Let us now concentrate on the legend and how it came to be known as the "Mouse Tower."
This folk tale marks Hatto II as a brutally cruel regional governor, who maltreated and exploited the citizens of his dominion, by and large utilizing extortion, starvation and even murder to secure his ends, which was ever increasing sums of money and ever greater possession of buildings and land. His cruelty just never knew an end. At one point, he tricked farmers to make themselves comfortable in a large barn, then locked the doors, at which time his henchmen set the barn on fire, burning all the peasants mercilessly to death, devilishly remarking to his followers on the victims' tormented cries: "Listen to the mice squeak."
As Hatto was in the process to return to his residence, he was right away surrounded by a huge army of mice. He tried to outrun them by rowing himself across the Rhine to his tower, expecting that the mice
would be unable to pursue him any further. Dreadfully, he could not have been more wrong. They poured into the river by the thousands, following him into the tower, where they gnawed through the tower's walls and doors, finally cornering him and eating him alive.
Hatto's bone-chilling cries filled the air, even reaching the eastern embankment of the Rhine; however, not evoking any pity in heaven nor on earth, because they all recognized now the power of divine retribution.
Vineyards Along the Rhine River
Basically, they accompany "Father Rhine" on both of its embankments all the the way up to Switzerland. They are the very beginning of many wonderful and divinely tasting, thirst-quenching alcoholic refreshments by such delightful names as Riesling, Kabinett, Auslese and Gewuerztraminer, to name just a few classifications. All of them belong to the category of medium dry white wines.
Maia, also making her Granddad proud, by embracing the Who'sWho in America volume,
prominently featuring her Dad's father.
Stolzenfels Residential Castle
Niederwald Monument Near Ruedesheim
The Niederwald Monument is located near Ruedesheim on the River Rhine in the State of Hesse. It was built between 1871 and 1883 to commemorate the reorganization of the German Empire at the end of the Prussian/Franco War.
The first stone was laid on 16 September 1871 by Kaiser Wilhelm I. Its sculptor was Johannes Schilling and the architect Karl Weissbach. The monument's inauguration dates to 28 September 1883. The 125-foot tall monument figuratively represents the unification of all Germans in one Germany.
Important Data of the Cologne Cathedral (Cathedral Church of Saint Peter):
Construction: 1248-1880, Architect: Master Gerhard and others;
Covers almost 8,000 square feet and can hold 20,000 people;
Its two spires are 157 meter (515 feet) in heights;
The Three Magi reside at the site of the cathedral in a gold sarcophagus since 1164 A.D.
Since 1996 the cathedral is respected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
However, we do not wish to remain too studious, too spiritual nor too sentimental. This publication also understands and is sensitive to the more pleasant things of life: to be comfortable, happy, merry and well accommodated with the company we keep, good food, fine drinks and lots of pleasant music that nourishes our hearts, minds and souls.
The most beloved of Archbishops of the Cologne Diocese was
His Eminence Josef Richard Cardinal Frings
During the brutally hard times after World War II, he had publicly declared that
"stealing to assure one's survival against hunger (Mundraub) was not a sin
and therefore did not have to be confessed." This practice was later identified as
"Fringsen," based on the Cardinal's last name.
With this stance of Christian conviction and citizenship responsibility against German and
Occupation Allied Police he had, irrevocably, won the hearts and souls of all his fellow Christians,
even beyond his own church-ordained jurisdiction.
This moral conviction represents also a moral reflection of the imminent conviction found in the hearts and minds of many Rhinelanders.
Promontory in Koblenz, where the Mosel River joins the Rhine River, named after the local Commandery of the Teutonic Knights, it was constructed in 1279 A.D. The equestrian statue
portraits the German Emperor Wilhelm I. Construction of this monument was commenced in
1897 in honor of the 1871 completed political reformation of Imperial Germany.
