Oberwesel is a charming town of around 3.000 inhabitants situated on the West bank of the Rhine and set against the imposing back - drop of Schönburg castle.
If you are fortunate enough to visit Oberwesel when the "Middle Ages Festival" is taking place (only, I am afraid, every two years at Pentcost) then a visit to the festival is a 'must'.
All stall owners are attired as they would have been in the Middle Ages and several stalls provide' middle ages' food.
This is altogether an interesting and above all a 'fun' event.
Some of the interesting features of Oberwesel are the red Liebfrauen church and above all the town wall.
This is perhaps the best preserved town wall in the in the Rhine Valley and it was in fact this that led us to visit Oberwesel - the aim being to 'walk around the town on the old town wall'
Unfortunately the wall though well preserved,it is on longer completely intact and so an uninterrupted circumnavigation of Oberwesel is not possible.
This said, it was still possible to walk around most of the town on the town wall which has no less than 16 of the original 21 towers still standing.
The town itsself is interesting old buildings - the quaint house on the right particularly caught our eye. It was built around 1600 - forgot to note exactly - oh well we'll have to visit Oberwesel again to record the date accurately.
I can just remember thinking at the time - 'Good heavens this was built around the time Columbus discovered America'!
Walking around the outside of the wall we came across a series a pictures representing various "Weinheilige" - wine saints - each picture has a little verse relating to the particular saint or one of the virtues of wine.
At the start was the placard above which reads:
"You should honour us the wine saints of the Rhine!As a heavenly protective force we accompany the annual progress of the wine grower."
Also fascinating were the wagon tracks
we found worn into the solid rock over the centuries. How many waggon trips, we wondered, were
needed to wear away the rock to this extent?- thousands, tens of
thousands, hundreds of thousands perhaps even millions!!
Thumb-nail sketch of the history of Oberwesel.
The first settlement in what is now Oberwesel is believed to go back to Celtic times - so well over 2.000 years ago.
Later the Romans established a horse trading station here.
After the 'Limes defence
line' (a line of fortifications the Romans had built - similar in
concept to Hadrians Wall in England),Oberwesel was settled by the
Franks and subsequently fell under the control of various principalities
, finally falling to French troops in 1794 and becoming a French
possession in 1802. The Vienna Conference then returned it to