Roland’s arch

Rolandsbogen
Rolandsbogen

Already from far you see Roland’s Arch above Rolandseck. He reminds us of Roland and Hildegunde, two lovers who were not blessed with a happy end. It takes place in Charlemagne’s Carolingian Empire.

Hildegunde of Drachenfels and Roland of Rolandseck loved each other dearly and wanted to spend their lives together. Then Roland marched with Charlemagne’s army against the Arabs in Spain. For months Hildegunde waited for his return or a letter from him. Then she got bad news. The Frankish army had had to retreat from the greater strength of the Arabs.Roland, who was in command of the rearguard action, had lost his life in the valley of Ronceval. Hildegunde was desperate, she couldn’t image a life without Roland. In deep grief she took the veil to live in the nearby convent on the island of Nonnenwerth.

Against all expectations, Roland did come back one year later, but Hildegunde now lived nearby, yet inaccessible to him in the convent. Many long hours Roland sat by his window on the castle Rolandseck and looked down on the convent, and Hildegunde didn’t find peace either. Both suffered terribly.

One morning a squire found his master Roland dead, he had hanged himself right by the window. At the same time the bells in Kloster Nonnenwerth were ringing .. Hildegunde was born to her grave.

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