Bingen (Bingium in the Celtic Language)
After the skin-crawling story of Hatto II, let us concentrate at least somewhat on the fair City of Bingen itself. It was first mentioned in official records during early Roman times, when it was the starting point of the VIA AUSONIA, a military road, which linked this particular settlement with the renowned City of Trier in 236.
This beautiful and romantic river is the most important waterway in Europe, 1,300 km long. It has its origin in the St. Gotthard Mountains of Switzerland and its arms Waal and Leck empty into the North See (Atlantic) region of the Netherlands. The most important tributaries are the Neckar, Main, Lahn, Ruhr and Lippe. A network of canals connect it to the rivers Rhone, Marne, Ems, Weser and Danube.
When visiting the Rhine, one observes all types of river and costal vessels on it, especially from all the shipping oriented nations of Central Europe; however, most of them showing the flags of Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and France.
Paul's City of Birth
Das Deutsche Eck (The German Corner)
The preoccupation of the owners of the house depicted above is clearly obvious.
The Rhine River as Source of Life in Western Germany
Matias, proudly displaying his Borussia Dortmund Championship jersey, and, by doing that, paying homage to the German
land state Northrhine-Westfalia, which, in a larger sense, also belongs to the Rhine region.
A pre-French/Prussian War (1870-1871) armory near the
Village of Niederheimbach, still in use today.
We Like to Conclude this Travelogue
with a photograph of the Paddle-Wheeler "GOETHE," here en route to Rhine ports north, while we were traveling in southern direction. We had a rather close encounter with her.
Crowns are much more than those who are entitled to wear them. They are a symbol for the entirety of a cultural whole and the idea of enlightened statesmanship.
Our very last Rhine River experience took place from 1 June until 15 June 2023, beginning in
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Basel, Switzerland, and then return to Amsterdam, where we caught our flight back home.
The Bingen Mouse Tower
The Romans, and knowing history, how could it have been any different, were the first to erect a structure at the site that marked the entry point of the Nahe River into the Rhine. Geographically speaking, it is similar in nature to the German Corner but not in prominence as important.
At any rate, the tower was destroyed many times, but was also rebuilt quite often. The Archbishop of Mainz,
Hatto II, resurrected it for the last time in the year 968.
In the year 1298, the structure gained the status of official governmental customs-collection tower. The invading French Army tore it down once more in 1689. Rebuilt in 1855, it served the Kingdom of Prussia as a signal station.
Opposite, Burg Ehrenfels, now a breeding home for regional falcons, may not be visited. Built in 1211, by Count Philipp von Bolanden; its last Lord, in 1705, was Franz von Osten. The von Ostens have survived difficult times and tribulations, remaining to this very day a very prominent noble family in Germany.
Ehrenbreitstein, Ext. Appearance and Int. Structure
Our Father Rhine (Unser Vater Rhein) has undoubtedly made abundantly many contributions to the millions of people who have for more than 3,000 years resided on his western and eastern banks. The high quantity and exceedingly long lasting contributions include but are not limited to fishing, transportation, harbor operations, agriculture, forestry, wine production, fortified military construction, church building, bridge construction, hospitality, vacationing, Lukullic food preparation, composing of songs, writing of poetry and literature, as well as creating various forms of dancing and clothing appropriate for that pleasant and romantic activity.
Letting aside Germany's industrial evolution, especially along the Rhine contributory rivers such as the Neckar, Main and the Ruhr, the growing and developing of wine due to Roman settlement activities along both sides of the Rhine more than 2,000 years ago, the Rhine River is also the "Father" of the purest form of Romanticism that was greatly helped along by now romanticized old castle and palace structures, excellent gourmet wine tasting, inspiring poetry, sweet songs and beautiful women of all ages.
All of these elements combined produce the most winning constellation of all possible options related to this subject. No wonder then that the Rhine region between Koblenz and Bingen is now heralded as a most attractive world heritage site by UNESCO that can welcome millions and more visitors every year. The following pictorial documentation will concentrate especially on this particular phenomena of the great Rhine River.
