Thursday, August 06, 2009

May 8th, 2009 - Sankt Goarshausen

In 1885, Sankt Goarshausen had a population just shy of 1500. A century and a quarter later, the population has expanded to almost 1600 and the town has become increasingly dependent on tourism and wine-making for its existence. Squeezed onto the eastern shore of the Rhine in the section known as the Rhine Gorge, and directly across the river from Sankt Goar, Sankt Goarshausen is about 18 miles south of Koblenz. Two worthy attractions in the area are the Lorelei Rock and Burg Neu-Katzenelnbogen, locally known as Burg Katz. The Lorelei rock, a 400' slab of rock, jutting upwards out of the river bank, is a natural phenomenon making for hazardous river navigation resulting from the narrowness of the remaining passage and extreme currents in the water. Burg Katz, built originally in 1370, has been wrecked several times over the centuries, most recently by the French in 1806. It has since been rebuilt and is now privately owned. Pictures about town. Competition for tourist dollars is intense, not the least from Sankt Goar located directly across the river. Occupying a couple of miles along the river bank, St. Goarshausen also has two 14th century watchtowers from earlier fortifications at its southern end. Militarily, the two villages occupied a commanding location and Rheinfels Castle, on the Sankt Goar side, was for centuries, the largest and most imposing castle on the Rhine. Built in 1245, this castle ruled the river traffic and, in 1692, withstood an attack by 28,000 French troops. Ultimately, in 1797, the French Revolutionary army had their way and destroyed the castle, from which time its extensive ruins have dominated the hill over St. Goar.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Glad to see you are back in the zoo aka the United States. We are having an awesome trip to Alaska.