Ahn on the Moselle
The earliest records of Ahn are dated 1245, which means that it is probably much younger than most Moselle villages. Ahn gradually developed over the centuries to reach a population today of around 200. The immaculately kept houses of the winegrowers nestle delightfully amidst the vineyards. The vineyards and the wines emanating from there are indeed what brought fame to Ahn, even beyond the borders of Luxembourg. These days, Ahn is the village with the most winegrowing bottlers on the Luxembourg side of the Moselle. In the modern yet snugly furnished wine-tasting rooms, winegrowers invite wine lovers from all over the world to share their passion. When Ahn received the ‘Villages in Bloom’ (village fleuri) award in 2005, the otherwise rather reserved inhabitants understandably swelled with pride. This tiny village is also an attractive tourist destination, not least because of the hiking trail with signposts providing a lot of useful information on flora and fauna. A pair of sturdy shoes is all that is needed for the 5-kilometer trail, which cuts right across Palmberg: a highlight for botanists! In addition to the boxwood indigenous to the region, the Mediterranean microclimate on the south side of the rock formation actively promotes the growth of diverse types of protected, rare orchids. Those in search of a gastronomic experience are in for a real treat in Ahn: In addition to the small, cosy inn with its convivial atmosphere, there is an internationally acclaimed top restaurant. You, too, will delight in the tranquillity and distinctive flair found only in Ahn.
Bech-Kleinmacher is a twin settlement: originally, it was composed of two Moselle villages, with two chapels, the community originally being divided where the plague cross stands. As time passed, the two villages merged and built a single communal church around one hundred years ago. Although the village is popularly called Bechmacher, the inhabitants still believe in the partition. A Becher remains a Becher while a Macher refuses to be called a Becher. Various findings have brought the early origins of the settlement to light, the most important emerging in 1927, when a burial ground from the Urn field Period (1250 to 750 BC) was unearthed between Bech-Kleinmacher and Schwebsange. The main attraction in the village is the Possenhaus, a private museum opened in 1972 by the owner of the house, Dr. Kayser. Dating back to 1617, the old Possenhaus was saved from demolition in 1965 when Dr. Kayser acquired it. Dr. Kayser spent years of painstaking work to restore the house, which he lovingly furnished. In 1977 the Muedelshaus was annexed and the Nico Klopp Hall and a wine bar added two years later. Today, ‘A Possen’ contains an open-hearth kitchen known as the ‘black kitchen’ with oven and cooking utensils dating from the time of the French Revolution, a parlour known in Luxembourgish as ‘Stuff’ with beautiful old furniture and paintings, an antique bedroom with a four-poster bed, a dairy, a weaving room, and a display of toys. Winegrowers’ tools from the past are exhibited in the wine museum itself. It is also possible to visit a cooper’s workshop and an old distillery. The adjoining Muedelshaus accommodates an old shoemaker’s workshop, a vaulted kitchen and a collection of ovens. Outside the museum, old door arches, buildings dating back centuries, as well as beautiful wooden doors elaborately manufactured by craftsmen of those times and skillfully restored by craftsmen of today also bear witness to the past of Bech-Kleinmacher. Not far from the Possenhaus is the monument erected to honour St. Willibrord, where a wine-blessing ceremony is held every year.
Of particular interest in Bous are the remains of Roman occupation, villas and mosaic floors. Even today, Bous is often referred to as ‘Roman Bous’. As shown by the foundations and mosaic floors uncovered, at least one if not several Roman villas have been built there. A pagan temple on the present site of the cemetery also bears witness to a Roman presence. Until 1789 the village belonged to the Earldom of Roussy. In the vicinity of Bous lies Herdermühle, mentioned as far back as the 9th century as the ‘Herde’ settlement, which also belonged to the earldom. The construction of new buildings in recent years has resulted in Bous gradually merging together with the adjoining villages. Bous is not so well known as a winegrowing village.