Religion along the banks of the Rhine River deserves our special attention. Even directly after the battle against the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D., the Rhinelander continued to enjoy a "working relationship" with the Romans. After all, next to wine growing and well-fortified settlements, they had also brought Roman civil law, which, to this very day, continues to be part of German juris prudence.
And so, after the Conference of Nicaa in 325, church construction took up the next major building priority along both banks of the Rhine.
For this very reason, we wish to start our travelogue along the Rhine with the Cathedral of Cologne (Koeln), which was also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese that was vested with final authority over the administration of Heide's and Paul's churches, Ratingen: St. Peter and Paul and Oberhausen: St. Marien.
Ehrenbreitstein was first established in the the 4th millennium B.C. as a Roman fortification. In precisely the year 1000, the Nobleman "Ehrenbert" erected a castle on the hill overlooking the site where the River Mosel empties into the River Rhine, calling this fortification "Burg Ehrenbreitstein." Damaged by the French in 1801, it was rebuilt by Prussia between 1817 and 1828. In 2002, the fortress was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interior structure displays the building techniques developed to withstand extensive enemy artillery bombardments. (Near Koblenz).
Please, kindly also note the preoccupation of the villagers with flowers and the increase in the quality of life that these plants most definitely exude.
The "GOETHE" has a very fascinating history.
Constructed and first placed into the Rhine tourist trade in 1913, just prior to World War I.
Totally destroyed by two Allied Air Forces' planes-delivered bombs on 3 March 1945. Painstakingly reconstructed with all of her historical appearances and niceties and well-equipped with newest navigational equipment and aids, she re-entered the modern Rhine River tourist business on 4 May 1953. The Paddle-Wheeler "Goethe" can carry up to 930 passengers.
The "GOETHE," along with her sister ships, CLAUDIUS, EICHENDORF, FONTANE, HEBBEL, HOELDERLIN, KANT, KELLER, LESSING, SCHILLER and many others, represent part of the overall German cultural effort to honor its greatest poets, thinkers and philosophers, such as the personalities enumerated above.
Central European tourists are bound to encounter them, when they tour the following German rivers:
Elbe, Donau, Main, Mosel, Neckar, Rhine and Weser as well as the canals interconnecting the previously mentioned waterways. And last but not least, we need to include in this list Lake Constance.
Enjoyed in moderation, these things are heaven on earth; however, consumed to access, they can definitely also be hell! However, during our many personal visits to the Rhine region, the latter we never observed. Instead, we found a sophisticated, nearly heavenly ambiance that was conducive to good times, all the way around.
Ducal /Princely House Gulgowski-Doliwa,
The Dukes of Lower Silesia (Glogau)
The Ducal/Princely Couple Paul W. and Heide A.M. Gulgowski-Doliwa
thank their visitors, alone in May 2023 more than 1,500,
for their most appreciated and sincerely acknowledged gratitude.
Many of the settlements along the Rhine River are so old that their dating cannot be precisely determined.
Rhens (south of Koblenz) is one of them.
Professor Dr. Paul W. Prince Gulgowski-Doliwa, Duke of Lower Silesia (Glogau)
Co-Author, Editor and Principal Photographer:
Grand Dame Heide Anna Maria Princess Gulgowski-Doliwa, Duchess of Lower Silesia (Glogau)
Lorelei is a German legend of a beautiful maiden, who threw herself into the Rhine River in despair
over a faithless lover and was henceforth transformed into a Siren who lured fishermen and ship captains to their destruction. Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm support the above presentation in their 720-page book "Deutsche Sagen."
Richard Wagner has also, among many other brilliant productions, given us the dwarf "Alberich" as guardian of the Nibelungen treasure that was hidden beneath the waters of the Rhine River.
In his opera cycle "Der Ring der Nibelungen," Alberich is the chief of the Nibelungen dwarves and the main antagonist driving events. In "Das Rheingold," the first opera in the cycle, Alberich gains the power to forge the ring after renouncing love and stealing the gold of the Rhine River, of which the ring is formed.
