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Exploring Rhineland-Palatinate

Altenkirchen, Neuwied, Hachenburg, Katzwinkel, Horhausen

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A view of the city from tar memorial on the hill

A view of the city from tar memorial on the hill

Altenkirchen is the only German city where I stayed six times during my trips to Germany, among them three times as an interpreter. I have managed to see many of the splendid sights of this attracting tourist area: castles, houses, museums, cathedrals, stores, restaurants, hotels, etc.
With the population of about seven thousand inhabitants, the city of Altenkirchen has long been known as one of the smallest county centers in Germany.

The main street

The main street

a14ef770-a0c1-11e9-b579-e51ee9de3ded.jpga1488ed0-a0c1-11e9-abbe-f1e61ac2ae4b.jpgCentral Square

Central Square

I have even stayed at the former castle that is now a higher educational establishment: Friedewald (Schloss Friedewald). The castle used to belong to von Sayn family. Earl von Sayn was a ruler of this area in the 13th - 17th centuries. One day during our stay there, we had the honor of dining at the famous Knights Hall (Rittersaal). It was marvelous! The castle houses the Youth Evangelical Academy now.
I have also visited several other towns and cities of the county: Betzdorf, Wissen, Siegen, Au, Ingelbach, Gebhardshain, Horhausen, Katzwinkel and some others.

Bismark Tower

Bismark Tower

Once during a county tour we had lunch at the famous Freusburg – an old castle rebuilt and turned into a youth hostel. I remember a nice saying of the medieval German knights that I saw on the wall of the dining room. Tbe inscription reads, “God save me from thunder, lightning and dull people”. It made me think the medieval knights must have been very merry and optimistic people. Freusburg is a unique castle for its two-floor bay window - Eckerker. We call it "ercker" in Russian, too, almost like the Germans. I have never seen a two-floor bay window before.
I also enjoyed observing the samples of the German architecture of different centuries. I saw a very nice old building in the central street of Altenkirchen: Priviligierte Aphotheke (Privileged Pharmacy) dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. It is a typical Fachwerk haus in the style of baroque.

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It was great to attend a service at the church there. My host family and I used to go to St.Paul’s Cathedral in Altenkirchen.
I was also at Horhausen Cathedral dating back to 1902. Horhausen Cathedral is famous for its wall statues at the entrance: St.Mary Magdalena and Antonius Abbat.Each cathedral or church we have been to is unique and special in its own way.

The  main street

The main street

Friedrich Street is the central street of the city where different rallies and Christmas market take place. It is also the central shopping street in Altenkirchen. Therefore, when in Altenkirchen - take a stroll along this beautiful old street. You can see the building of the Privileged Drugstore - Priviligierte Apotheke - that dates back to the beginning of the 18th century.

a16390e0-a0c1-11e9-a1ca-a755561d45b6.jpga1540080-a0c1-11e9-9c75-a389d5503681.jpgA view of the city from the war memorial on the hill

A view of the city from the war memorial on the hill


War memorial on the hill

War memorial on the hill

Unlike the Former Soviet Union countries (Ukraine or Russia), visiting a war memorial has never been a must in Germany for our delegations or groups. In fact, I have only visited this memorial during my last trip to Altenkirchen and only because I wanted to have a good view of the city from the hill. The war memorial turned out to be on the hill far from downtown... One day my host took me to the hill. As he explained, nobody really goes up there except the local young people who turned the memorial into their weekend hangout. The memorial looks very special indeed. It contains memorial plaques with the names of all city residents who were KIA, MIA or died during the allies' bombing of the city during the Second World War.

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Westerwälder Hof Hotel

Westerwälder Hof Hotel

Westerwälder Hof Country Inn is where we had a wonderful farewell dinner with my host family and their friends during my last visit to Altenkirchen.It was my third visit to that place and I am sure I will be there again when I revisit Altenkirchen. We tried several wonderful specialties: baked camembert, pork goulash, Mexico pork schnitzel, beef soup with Markklösschen. The inn is located in Helmenze.

a10df6d0-a0c1-11e9-9c75-a389d5503681.jpga0f824e0-a0c1-11e9-b61c-49612f2576c8.jpgZum Eichhahn Hotel

Zum Eichhahn Hotel

At the hotel where we stayed

At the hotel where we stayed

I stayed at “Zum Eichhahn Hotel” during one of my visits to Altenkirchen. Its name suggests "At the Jay's" in English. The hotel has about forty rooms with all modern conveniences and a friendly staff. I met the owners who work hard there: the Walter Family. My counterpart and I enjoyed our meals there, too. The hotel has good views of the city and is located in the district/village of Almersbach on the hill above the city itself. The hotel has a good location and offers nice dishes of the local cuisine. Address: 20 Auf'm Eichhahn, 57610 Altenkirchen-Almersbach.

a1505700-a0c1-11e9-a30b-49ba08abcc5e.jpga0c7c610-a0c1-11e9-be4c-5d1040464446.jpgThe county administration building

The county administration building

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A terrace holiday in private households is popular here like in many other German towns and cities. During my last stay in Altenkirchen I was privileged to help my host family cook the dinner. Then we sat comfortably to consume it and to enjoy our company and conversation.