The roots of Ehnen lie in the 8th century although, at that time, it consisted solely of a castle built on a cliff. All that remains of the structure today is the name of the production area and the district ‘op der Borreg’. Ehnen certainly ranks amongst the most beautiful villages on the Moselle. It still has its narrow, winding alleys surrounding the round church, which is incidentally the only one of its kind to be found in Luxembourg, and secluded corners, where houses grey with age, the archways of former patrician houses and abbeys walled in, dream of past centuries. In January 1974 the historic winegrower’s house belonging to the former Wurth winery was acquired by the state and opened at the beginning of 1978 as a wine museum. There, it is possible to see the erstwhile Ehnen Office of Weights and Measures, an antique forge and a cooper’s workshop. The winegrowing year is illustrated through pictures and work tools, from the winter dormancy of the vine to pest control, harvesting and finally the production of wine. The history of winegrowing is also traced back to the ancient world. A model vineyard with local vine varieties and table grapes has been set up in the courtyard at the back of the museum. The famous writer Nicolaus Hein was born in Ehnen.
The first historical reference dates back to the year 775. On 17 March 1281 Count Henry V of Luxembourg awarded the community the Charter of Freedom and granted it town privileges. In 1387 Mondorf was totally destroyed by the French. The small town was never to recover completely from such devastation. Not until 1846, when a saline spring was discovered 450m below ground during drilling work on 15 June, did Mondorf begin to prosper again with the birth of the spa known as ‘Mondorf-les-Bains’. The most famous citizen of the town is John Grün, who was born there in 1868. Until his death in 1912, he was considered to be the strongest man in the world. Although Mondorf retained several wineries and vineyards into the 19th century, the town cannot be included on the actual wine route. On the other hand, the Mondorf thermal baths and parks attract thousands of visitors every year. Since 1983, the town has also boasted the first and, so far, only casino on Luxembourg soil.
In the past Erpeldange, together with the surrounding villages, belonged to the parish of Neunkirchen. Today, the cemetery is still located outside the commune, on the site where the church for the surrounding villages once stood. As with some of the other localities on the Moselle, Erpeldange cannot be described exclusively as a winegrowing village. Located in the Bous valley, at the foot of Scheuerberg, the village conjures up an image of tranquillity and a leisurely pace.
A population of around 3,000 makes the district and canton capital Grevenmacher the largest town in the Moselle region. Of Gallo-Roman origin, borne out by the findings on Grevenmacherberg, the town was re-established in 1252 by Henry V the Blond, Count of Luxembourg. Curiously enough, the thick fortification walls were built before the settlement was moved in. Promising them freedom, Count Henry lured traders and craftsmen from the surrounding villages to the new town, which soon acquired a good reputation and prospered. The present church tower is the best-preserved structure from that period. It stood right in the centre of the settlement and was used as a watch and defence tower. In 1782 the church was added to the defence tower. The houses are built in rows in the small lanes around the town tower. There, even today, you come upon picturesque corners in courtyards or behind high gateways, or characteristic old street doors with copper or iron knockers and handles. The plague arrows in the form of a cross on some of the doors and upper windows continue to bear witness to the plague, which so often raged in these houses. The inhabitants did not need to extort or struggle for town privileges; instead, these were bestowed on the citizens together with the freedom of the town by the ruler and town planner. The town was not spared from other evils: A dysentery epidemic broke out at the beginning of the 19th century when entire shiploads of dysentery-ridden soldiers in the course of the Napoleonic retreat were put down in Grevenmacher; the disease spread to the inhabitants of the town, claiming 300 victims amongst the population of 1,900; or the most serious outbreak of fire in 1822, which destroyed nearly half of the town. Despite being connected to the railway network in 1890, Grevenmacher remained sandwiched within the old fortification walls. Not until the 1930s were the first houses built outside the ‘town’. Rising prosperity saw an increase in the number of houses outside the historic town centre and business life also moved further out. As a wine town, Grevenmacher is better known nationwide for its wine market, which has taken place every year on Maundy Thursday since 1925. The first and largest wine market in Luxembourg attracts connoisseurs and professionals from all over Luxembourg and its neighbouring countries. A further highlight of the winegrowing year in Grevenmacher is the grape festival held on the second Sunday of September, with its colourful procession through the streets of the town, which attracts thousands of visitors every year. Visitors to Grevenmacher should not miss the opportunity to go for a walk on the ‘Fels’ rock face, past the cross chapel and through the vineyards of the northernmost and largest wine production areas vineyard sites in Luxembourg. The famous painter and writer Franz Seimetz was born in Grevenmacher.
