The Loreley | Best places in Germany

View from the Loreley | Best places in Germany

One of the best known and most loved highlights along the Rhine in Germany is the Loreley. Maybe loved is the wrong word though: This is the place where in earlier centuries seductive sirens caused ships to perish.

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Why should you visit the Loreley?

From the 132 meter high rock near Sankt Goarshausen along the German Rhine you can admire the enchanting river landscape from all sides. Allthough you have to share that pleasure with busloads of Americans, Chinese and Dutch.

In history, many ships wrecked near the Loreley (or Lorelei). The Rhine, which winds around the rock with a sharp bend, at that point is at its narrowest (only 113 meters), but with 25 meters also at its deepest. Furthermore, there is a dangerous current.

Although the most dangerous stretches of the Loreley have been removed already in the thirties of the last century, the shipping even today is warned about the passage. In January 2011 the Loreley caused a severe accident with a ship carrying 2,400 tons of sulfuric acid.

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Why are artists so fond of the Loreley?

According to a folk tale a singing nymph with golden hair sat on top of the Loreley. Her singing distracted the skippers, as a result of which they sailed against this huge rock. Does this ring a bell? The same theme is known of the Sirens in the Odyssey. Down the Loreley is a statue of the nymph.

The Loreley plays a role in a lot of literature. Best known is perhaps the poem "Die Loreley” by the famous poet and writer Heinrich Heine. On this poem a melody was made. Famous phrase: “Ich weiß nicht was soll es bedeuten, daß ich so traurig bin.” (“I don’t know what it means, that I’m so sad”). This song is still one of the most popular of all German songs.

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