The main street

The main street

During the visit to Germany in May 2002, I was the interpreter of a folk dance group from Luhansk. We, 23 group members, came to Altenkirchen County on the invitation of our friends from the cultural department of Altenkirchen County administration.

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c5c430b0-a0b3-11e9-843b-81be16bfd05d.jpgc5ae5ec0-a0b3-11e9-b657-dfd1b818501c.jpgOld houses in Wissen

Old houses in Wissen

We took part at an International Folk Dance Festival in Balingen, and were at the same time invited to Altenkirchen County. We followed the invitation, took several trains from Balingen and in about four hours arrived to Wissen where our friends met us. The web site www.bahn.de helped us plan the trip and choose the cheapest route and trains. Thanks a lot, www.bahn.de [http://www.bahn.de]!

After our concert at the elderly home

After our concert at the elderly home

We did our best during all the concerts. We gave several concerts in Wissen, one of them was at an elderly people's home - Wissener Altersheim.

c52caba0-a0b3-11e9-843b-81be16bfd05d.jpgc4fe48a0-a0b3-11e9-843b-81be16bfd05d.jpgOld houses in Wissen_2

Old houses in Wissen_2

Overall, during my business trips to Westerwald as an interpreter, I managed to visit Wissen several times. The full name of the city is Wissen-an-der-Sieg. It is located in a picturesque countryside on the idyllic banks of the River Sieg.

There are dozens of smaller rivers and streams in this area. Their valleys are good places for hiking. Marked hiking routes with the total length of 320 km (about 200 miles) are available around the town.

The town is nationally recognized as an air resort. It lies in a hilly countryside located between 130 meters (426 ft) and 400 meters (1.312 ft) above sea level.

Wissen is located only 70 km/43.5 miles to the east of Cologne. It’s a good place for people who enjoy green tourism and quiet relaxing atmosphere.

The town’s population is only about 9,100 inhabitants. No matter how small the town is, it can offer a lot to its visitors.

The town has a lot of tourist things at its disposal: restaurants, hotels and inns, stores, museums, camping places, family leisure centers, clubs and sports facilities to satisfy almost any taste.

c33b62f0-a0b3-11e9-843b-81be16bfd05d.jpgc3084500-a0b3-11e9-843b-81be16bfd05d.jpgInside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

There are numerous swimming-pools, horse riding grounds, cycling and tennis clubs.

Grube Bindeweide (former iron mine), the local lore museum, monasteries, castles, churches and cathedrals, etc. are the things that attract visitors of Wissen. We enjoyed opur visit to the former iron mine. It was like diving into an unknown world.

A fountain downtown

A fountain downtown

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

Walking along the streets of Wissen, I marveled at the town architecture, its old churches and modern buildings and could not help taking some pictures.

Old houses in Wissen

Old houses in Wissen

The romantic Schloss Schönstein (Schönstein castle) built during several centuries from the 13th till the 18thcentury and located on the outskirts of Wissen is one of the favorite tourist destinations and a must of the town visitors. Heisterkapelle dating back to 1714 is another attraction in Schönstein.

During my last business trip to Altenkirchen, Westerwald, I was taken to this wonderful city and spent a day there. I have never planned visiting this city and was glad to seize that opportunity of exploring another city in that province.

Downtown Neuwied

Downtown Neuwied

Neuwied is a city in the north of the German province of Rhineland-Palatinate. The city is the center of Neuwied County. It lies on the right bank of the Rhine, 12 km/7.5 miles northwest of Koblenz, on the railway from Frankfurt am Main to Cologne. The city consists of thirteen suburbs: Heimbach-Weis, Gladbach, Engers, Oberbieber, Niederbieber, Torney, Segendorf, Altwied, Block, Irlich, Feldkirchen, Heddesdorf and Rodenbach The largest suburb is Heimbach-Weis with approximately 8,000 inhabitants. Over 66,000 people live in Neuwied now.

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Downtown Neuwied

Downtown Neuwied


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The history of the city dates back to the 17th century. Neuwied was founded by Count Frederick of Wied in 1653, near the village of Langendorf. The village was destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. The town rapidly increased owing to the toleration accorded to all religious sects. Among those, who sought refuge here, was a colony of Moravian Brethren. They built a huge cathedral that proudly towers in one of the central streets of Neuwied now.

  • The Castle will attract your attention during your tour of the city, I'm sure.