The winegrowing village of Machtum is situated in the Riesling commune of Wormeldange and is host to the famous Ongkâf, Gëllebour, Widdem und Hohfels production areas. The Grevenmacher canton is predominantly composed of muschelkalk, a shell-bearing limestone bed, which produces elegant, spicy wines.
The panorama of gently undulating vineyards and the imposing loop of the Moselle, which is best viewed from the German side of the Moselle, is truly magnificent. Yet, a ramble through the vineyards around Machtum also offers the onlooker a splendid view as far as Ahn or Grevenmacher. The majesty of this landscape in an idyllic setting has even sent the Luxembourg poet Batty Weber into raptures: ‘… there where the Moselle unfolds its charms, incomparable to any other.’
The wineries Caves Jean Schlink-Hoffeld and Domaine viticole Pundel-Hoffeld offer the opportunity to stop by and savour the excellent wines and crémants in a convivial wine-tasting session.
Those who are feeling peckish will also be well served in an intimate setting at the Wäistuff Deisermill, Caves Jean Schlink-Hoffeld or Café La Grotta, while those with a greater appetite will find satisfaction in one of two restaurants in Machtum, the Chalet de la Moselle and the Auberge du Lac.
The Wine Happening held in the middle of August provides characteristic Moselle-style entertainment: on Sundays, the Nittel St. Rochus wine festival is combined with the Machtum wine festival so that visitors can enjoy both celebrations using the boat shuttle service. Machtum offers wine-tasting, eating and drinking, dancing, art exhibitions, a crafts market, children’s entertainment and, above all, a congenial atmosphere.
On the occasion of the Riesling Open, during the third weekend of September, almost all the winegrowers in the Riesling community open their doors to the public and there is a good chance of bumping into the newly crowned Riesling queen. The luxury ship “Princesse Marie-Astrid” shuttles back and forth between Ehnen, Wormeldange, Ahn and Machtum. A variety of instrumental bands provide a musical diversion and most winegrowers offer a variety of dishes to be downed with a drop of their excellent wine.
In a nutshell: Machtum always has something up its sleeve to please everybody.
The origins of Niederdonven can be traced back to the Celtic period. The first record of the village appeared in 959. No distinction was made between Oberdonven and Niederdonven until the 17th century, when in 1636 an official document recorded that the number of households in Oberdonven totalled 9 and in Niederdonven 24. After the Thirty Years’ War, the village completely died out. Very slowly, people began to settle in the area again. In the middle of the 19th century, Niederdonven was one of the poorest villages in the country; thanks to the newly planted vineyards, it gradually freed itself from its misery. The landmark of the village is the parish church, which stands high above the area and can be seen from a distance. Built in the early 19th century, the present church is the third in the parish, the first dating back to the 16th century.
The first record of Remerschen dates back to 963. However, the field names Keep and Alerbach are indicative of an earlier Celtic settlement period, as are the production area names Mecheren and Mees proof of a Roman presence. A magnificent sarcophagus found in the village in 1852 bears witness to viticulture during the Roman period. The bottom displays a relief with motifs of vines and grapes. The favourable location of the village inevitably meant that it was often involved in war-related events, such as in 882 when Norman brigands ravaged the village. Built in 1766, the church is under a preservation order and remains to this day the landmark of the village. The lower part of the bell tower must have served as a watch and defence tower in the past. Frescoes created by the Moravian artist Ignatius Millim were discovered in 1908, while the church was being restored. They had been covered over with whitewash. In 1948, when the vault of the church was scheduled for repair, the ceiling was discovered to have sunk in the middle by 35 to 40cm. After the renovation work, the fresco created by the Luxembourg painter E. Goergen was mounted onto the new wire plaster ceiling.
