Siebengebirge Mountains Drachenfels Drachenburg Petersberg Rolandsbogen
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Siebengebirge Mountains Drachenfels Drachenburg Petersberg Rolandsbogen

Southeast of Bonn, the Siebengebirge arises on the right side of the Rhine River. It is the most northern mountain range on the Rhine River, before the river continues its way into the lower rhenish plain. The Siebengebirge is the oldest nature park in North Rhine-Westphalia and one of the oldest in Germany. A beautiful panorama is presented to the boat trip guest or tourist, once he lets his view slide across the Rhine River. Upon approachment from the north, 7 hilltops present themselves to the eyes. But in reality, the nature park area consits of more than 40 mountains and hills. The following risings count to the Siebengebirge:

  • Olberg (461 meters above sea level)
  • Lowenburg (455 meters above sea level)
  • Lohrberg (432 meters above sea level)
  • Nonnenstromberg (335 meters above sea level)
  • Petersberg (331 meters above sea level)
  • Wolkenburg (324 meters above sea level)
  • Drachenfels (321 meters above sea level)

The "classical seven" were not responsible for the giving of the names, as one would suggest. It was rather deviated from the name "Siefen" or "Siepen". That is what the canyon-like creek valleys in the Rhineland are called, who have a very frequent appearance in the Siebengebirge.

The Siebengebirge is of volcanic origin and part of the rhenish slate mountains. The largest part of the landscape consists of forests. The good forest grounds are the condition for the abundant kind of Flora and Fauna. Besides the forests, there are also a lot of creeks, quarries, vineyards and fruit lawns that are valuable biotops. Despite of the part use of the landscape through people, nature protection is very important in the Siebengebirge.

The Siebengebirge has been made available through a hiking path net with a total length of about 200 km, which is widely blocked for car traffic. The hiking paths lead through shadowed forests, but also allow beautiful view towards the Rhine River valley, towards the Eifel mountains and the Westerwald forest. Numerous rest and parking areas and protection huts invite the hiker to take a break and to recover. A forest learning path informs about the local animal species and plant species in the Siebengebirge. Besides this, a lot of riding trails allow you to discover the Siebengebirge on horse.

Drachenfels Drachenburg fairy tale castle (Marchenschloss) Drachenfels rail
One of the most well-known mountains and most beloved excursion destinations in the Siebengebirge is the legendary Drachenfels rock. It rises with a height of 321 meters above sea level towards the hills closely pushed forward to the Rhine River. The reason for the name giving was not a dragon, who, according to a legend was supposed to have lived here, but instead a hilltop which consists of the Trachyt, a volcanic mass. You can enjoy an especially good view towards the Rhine river valley and towards the rest of the mountains. There, you can also find the ruins of a medieval castle site.

The Drachenburg castle was built in the 12th century by order of the archbishop of Cologne / Koln. Around 1170, the construction was finished. The Drachenburg castle was supposed to secure the territorial border to the south to the area of the count from Sayn. The site was in ownership of the gentlemen of Drachenburg for around 400 years. The teardown of the Trachyt rock, which features a diamond-like hardness, helped them to great wealthiness. However, the gender died out in the 16th century. Besides the fortification, the palas with the castle count living rooms, apartments for the servants, a big festive hall, a kitchen with pantries and a chapel also belonged to the castle site. After the Drachenburg castle was used as a quarry in the 19th century, only wall ruins are obtained at present.

But not only the mountain top is a touristic attraction, also the castle Drachenburg, which rises on midway height on the Drachenfelsen rock. Stephan baron von Sarter (1833 to 1902) let the fairy tale castle (Marchenschloss) be built in new gothic style as living residence. In 1881 the foundation stone was laid. But von Sarter never lived on the castle. The present owner is the North Rhine-Westphalia foundation nature conservation, preservation of local and monuments. Alone the numerous towers and figure decorated exterior conformation of the castle invites to a closer survy. In the numerous statues, you can recognize the personalities of different epochs. Especially the monumental wall paintings and artistic glass paintings in the interior are very impressive. Visitors get to know a lot about the changeful history of the castle during guides.

The Drachenfels rock and the castle Drachenburg can be reached from Konigswinter (about 10 km southeast from the 532-rame castle hotel Bonn). First, you will go over the donkey trail on foot to the castle. Two routes lead up to the top. You will find a lot of guest houses and restaurants on the Drachenfels rock for recovery and refreshments after the ascendence. A ride with a donkey is offered as an alternative on Saturdays and Sundays. The most comfortable way up is by the Drachenfels rail, a rack railway, which is in operation since 1883. The oldest mountain railway of Germany drives daily. There is a mid-station at the castle Drachenburg. Neither the panorama view nor the view towards the romantic Rhine River valley is affected by the trip.

Petersberg hill
The Petersberg hill also belongs to the Siebengebirge (about 11 km from the 532-rame castle hotel Bonn). It is world famous because of the corresponding guest houses of the Federal Republic of Germany. Already in the early 12th century, Augustinian monks settled down there. The Cistercians followed in the year 1189, who moved to the Heisterbach valley in the first half of the 13th century. In the course of the touristic development of the region, the Nelles brothers opened a hotel in 1892 on the Petersberg hill. It was bought up in 1911 from a Cologne / Koln parfume factory owner and was expanded a luxurious spa hotel within 3 years. Directly after the second World War, the high commissioners of the west allies had their seat there. The Petersberg hill won importance with the decision of the Federal Diet to make Bonn to the temporary capital. The closeness to the capital, the exposition of the hotel in scenically charming surrounding and its luxurious outfitting were presumably deciding therefore, that it is hosting international guests from around the world after the release through the high commissioners in the years 1955 to 1969. After the purchase of the hotel through the Federal Government in the year 1979, it served as federal guest house from now on. The Petersberg hill was location of international conferences in the course of  the latest history, several times. The Afghanistan conference, for example, took place here in December 2001.

Rolandsbogen
On the left Rhine River side, opposite of the Drachenfels rock, the Rodderberg hill rises at the south border of the town part Bad Godesberg. The Rolandsbogen at the Rhine River slope reminds of knightly times. It is named after the brave knight and count Roland, who was the nephew and paladin of Karl the Great. According to the legend, Roland is supposed to have engaged himself with Hildegund, the daughter of the knight of the Drachenfels rock. At the rumor, that Roland fell in a battle, the virgin entered the convent Nonnenwerth on the island between Drachenfels rock and Rodderberg. But the dead-believed came back and, upon his suffering of the loss of his bride, let the castle Rolandseck be built, in order to find comfort in the view of the convent. As the rest of the castle completely caved in in the 19th century, the ruin was reconstructed, which then became a symbol of the Rhine River romance as Rolandsbogen. Gourmets can treat themselves with a meal at the gourmet restaurant at the Rolandsbogen.

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