The Rhine valley from Bingen to Koblenz
The Rhine has covered two thirds of its 1320 km long trip from the Swiss Alps (canton Graubünden) to the North Sea by the time it meets a branch of the Hunsrück near Bingen. Starting here, it flows through the slate mountains of the middle Rhine region. The traveler passes through a very narrow 300m deep ravine where the Hunsrück is a natural boundary. Then he traverses the fascinating landscape of Hunsrück on his way downstream.
Along this way he sees world famous places such as Bacharach, Kaub, or St. Goar with the overwhelming rock of Loreley. He sees Boppard with its impressive Rhine loop and picturesque Rhens. At Koblenz, at the mouth of the Mosel in the Rhine, he has reached the most northerly point of the branch of the Hunsrück. It isn't far from here and the Rhine widens, with all the narrows left behind. The low plains now determine the flow of the Rhine to the North Sea.
Hiking guide: Wolfgang Bartels, Hunsrück; DuMont Buchverlag, 1996 und Norbert Forsch, Hunsrück; Deutscher Wanderverlag, 2000
|The District of Bad Kreuznach
The District of Bad Kreuznach welcomes and supports efforts to promote the
region. This presentation by Dr. Hans H. Stassen is a useful reference for all
interested parties, especially for schools. It gives a good overview and
contributes towards raising awareness of our charming Nahe landscape and
Facts and Figures
Karl-Otto Velten, District Administrator
The District of Bad Kreuznach is not a uniform geographical unit, but
encompasses a wide area of the middle and lower Nahe region, which is
completed by the southern part of Hunsrück with the Soon forest and the
Lützelsoon. Changing elevations with forests, farmland, pastures, and rocky
vistas distinguish this cultural landscape, which is thousands of years old.
Valuable finds of Celtic and Roman origins, as well as impressive historical
monuments from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, can be found here.
The district of Bad Kreuznach has a very good climate. This is well
demonstrated by the long "green" season there. For example, the beech
trees in the lower Nahe usually turn green about the 20th of April and only
start losing their leaves around the 20th of November. This is almost two
months longer than in the Idarwald and Hochwald forests 50 kilometers to
- Size: 863.46 sq km, 119 communities
- Agricultural Area: 40,489 hectares (46.9%)
- Forests: 33,035 hectares (38.2%)
- Traffic Areas, Paths, Open Spaces: 5,026 hectares (5.8%)
- Buildings and Undeveloped Areas: 4,403 hectares (5.1%)
- Recreation Areas: 1,110 hectares (1.3%)
- Bodies of Water: 818 hectares (1.0%)
- Commercial Areas: 503 hectares (0.6%)
- Other Areas: 986 hectares (1.1%)
- Population: 159,042 (as of June 30, 2003)
- Population Density: 182 per sq km
- Highest Elevation: Ellerspring (658 m)
- Distance from East to West: 42 km
- Distance from North to South: 40 km
- Nature Preserves: 33, combined area of 1,243 hectares
- Bordering Districts: Rhein-Hunsrück, Mainz-Bingen,
Alzey-Worms, Donnersbergkreis, Kusel, Birkenfeld
Hotel Maasberg Therme • 55566 Bad Sobernheim • Tel: + 49 (0 67 51) 87 60 • Fax: + 49 (0 67 51) 87 62 01 • E-mail: email@example.com