About my home region in Germany  


The Mosel region is located on the western edge of Germany, between the Rhine valley and Luxembourg. The Mosel, also called "Moselle", is one of Germany's most famous vine regions, with some of the worlds finest white vines growing here. The vineries are generally small and the vines are truly hand-made, with very individual characters. Most vineyards are located on steep slopes that are exposed to the south, so that the sun is quite intense. In addition to that, the soil contains slate, which are flat, shiny pieces of stone that reflect the sun like millions of little mirrors into all directions, intensifying the light even more. As a result, the grapes will have a high sugar content, which makes a sweeter vine (called "lieblich", meaning something like "loveable"). However, these vines are not heavy, and it's not the sweetness, which to a large part ferments into alcohol anyway, that make the moselle vines so extraordinary, but the rich aroma. It is influenced by the soil, grape, climate, and many other factors. Moselle usually has some acidity as well, which gives it it's typical freshness. Almost all work is done by hand, since the slopes are too steep for mechanization.

When buying a moselle vine, typically a Riesling, avoid the mass products that have no clear identification of origin. Besides saying "Mosel - Saar - Ruwer" on the label, it has to contain the "Lage"-description (exact location within the Mosel region). This description is contained in the name, such as "Bernkastel-Kueser Kardinalsberg" or "Wehlener Sonnenuhr", "Graacher Himmelreich", "Uerziger Wuerzgarten" - to name a few famous ones. A common label found in the USA, "Blue Nun", is to my knowledge (and taste buds) not a quality product. The lesser quality of such widespread products using "Moselle" as a sales promoter might contribute to loss of reputation of the truly excellent vines the region otherwise has.


Sorry, all photos are taken in the winter - I just don't get to visit at other times of the year. It is juicy green in the summer!

This is the Mosel river view as I know it best, looking down from the plateau above of the vineyards. The villages are Lieser on the right, Muelheim on the left, Kesten in the distance at the foot of the hill, and Monzel higher up.. The photo is taken in the evening and the river looks like a silver band.

Grapevines are pruned and tied in the winter, ready for spring to come and new growth to start.

St. Michael's fountain is the centerpiece of the narrow market square of my hometown Bernkastel-Kues. This place has not much changed in the last few-hundred years. However, the outskirts of town are growing constantly and slowly bite away from the natural landscape, which for hundreds of years consisted of fields (on the plateau) and orchards or meadows (on the slopes that are not vineyards). Today, you find small industrial areas and supermarkets in these places, as well as newly developed residential areas. On the first picture, you can see such a commercial area on the left edge of the frame. Nevertheless, you do not see houses spread all along the roads, as is the case in the U.S.. New construction is restricted to well defined zones. Look at the mountain sides, where there is no construction at all (except for historic buildings), and the edges of the villages are well defined. If this was not the case, and with a population density in average 10 times higher than in the U.S., our landscape would have all but disappeared under houses.

A narrow street in the old part of town, leading out to the vineyards through one of the old town gates (Graacher Tor).

Here we are looking for medieval artefacts on a mountain side high above the river. The rubble belongs to the monastery "Wolf", see following pictures. Down below the Mosel river.

The ruins of the old monastery "Wolf" sit on a steep slope above the river.

Parts of the old monastery "Wolf"

The ruins of the Schmidtburg in the Hunsrueck Mountains, south of the Mosel valley, remind me somewhat of Machu Picchu in the Andes. This castle, like many others, fell victim to a systematic destruction of German castles by Napoleon. The first fortifications on this mountain go back to celtic times, and a celtic village is reconstructed on a neighboring mountain top. In our region is also located the largest celtic cemetery from roman times, and the names of many villages have celtic roots.

The two castles of the dukes of Manderscheid in the Eifel Mountains, north of the Mosel valley, sit on steep mountains surrounded by a tightly curving small river.

This is the only roman city gate north of the alps that is still standing. It is the best known building of Trier, a charming city on the Mosel river. It is today called "Porta nigra", and the black color comes from numerous fires throughout it's 1600 years of history.

This is the old cottage I build with my father. It was placed in an open field. I planted the surrounding trees as a child, most were just 18 inches tall.

Emperor Constantin's audience hall, now used as a church and called "Constantin Basilika". In Roman times, Trier was one of the largest cities north of the alps. This is the worlds largest still functioning unsupported single-room structure from roman times. What saved it from decay was it's continuous use (and maintenance) as a church.

The "Kaiserthermen" (Emperors Baths) in Trier. Constantin, his mother Helena and the roman aristocracy could choose pools of different temperatures for their bathing pleasures. The floors were heated with steam, evenly distributed through under-floor pipes. A lot of the antique plumbing is still in place.

One can find two more antique baths, a Roman bridge, an amphitheater, and many other Roman structures in Trier, as well as many unique churches, medieval buildings, the house where Karl Marx was born, ... there is no end to it!



Painting with


Artistic Masonry Directions  


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