Together with nearly all the other villages on the Moselle, Remerschen was ridden by a serious outbreak of cholera in the middle of the 19th century. At that time, 92 of its inhabitants fell victim to the epidemic.
Markusberg, Kreitzberg and Felsberg are names of famous wine production areas. The artificial lakes dredged outside the village on the way to the Moselle riverbank - a nature reserve where abundant wildlife has taken up residence over the years - are a major attraction of the area, especially for nature lovers. The lakes also offer extensive sports facilities and are surrounded by hiking trails and Nordic walking tracks, guaranteeing healthy recreational activities for the whole family.
Remich is undoubtedly one of the most famous towns on the Luxembourg side of the Moselle. Every Sunday a multitude of visitors enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shady promenade of the riverbank or through the winding alleys of the town. The origins of Remich date back to Roman times. Since its earliest days the town has played an important role as a traffic junction and affluent commercial centre on the left bank of the Moselle. In 852 a fierce battle was fought in the vicinity of Remich between the Vikings raiding from the north and the army of Bishop Walo of Metz, which was won by the Normans. The Vikings sacked the market town of Remich, and retreated across the Moselle to return to the north. The old St Nicholas Tower was the only tower left standing after these events. For that reason, when the citizens of Remich were under attack, they preferred to seek refuge in the ancient deanery church. In the 18th century it was replaced by a new sanctuary built in a more exuberant Baroque style. The massive bell tower built on the foundations of a Roman watchtower with its 1.5-meter thick walls and gun loopholes is a reminder today of those times of conflict. The St Nicholas Gateway is a remnant of the medieval fortifications, which were razed to the ground in 1867. After the Thirty Years’ War only 21 houses remained inhabited in Remich. At the beginning of the 18th century Remich was once again laid to waste, this time by order of the English general Marlborough. Peace was finally restored to the Moselle Valley and Remich under Austrian rule. A strange feature of the history of viticulture in Remich is the fact that, in the middle of the 18th century, the winegrowers came up with the idea to grow vegetables and plant fruit trees in their vineyards. This continued until the Governor General of the Netherlands, Count Charles of Koblenz, issued a decree on 1 April 1765 to put a stop to this malpractice by ordering the eradication of the trees in the vineyards. Due to the serious economic difficulties facing the region at the beginning of the 19th century, many of the inhabitants of Remich fled poverty by emigrating to America, especially in 1846 and 1847. At the beginning of the 20th century, a large number of wine merchant businesses were established, the majority of which are still operating today. Nowadays, Remich is an attractive small town, its main source of income being tourism. The esplanade along the bank of the Moselle is a favourite destination for day-trippers.
A retrospective view of the history of this village shows that the first records on Schengen date back to 877. Whether the village had already existed before this date, cannot be proved by documentary evidence. However, burial sites from the Bronze Age have been found in the area around Schengen.
The landmark of the village is the old castle built in the 12th or 13th century. The first record of the castle was dated 05 November 1390. Ownership of the castle has changed several times over the centuries. In 1792 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent some time there and in 1871 it was occupied by Victor Hugo. At the end of the 19th century its last owner had it torn down except for one of the towers and subsequently rebuilt. In 2000 the castle was converted into a modern convention centre.
