Exploring the legacy of Hildegard von Bingen in Bingen am Rhein
Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf German verfügbar.
The legacy of Hildegard von Bingen is still clearly visible in the city of Bingen, where she did most of her work. After all, the Rupertsberg Monastery, which was founded by her, used to belong to the municipality of Bingen. As Saint Hildegard lived in the 11th and 12th century, only few buildings from that time were preserved until today. Nevertheless, a walk through Bingen’s Old Town shows us many aspects of Hildegard von Bingen’s life and accomplishments. Until today, people in Bingen are visibly proud of their city’s most famous inhabitant. If you want to explore Hildegard von Bingen’s legacy and walk in her footsteps, make sure to get hold of a Binger Hildegard way flyer, which provides detailed descriptions and sketches of every important stop on the route.
Seeing as the best way to get to Bingen is by ferry from Rüdesheim, we begin our “Hildegard tour” right on the banks of the river Rhine. From there, we walk to the “Museum am Strom”, which displays the Benedictine nun’s life and doctrines in a vivid and instructive manner. If you don’t have enough time to see the exhibition, simply continue to the second stop on the route right next to the museum: the “Hildegarden.” Until this day, many plants and herbs used in the Hildegardian medicine are being planted here. Informative signs explain their purpose, application and effects.
Afterwards, we cross the railway tracks and continue towards the Old Town by walking through “Salzstraße”, an alleyway Hildegard von Bingen frequently used in her time as well. Today, a number of small shops offer numerous products related to the Benedictine nun.
Upon arrival at “Speisemarkt” market square, we turn left and walk through “Kapuzinergasse” alley. Passing the castle moat, we advance towards Klopp Castle, which towers over the city. From the top, we enjoy a stunning view of Bingen. Visitors can use the history projector to create an image of the city’s appearance back in the times of Saint Hildegard. The few grapevines near the castle gardens are the only remnants of the once extensive vineyards that used to cover the hills surrounding the city at the beginning of the last century.
Below Klopp Castle, you’ll find the Hildegard Info Point, which is the city’s tourism office. Here, you’ll receive absolutely all the information available on Bingen’s former abbess and most famous citizen.
From here, we continue towards St. Martin Basilica, which was mentioned for the first time in 1006. Presumably, Hildegard von Bingen used to pray here during her time in Bingen. Still today, the outer façade as well as the interior design of the restored basilica are a sight for sore eyes. Definitely worth a visit!
We continue towards the banks of “Naheufer”, from where people once had a direct view of the Rupertsberg Monastery. Unfortunately, only ruins of the once impressive monastery remain as it was largely destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War. Nevertheless, one can easily imagine its past grandeur. A few steps ahead towards the river, you’ll find the “Nahebrücke” bridge, which provides a great view of the “Drususbrücke” bridge built in the 11th century. This bridge already existed during the times of Hildegard von Bingen. It was of great importance for Hildegard and her companions as it served as a link between the monastery and the city of Bingen as well as the rest of the mainland. Most of Hildegard von Bingen’s journeys are likely to have started at Drususbrücke bridge.
After having crossed the river, we’re quickly approaching the site of her former monastery. The foundation of this magnificent building, where Hildegard von Bingen spent 30 years of her life, was laid around 1150. Numerous visions formed in her mind while living at the monastery – she documented all of them in her writings. Apart from the large vault, which is open to visitors on the weekend, there is not much left of the monastery. Although the St. Rupertus Parish Church was not built in the times of Hildegard von Bingen, it was constructed in the 19th century to distinguish her abilities and writings, which slowly gained influence among the people again.
Walking through the district of “Bingerbrück”, we pass Bingen main station and continue towards the banks of the river Rhine. We visit the small park, which provides a beautiful view of the mysterious “Mäuseturm”, to complete our tour.
In fact, Hildegard von Bingen most likely did not sit down often on the meadow and enjoy the view of the river as we did. According to her “Physica” writings, she did not like the Rhine very much and complained about the “corrosive” effect its water allegedly has on the skin. Well, we certainly love the view, which is why we stay here for a little while longer before walking back to the ferry terminal to return to Rüdesheim!
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Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf German verfügbar.