View from Ölberg

Discovering the Siebengebirge, Rhine Valley, Germany

With over 40 hills and valleys, the Siebengebirge Nature Park in Königswinter and Bad Honnef on the Rhine is a beautiful spot, a piece of paradise right on the doorstep of the locals or the landing stage of the Rhine steamer.

Our Siebengebirge has gone through an eventful history. It almost fell victim to quarrying, today many endangered animals and plants live here. You can visit three medieval castle ruins: Rosenau. In the Siebengebirge tales, you will meet dragons sharp as a tack, knights and ladies, a puppy in knight service, talking cats, the monk of Heisterbach and other legendary figures.

Annatal Valley
Annatal and Tretschbachtal

Annatal

After leaving the beautiful neighborhood of Bad Honnef-Rommersdorf, you enter the perhaps the most picturesque corner of the Siebengebirge, the humid valleys Annatal and Tretschbachtal.

View from Ölberg, Siebengebirge, over Drachenfels
Wolkenburg, Drachenfels and Nachtigallental

Drachenfels

Mount Drachenfels (321 m) certainly is the most famous hill in the Siebengebirge. It has inspired poets such as Lord Byron and Heinrich Heine and today it attracts countless visitors every year. The view across the Rhine Valley is amazing. The skyline of Drachenfels and Wolkenburg is a postcard motiv.

Heisterbach, Siebengebirge, the gate into the woods
Middle Ages Legends

The Monk of Heisterbach

Let us first look with the monk of Heisterbach into the Bible, New Testament, 2nd epistle of Peter. “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Wilderness Siebengebirge, sister beech and brother woodpecker
Nature

Wilderness Siebengebirge

In large areas of the Siebengebirge we leave nature be, and we give a lot back to her and also to ourselves. “A home for sister beech and brother woodpecker”, as Francis of Assisi might have put it.

Rhine and Drachenfels, 1921
Revolution and Rhineland Occupation

Occupation of the Rhineland

Rhineland, November 1918. The armistice put a temporary end to the fighting in the Great War. However, martial law remained in force, and the British fleet maintained its naval blockade.

Drachenfels, Löwenburg and coat of arms
Medieval castles

Dragons and lions in the castle?

Drachenfels = Dragon’s Rock, Löwenburg = Lions Castle – these names sound like places from a fairy tale. On the coat of arms of the burgraves of Drachenfels we see a silver dragon on a red background looking to the right.

Attached to our homeland, open to the world and tolerant
Love for our homeland and cosmopolitanism have shaped our region since the days of the Romans and Ubians – even though hate mongers and populists want us to believe otherwise. My “Rhine Dragon” stands in this tradition.

An Encounter with dragons and knights

If you walk through the Seven Mountains today, you will not come across fire spitting dragons. How could they, after all we are in the middle of a nature park. But you will feel it. Dragons symbolize trust in ourselves, the confidence that we can make a difference, even if we need to grow beyond ourselves. May you encounter a dragon on your hike through the Siebengebirge!

Be brave and upright, that God may love thee. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.”
From "Kingdom of Heaven"

Knights are not a relic from the Middle Ages that one brings out for costume parties only. Being a knight is, above all, an attitude, a high standard that we set ourselves to do our best. Almost every day we encounter ruthless people who cannot think beyond themselves, and intolerant people who verbally cudgel people with a different opinion or deny them having brains.

In the anonymity of the Internet, language often comes offensive. It’s no longer about arguments, mud is being slung on others. Trash is being dumped all around public places and trails. A modern-day knight would intervene rather than tolerate foul language and bullying. He, or she, would also clean up broken pieces or garbage before children and animals came along and got hurt. In short, a bit more chivalry would be good for all of us!