We departed on a river day cruise in Koblenz with the KD Goethe ship at 9 am and ate breakfast on the boat. One of the stops was at 1 pm in Bacharach. We stepped of the boat and admired this town which is one of the most beautiful places in the UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley. We saw half-timbered houses, romantic inner courtyards and cozy wine bars strolling down the street.
Celts lived here before the Romans came. The original name Baccaracus indicates a Celtic origin. For a long time there was suspicion that the name derives from the Roman ‘Bacchi ara’ (Bacchus Altar). The ‘Bacchi ara’ was a square slate rock in the Rhine, on which 25 people could stand on. According to legend, in good wine years when the water was low, sacrifices were made in honor of the Wine God Bacchus. The rock used to be between an island off Bacharach and the right bank of the Rhine. It was blown away after 1850 when the river bed was regulated.
Above Bacherach rises the Stahleck castle, now a youth hostel. The now modern Bacharach youth hostel in the castle from the 12th century is world famous. It has a unique and fascinating view over the Rhine Valley.
Because of the dangerous rapids in the Rhine at the ‘Binger Loch’, larger ships could not pass there. For centuries, the cargo was loaded into small ships in Bacharach, and then reloaded onto large ships behind the Binger Loch for the onward journey. The crane gate of the city wall is still is a reminder of this bygone time.
In the Middle Ages, Bacharach was an important trade route, a shipping and stacking point for wine and wood. The Bacharach customs were the main source of income for the sovereigns. The excellent wine was shipped from here to all European countries. The first wine market took place here as early as 1310. The ‘Bacharacher’ wine became famous far beyond the country’s borders.
I would have missed lots of sites of interest, if I did not have a German guide book. Here are some recommendations:
We left Bacherach from our 2 hour lunch break and stepped back on the cruise ship at 3 pm that took us to Rüdesheim