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Bacharach am Rhein - Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Rheinland-Pfalz und Hessen, Germany

Bacharach am Rhein is a charming town located in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz, in the western region of Germany. This picturesque town is situated on the banks of the majestic Rhine River, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Upper Middle Rhine Valley", known for its stunning landscapes and historic landmarks.

The town of Bacharach is steeped in history, with its origins dating back to the 11th century. Its name is derived from the Celtic word "Bacchi Ara", meaning "altar of Bacchus", hinting at its rich cultural heritage. The town has been a significant trading center since the Middle Ages, thanks to its prime location on the Rhine River.

One of the most striking features of Bacharach is its well-preserved medieval architecture, which can be seen throughout the town. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with half-timbered houses, quaint shops, and traditional restaurants, giving visitors a glimpse into the town's past. The iconic Stahleck Castle, perched atop a hill overlooking the Rhine, is another must-see attraction in Bacharach.

Bacharach is also renowned for its wine production, with its vineyards dating back to Roman times. The town is part of the German Wine Route, and visitors can take a tour of the local wineries, taste the famous Riesling wine, and learn about the winemaking process. The annual Wine Festival in September is a popular event, where locals and tourists come together to celebrate the town's centuries-old winemaking tradition.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Bacharach offers a variety of activities such as hiking, cycling, and boating. The Rhine River is a hub for river cruises, allowing visitors to explore the surrounding towns and scenic landscapes. The nearby Rheinsteig hiking trail offers breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley, and the cycling path along the river is perfect for a leisurely ride.

In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, Bacharach also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Bacharach Christmas Market and the Rhine in Flames fireworks display. These events showcase the town's lively atmosphere and its warm hospitality.

In conclusion, Bacharach am Rhein is a hidden gem in Germany, offering a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its charming old town, scenic surroundings, and welcoming locals, it is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the true essence of Germany.

The 65km-stretch of the Middle Rhine Valley, with its castles, historic towns and vineyards, graphically illustrates the long history of human involvement with a dramatic and varied natural landscape. It is intimately associated with history and legend and for centuries has exercised a powerful influence on writers, artists and composers.

Bacharach (, also known as Bacharach am Rhein) is a town in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Rhein-Nahe, whose seat is in Bingen am Rhein, although that town is not within its bounds.

The original name Baccaracus suggests a Celtic origin. Above the town stands Stahleck Castle (Burg Stahleck), now a youth hostel.

The Rhine Gorge is a popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 65 km section of the Rhine between Koblenz and Rüdesheim in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse in Germany. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2002 because of its beauty as a cultural landscape, its importance as a route of transport across Europe, and the unique adaptations of the buildings and terraces to the steep slopes of the gorge.

The region's rocks were laid down in the Devonian period and are known as Rhenish Facies. This is a fossil-bearing sedimentary rock type consisting mainly of slate. The rocks underwent considerable folding during the Carboniferous period. The gorge was carved out during a much more recent uplift to leave the river contained within steep walls 200 m high, the most famous feature being the Loreley.

The gorge produces its own microclimate and has acted as a corridor for species not otherwise found in the region. Its slopes have long been terraced for agriculture, in particular viticulture which has good conditions on south-facing slopes. Most of the vineyards belong to the wine region Mittelrhein, but the southernmost parts of the Rhine Gorge fall in Rheingau and Nahe.

The river has been an important trade route into central Europe since prehistoric times and a string of small settlements has grown up along the banks. Constrained in size, many of these old towns retain a historic feel today. With increasing wealth, roughly 40 hilltop castles were built and the valley became a core region of the Holy Roman Empire. It was at the centre of the Thirty Years' War, which left many of the castles in ruins, a particular attraction for today's cruise ships which follow the river. At one time forming a border of France, in the 19th century the valley became part of Prussia and its landscape became the quintessential image of Germany.

This part of the Rhine features strongly in folklore, such as a legendary castle on the Rhine being the setting for the opera Götterdämmerung. The annual Rhine in Flames festivals include spectacular firework displays at Sankt Goar in September and Koblenz in August, the best view being from one of a convoy of boats.