By the way, Mr. Juergens also played the main villain "Shipping Oligarch Mr. Stromberg" in the James Bond 007 movie "The Spy, Who Loved Me."
Maus and Katz Castles above St. Goarshausen
(Dear Readers, please note the play of words here:
It suggests the age old and natural rivalry between cats and mice.)
Burg Maus was built in 1356 by Archbishop Elector of Trier Bohemond II and Burg Katz was constructed in 1371 by Count William II of Katzenelnbogen. We ask our dear readers to please note the historical prominence of Archbishop Bohemond II. Having been a Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was actively involved in bringing about a decision as to who was to be selected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
The Reichenstein Castle Complex, South of Bacharach
This Rhineland Palatinate more massive and representational than its construction cousin a little further up north, with an undetermined precise construction date during the early 15th century, offers an impressive and noble nostalgic view, gratifying the many mobilized camping guests that favor this type of Rhine River ambiance.
And, oh yes, ONE LAST THOUGHT, to this travel documentary:
Our dearest daughter and son, Princess Audrey and Duke Paul II, have already, on several occasions, been introduced to the breathtaking magic of the central Rhineland; however, not so their children. May they find in their hearts and purses
the means to make this dream also possible for them. Below, please note the angelic children of Natalia and Paul, who definitely would be inspired by a Rhine journey, if their parents could see the wisdom of doing so.
Over our combined lifespan of more than 154 years, we both have visited our "Father Rhine" at least 55 times, and to this very day, we have never grown tired of him. We adore and love this river so much that we have dedicated this webpage to him with greatest gratitude, love and admiration.
Our dedication to the Rhine River finds also reflection on Duke Gulgowski-Doliwa's Commonwealth of Kentucky Colonel's uniform.
U.S. Military Personnel, who have during periods of intensive times and increased stress while serving in the Federal Republic of Germany or Berlin, are authorized the following decoration, which prominently and distinctly display the Rhine River.
For more teeth-grinding experiences in the Western Sectors of Berlin, during the Four-Powers occupation there, the U.S. Congress gifted to U.S. Berlin veterans the Cold War Victory medal, depicted last in the
exhibition provided below.
This town was first the home of Celtic people. Eventually, the Romans made themselves comfortable there.
Today, thousands of tourists from all over the world desire to visit this picturesque town. (Boppard is locatedopposite from Kamp Bornhofen.)
Heide's City of Birth
Rheinfels Castle Above St. Goar
Burg Rheinfels, the German name, is located above the town of St. Goar. It was erected by Count Diether V of Katzenelnbogen in the year 1245. It provides a haunting ambiance to St. Goar, which was named after a native of France, a priest and hermit, who lived and worked from 585 - 649. Noteworthy is that he had been offered the title and privilege of Bishop of Trier, yet declined because of his sincere piety and sacred gift as a miracle worker. In the Holy Roman Catholic Church he is revered as Patron Saint of Innkeepers, potters and vine growers.
To this very day, Bishop Hatto II is depicted, even on his official portrait, with mice crawling around on his church vestments.
In any case, the geographical, historical and psychological inferences of the Rhine incalculably contributed to endearing the Rhineland and also the rest of Western Germany to the hearts of many Americans in Europe as well as at home, across the Atlantic.
Considered with all historical/political fairness, the French and the British were also involved in guarding the River Rhine during the post World War II Cold War. However, they did not come up with an appropriate decoration to recognize that type of military achievement of their soldiers.
Our documentation of castles and similar fortifications along the Rhine River are by no means complete.
Our photographs have been taken from shipboard. Visitors to the Rhine region, when traveling along the stream via railroad, on both sides of the Rhine, will also be able to observe a multitude of fortifications and defense structures. Kindly note a few images in this regard below.