Neuwied Castle_1

Neuwied Castle_1


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It was the residence of Princes of Wied-Neuwied. You will see the monument to Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied not far from the entrance. The monument was erected in Neuwied in 1987 to honor Prince Maximilian's work “Journey to the Heart of North America” (1840). The Prince carries a rifle while Karl Bodmer is seen with his sketch book. Not shown on this photograph is the Mandan chief Mató-Tópe.

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Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (September 23, 1782 - February 3, 1867) was a naturalist and an ethnologist. He was born in Neuwied, the second son of the ruling Prince Johann Friedrich Alexander of Wied-Neuwied.
Maximilian became friends with two of the major figures of the European Enlightenment: Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a major comparative anthropologist under whom he studied biological sciences, and Alexander von Humboldt, who served as Maximilian's mentor.
Maximilian joined the Prussian army in 1802 during the Napoleonic War, rising to the rank of Major-General.

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He retired from the army in 1815. Wied led an expedition to south-east Brazil from 1815 to 1817, on his return writing reports about his travels and the natural history of Brazil.
In 1832 he traveled to the Great Plains region of North America, accompanied by the Swiss painter Karl Bodmer on a journey up the Missouri River. He wrote “Journey to the Heart of North America” (1840) on his return. During his travels, he studied the cultures of tribes such as the Mandan and the Hidatsa as well as the flora and fauna of the area. He also traveled in Honduras.

  • I enjoyed visiting the Kreismuseum - the County Local Lore and History Museum.

Local Lore Museum

Local Lore Museum

The full name of the museum is Roentgen und Raiffeisen Kunst und Kulturmuseum.

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There is an exhibition of Roentgen furniture that was very fasionable in Europe at that time. Brothers Abraham Roentgen (1711-1793) und David Roentgen (1747-1807) created splendid pieces of furniture that enchanted a lot of wealthy customers all over Europe. This is where different history exhibitions are often held. You can see the monument to Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen near the building of the museum.

  • Raiffeisenplatz (Raiffeisen Square) is located close to Roentgenmuseum (Kreismuseum) - the county local lore and history museum.

The monument to Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen

The monument to Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen


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Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818-1888) was the mayor of one of the present districts of Neuwied - Heddesdorf - from 1852 to 1865. Here he founded his mutual assistance associations and worked out their principles of work.

  • St.Mathews Catholic Church was built in Heddesdorfer Strasse in 1899-1904.

St.Mathews Catholic Church

St.Mathews Catholic Church

It became the third church in the city after the Church of the Reformed Christians and the Lutheran Church. I walked around it and saw the splendid mural of St.Mathew on its wall.

  • The Lutheran Church was built in 1881-1884 at the place of the previous church that was destroyed during a big fire in 1976.

Lutheran Church

Lutheran Church

The church was built in New Gothic style. This church is known as Die Marktkirche and is famous for its high belfry. They say the belfry used to have a high spire, but it was damaged during a bombing in 1945 and was then replaced by a lower dome.

  • Since the inner city of Neuwied is situated upon a former bed of the river Rhine, it is highly endangered by high water. Moreover, it is one of very few towns in the region protected by huge walls against the high water.

Deich-Krone

Deich-Krone


At the embankment

At the embankment


I was impressed reading these words at the back side of Deich-Krone building: "Allen Gewalten zum Trutz sich erhalten, nimmer sich beugen, kraeftig sich zeigen, rufet die Arme der Goetter herbei." Here is my English translation of that slogan: "In spite of all violence, keep steady, never bend, show strength and call the hands of Gods to you".

Welcome to Neuwied

Welcome to Neuwied

During my private stay in Altenkirchen, Westerwald, in December 1999, my host family took me to this wonderful place – Hambach Castle - where they had some business to do. Therefore, I could visit Hambach Castle.

Visiting Hambach Castle in the vicinity of Neustadt

Visiting Hambach Castle in the vicinity of Neustadt

I was glad I managed to visit this historical castle.
I had enough time for sight-seeing, while my host family was busy.
I did not visit the city itself and only spent several hours exploring the ancient castle and visiting the history museum.
Thanks to that visit, I learnt many new things about the German history, the things I had not even read about in any of the textbooks during my studies at the foreign languages college.

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About 30,000 people took part in Hambach Festival in 1832. It was the first peaceful demonstation for unity and harmony in Germany. George August Wirth was the organizer of the Festival. Philipp Jacob Siebenpfeiffer did a lot of PR work for this festival and afterwards. It was interesting to see the exhibits dating back to 1832.

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Visiting the Castle Museum

Visiting the Castle Museum


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I enjoyed my day trip to this place and visiting Hambach Castle.

Hambach Castle, Neustadt

Hambach Castle, Neustadt

I walked around it several times, visited the museum and had a privileged lunch in the castle conference hall. It was very informative, impressive and majestic!

