Information on the Siebengebirge: nature reserve, history, legends
Welcome to the Siebengebirge! Our region is located on the northern end of the Middle Rhine Valley. For many people, the narrow valley with its steeps, vineyards and numerous castles is the classical Rhine landscape par excellence, and the epitome of the romantic Rhine.
Here on the Rhinedragon, you can visit the seven most famous hills which gave the Siebengebirge its German name, translated “Seven Mountains”: Mount Drachenfels with the medieval castle ruin, Mount Wolkenburg, Mount Petersberg with the hotel, Mount Nonnenstromberg, the highest mountain of all, Mount Ölberg, Mount Lohrberg and Mount Löwenburg with another medieval castle ruin. Of course, it is exaggerated to speak of “Mount ..”, the Seven Mountains are hills, but it might help distinguishing the mountains from the medieval castles of the same name. Although we speak of the “Seven Mountains”, in reality there are around 40 hills, and there are more beautiful sites to see, for instance the monastery of Heisterbach, the Nightingale Valley (Nachtigallental in German) and the Rosenau mountain with yet another medieval castle ruin.
History, Tales and Nature
Yet, our region has experienced hard times in the course of its eventful history. Often enough, the Rhine was the frontier, and many people have left their homeland because they were suffering great hardship or persecution. We will look into all that.
A hundred years ago, the Great War raged in Europe. The sequel to my emigrants’ story At home on the Rhine and in America, set in the Rhineland between 1914 and 1922, depicts the hardships that our emigrants and their family and friends in Europe endure. The Allied Rhineland occupation brings also American forces to the Rhine, and the family comes together again.
This is not history for history’s sake. I am so grateful that, after the horrors of the 20th century, we are together in the Western community of values, and defend liberty, open societies, tolerance and compassion. I for one am not willing to leave the floor to the hatemongers of the 21st century. We all lose if we allow what separates us to grow stronger than what brings us together.
Rhine and world
Of course, I can only show you a small part and hope that I can get you in the mood for a hike through the Seven Mountains. Or maybe you just get an idea of the region where your ancestors are from, and you might like to read my emigrants’ story. I’m at home here, and I’m glad when I catch once in a while a few words from other hikers in another language. For today, the Rhine flows right through a united Europe, and that is great.