Der Vater Rhein
The Rhine River
Now, the fairytales of the Rhine River region took over and the beheading took a totally different turn. Fairytales do their very best to make wrong things right, at last and unexpected moments.
In "Schinderhannes'" case, he begged for and received from the Commander of Gendarms the privilege to save his gang members from their gruesome end as follows:
HIs buddies were to be lined up and to be unconditionally freed, provided the already at that time sword-beheaded "Schinderhannes" could manage to run past them without his head on his shoulders.
As the saga goes, our hero managed to do just that, and the Chief Gendarm had to keep his word in front of the assembled multitudes, who, in the past, had grown to love and adore their "Schinderhannes."
This story, to this very day, is still being told to the children of the Hunsrueck region, who in turn, will tell it to their children and grandchildren. And so it will go on, as long as this world will turn.
This partially true and partially fictitious story has also been made into a best-selling movie with Mr. Curt Juergens in the role of chief antagonist. Please note the picture below.
Ruedesheim was first mentioned in documentations dated 1074. Its livelihood rested primarily on wine growing and shipping, especially timber rafting.
Ruedesheim's Lucullic specialties are various sorts of Riesling wines.
The old castle remnants are that of a fortress from the 12th century named Boosenburg with a present central "Bergfried," which is a kind of tall tower.
The Small but Very Historical Town of Kaub
Because we have already displayed the Kaub Mid-Rhine-River tax-collecting fortress in our introduction of this short Rhine River historical appreciation study, we did take the liberty of displaying at this particular instance a smaller copy of Wilhelm Camphausen's oil painting portraying Silesian/Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht Bluecher, Prince von Wahlstatt. He was acknowledged instrumental in defeating Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
The painting itself was completed in 1860. Its factual details are staggering, providing a realistic representational depiction of about 50,000 soldiers, 15,000 horses and 182 artillery guns.
The architectural stars of this painting are, of course, Burg Gutenfels, constructed in 1220, which was used in conjunction with Toll Castle Pfalzgrafenstein on Falkenau Island, erected between 1326 and 1327 by the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV, called "The Bavarian."
As our esteemed readers will probably have noticed: We are most partial to these two wonderful and promising edifices. Very true! On a private note, the Ducal/Princely couple Gulgowski-Doliwa enjoyed the privilege of having stayed at Burg Gutenfels for a wonderful, fall-colored sunny weekend about 34 years ago.
Father Rhine; Divine, Majestic and Serenely Beautiful
Sagas, legends, fairytales and folksongs combine realities with wishful (mostly good and decent) thinking and action. This is particularly true for children but also for many adults, for which all of us must remain appreciative and thankful. Proper and continuous positive behavior also have their origin in that type of feeling, thinking and deportment.
The above print by Arthur Rackham depicts the Rhine Maidens teasing Alberich.
The Rhine, next to being a geographic phenomena, is probably Germany's largest source of sagas, legends, fairytales and folksongs, according to Else Franke. In her book "Sagen vom deutschen Rhein," she selected, edited and published more than seventy of them, the probably worldwide best known fairytale being that of "Lorelei."
The Northwestern Land State
of 16 German Land States
Die Marksburg of 1100 A.D.
The Prussians, Masters of the German East, after displacing our very own ancestors of Silesia, also conquered the Rhineland up to and including Frankfurt on the Main River in the year 1763. By this action, they prevented, among many other things, the Hessian troops from being deployed on behalf of Great Britain in America. With a history of having never been destroyed, the Marksburg eventually became an old soldiers home for Prussian military veterans. (The Marksburg is located opposite the village of Rhens.)
Although, the Ducal/Princely Couple of Lower Silesia (Glogau) has deep roots in Eastern Europe,
only two generations ago, their closest ancestors resided in the Kingdoms of Prussia and Saxony (respectively), their most recent geographical association is best identified by the Rhine River.