During my stay in Altenkirchen County, my friends took me to Hachenburg. They had frequented that town as a nice shopping place and as a place of a quiet refuge. I was glad to discover the town I had heard of.

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My favourite postcards from Hachenburg

My favourite postcards from Hachenburg

I am grateful to my host family from Altenkirchen County for opening more places of Germany to me. I would not mind revisiting that town some day in the future.

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Hachenburg is a municipality in the Westerwald County in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, in the area called Kroppacher Schweiz. It is situated in the Westerwald, on the River Nister, about 10 km/6.2 miles west of Bad Marienberg and 30 km/19 miles southwest of Siegen. The town occupies 21.5 sq.km/8.3 sq.milies and the population is about 5.700 inhabitants.

The first thing we did there was to visit the castle. The castle is now occupied and administered by a finance school. In addition, we attended a liturgy at Marienstatt Monastery called Abtei Marienstatt in German. It was a special Meditation Liturgy. The visit was unforgettable and full of inspiration and reflection. The monastery is located in the suburbs of Hachenburg in a picturesque area.

I remember our visit to Hachenburg Local Lore Museum. It is a complex of old buildings with lots of exhibits representing the old rural life.

Local Lore Museum_1

Local Lore Museum_1


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Hachenburger is a famous beer trademark here. There are different sorts of that beer and I must say I liked every sort I tried! You can stay in Hachenburg a little more and attend the traditional Beer Festival (like the one in Munich) in October that takes place on the town outskirts on one of the hills.

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Zur Krone Pub & Inn is located in one of the oldest stone inns of Germany in the old Market Square. The hall can seat about 100 customers. They serve fresh beer from the local brewery. The address is: 3 Alter Markt.

Tired but happy in Katzwinkel

Tired but happy in Katzwinkel

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It was a privilege for us to stay at a small private hotel in Katzwinkel and to be the guests of the Boller family who owns that hotel. The view from the second floor balcony was fantastic! Looking out of that window I felt I was soaring to heaven. We were privileged to stay several days at Pension Boller guesthouse. It is run by the Bollers Family. Our counterparts in the Cultural Department of Altenkirchen County who had invited us to their county used to stay at that B&B with their families at weekends. We enjoyed the warm welcome and the family atmosphere there. We were like guests of their family. Address: 4a Alte Poststrasse, 57581 Katzwinkel.

Visiting Katzwinkel

Visiting Katzwinkel

The full name of the place is Katzwinkel-upon-Sieg. The town is located in the River Sieg basin in the northern part of Altenkirchen County in Rheinand-Pfalz. It’s a small community uniting several places: the villages of Katzwinkel and Elkhausen as well as several farmsteads: Hönningen, Hecke and Alsenthal. Its name would sound in English as "cat’s corner on the River Sieg”. It is located at the altitude from 200 to 350 meters (656 to 1,150 ft) above sea level in the beautiful mountain hills area known as Westerwald, a famous air resort of this province.

Visiting Katzwinkel

Visiting Katzwinkel

Katzwinkel used to be a iron ore miners’ village. Iron ore was mined here up till 1963. There are still many artifacts dating back to the times of iron mining here: the elevator tower and the mine entrance. The view from the second floor balcony was fantastic!

There are a lot of hiking paths running through the forest. They are certainly a good place for nature and sports lovers. The community is known for its cozy country-style inns such as “Arche Noah Marienberge” (“Noah’s Arc of the Mary Mountains” in English), a family enterprise. This small area is also rich in sports facilities and swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor ones).

Central Square

Central Square

Horhausen is a small town in Altenkirchen County, Westerwald, in the province of Rheinland-Pfalz. Its population is 1,750 inhabitants and it lies at 330 meters above sea level in atypical landscape of Westerwald.

A coffeehouse in Horhausen

A coffeehouse in Horhausen

My friends Petra and Christoph who visited us in Luhansk and their parents live there. I was glad to visit my friends and their parents in their town a couple of times.

Downtown Horhausen

Downtown Horhausen

Horhausen is located close to the A3 motorway. I found it to be a nice green and cozy town, very quiet and friendly. It is located in a hilly landscape and each house seems to have good views from its windows.

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The town cathedral

The town cathedral


Archbishop's monument

Archbishop's monument


My friends took me to Horhausen Cathedral dating back to 1744. Horhausen Cathedral is famous for its wall statues at the entrance: St.Mary Magdalena and Abbot Antonius. This cathedral is often called Westerwald Cathedral (“Westerwälder Dom” in German) for its size, beauty and importance. The monument to a Cardinal, a native of Horhausen, is another attraction here.

Central Square - The Maypole

Central Square - The Maypole

I also enjoyed staying downtown and walking in the Main Square and streets.

Posted by Vic_IV 03:39 Archived in Germany

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