Now that we have depicted evil in its most bestial form, let us now concentrate on a most prominent person of the City of Bingen itself. She is a most excellent example of what is solidly decent, good, pious and intellectual. The person, who best personifies these qualities, is no one else but Saint Hildegard of Bingen: A Benedictine abbess, polymath, musician and genuine intellectual visionary, who excelled in literature, medical research and her dedicated service as a medical practitioner (1098-1179).
Between 1142 and 1174, she created three visionary books: Scivias (Know the Ways); Liber Vitae Meritorum (Book of the Rewards of Life); and Liber Divinorum Operum (Book of Divine Works).
During her entire life, she literally maintained a low profile, always personifying more than she openly displayed as long as she lived.
On 10 May 2012, Pope Benedict XVI, who himself was a renowned philosopher, historian and theologian, extended the liturgical cult of Hildegard to the entire Catholic Church in a process known as "equivalent canonization." On 7 October 2012, he named her a Doctor of the Church in recognition of her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching.
Werner Church Ruins, Bacharach
This former House of Worship was constructed in 1293. Its southern arm became the home of the locally renowned Werner Altar. Its eastern wing was constructed in 1237. The construction conclusion of this religious edifice was recorded in the year 1426. The Professor of Theology and well-known humanist
Winand von Steeg needs to be credited for his historically somewhat belated effort. Up to the point of the
Lutheran Reformation in Germany, Bacharach and its municipal church served as famous pilgrimage sites. During the Rhineland Palatinate throne accession war in 1689, the Werner Church was destroyed and has not been reconstructed to this very day.
The church ruins are overlooked by Stahleck Castle, currently serving as a youth hostel, first mentioned in the
11 th century. The Palatinate Counts had made this fortress one of their residential homes.
13th century Heimburg Castle
Regretably, we were unable to provide a current photograph of the Niederwald Monument (a short distance north of Ruedesheim), because when we traveled past it, it was shrouded from the view of unlookers because of ongoing restoration. Please note the picture below.
Stolzenfels (near Koblenz) was a neglected 13th century castle that was gifted to Prussian Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm in 1823. He rebuilt it as a 19th century palace in the Gothic Revival style. Queen Victoria of Great Britain enjoyed her Honeymoon with Prince Albert there. It served also as the wedding venue for Prince Bernd Hartmut Gulgowski-Doliwa of Lower Silesia and his bride Brigitte in 1972.
Today, it is revered and respected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Kindly note the inscription above: Wein (Wine), Weib (Women), not visible on top of the third element of this bay window, Gesang (Songs).
The Ducal Couple, with
H.H. Prince Enrique de Borbon
at the Imperial Spanish Court in Segovia, Spain,
Celebrating our Exceedingly Well Deserved Award of the
Imperial Hispanic Chivalric Order of Charles V.
All Power, Glory and Honor ultimately belongs to our LORD GOD!
This castle, first mentioned in historical records in the year 1271, marks the eastern fringes of the Soon Forest, which, as integral part of the Hunsrueck region, is a picturesque area of Rhineland Palatinate.
During the late 18th century, when Emperor Napoleon roamed nearly unopposed through the southern Rhine region of feudal Germany, a man named "Schinderhannes" hid in the Soon Forest, making a reputation for himself equal or better to that of Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest acclaim.
"Schinderhannes" as a law abiding citizen known under the name of Johannes Bueckler, also took from the very rich to give to the very poor. Obviously, no self-respecting society can tolerate that type of wealth acquisition and socially just retribution.
To make this long story short, "Schinderhannes" and his henchmen and -women, twelve of them (hint/hint), were eventually caught by Napoleon's gendarms, were judged, found guilty and beheaded. At least, that was the plan.
The settlement of Kamp-Bornhofen is located on the opposite Rhine side from Boppard. It is the home of the Franziscan Monks, who maintain a cloister to worship St. Mary. Records manifest it first in the year 1110.
The fortress Burg Liebenstein dates back to the 13th century. Burg Sterrenberg takes pride in having been first mentioned in public records in the year 1034. Both castles are locally known as the "Hostile Brothers."