1909 saw the first bridge over the Moselle inaugurated in Schengen. Until that time it was only possible to cross to the other side of the river by ferry. On 15 September 1939 the bridge was blown up by German engineer troops. The inhabitants of Schengen had to wait twenty years for a new bridge, which was finally inaugurated on 24 October 1959, putting an end to the ferry service reintroduced in 1947. In the 1990s Schengen became famous all over Europe as a result of the Schengen Agreements which bear its name and which represent a milestone in the history of the European Union.
Go to establishments in Schengen
The small town of Stadtbredimus, which traces its roots back to the Celts, can also look back on a remarkable Roman past. For example, a Roman bridge, the existence of which is brought to mind by a well-restored pier, connected Stadtbredimus with Palzem in Germany. Stadtbredimus boasts one of the three Moselle locks and a castle built in the 13th century. Of the original buildings of the castle only a few unobtrusive remnants are detectable in the chapel and at the gateway. In a dilapidated state, the remainder was torn down in 1724 and rebuilt. Houseguests included the brothers of the French king Louis XVI, who later ascended to the throne as Louis XVIII and Charles X. In 1802 the la Fontaine family bought the structure. The famous national poet Edmond de la Fontaine, known as Dicks, moved into the castle in 1858 after his wedding. He set up a weaving mill with approximately 50 weaving looms in Remich. However, Dicks was no businessman and he lost almost all of his fortune as a result of this enterprise. Following his appointment in 1867 to the post of mayor of Stadtbredimus and his resignation from this office three years later, Dicks returned to the magistracy in 1881. On 05 January 1881 he was appointed magistrate of the Canton of Vianden, which prompted him to move to the little town on the Our, where he lived until his death on 24 June 1891. Two years later his remains were transferred to the family tomb in Stadtbredimus. The writer Batty Weber spent most of his life in Stadtbredimus. In 1865, at the age of four, he moved with his parents to the Moselle, where he met Edmond de la Fontaine. Batty Weber died shortly after his 80th birthday. He left behind a number of theatre plays, poems and revues. Today, the castle is under the ownership of Domaines de Vinsmoselle.
Situated amongst the vineyards approximately 1 km from the banks of the Moselle, Wellenstein attaches great importance to its past. Approaching the village from Remich or Mondorf will allow the visitor to enjoy the spectacular view from Scheuerberg over the vineyards and historic houses of the winegrowers. Although Wellenstein did not become a parish until 1808, it had already possessed a chapel dedicated to St. Anne for centuries, where three altars and three chalices were found. The pastor from Remich was ordered to celebrate Mass in the chapel once a week. Around 1740, a recluse built a retreat next to the chapel. According to the records available, the person in question was a certain J.J. Hoffmann. The last hermit left the retreat in 1783. The centre of the village was beautifully restored so that the village square, where an old-fashioned farm fair is held every summer, ranks amongst the prettiest in the country
The village of Wintrange is especially attractive to wine connoisseurs. The small Renaissance castle, built around 1600 by Alexandre de Musset, is under private ownership and unfortunately not open to the public as a result. In Wintrange, it is worth taking a look inside the local church at the stained glass windows designed by F. Gillen and the old retable (1609) from the former chapel. The main production area of the village is the Felsberg with the statue of Donatus reigning over the village, making it not only the landmark of Wintrange but also the best production area of the village.
Although Wormeldange is mentioned for the first time in an agreement made on 01 January 909, various findings indicate that people had already settled in this area long before. In 1718 the area became a parish. At the end of the 19th century, the bridge built over the Moselle, which allowed free movement from 1890 onwards, opened Wormeldange up to other countries. In 1924 the chapel of St. Donatus was erected on the Koepp site, making it the landmark of the village. In Wormeldange, visitors will encounter a strange feature of the dialect, which is unique in the Luxembourgish-speaking area: it is sung rather than spoken, the voicebox producing a musical sound. ‘Gaescht daeu dan och mat op de Berreg?’ Koeppchen is undisputedly the best of the Wormeldange production areas. Wormeldange is highly esteemed for its Riesling, which is rated the best in the entire winegrowing region. For this reason, a large section of the vineyards has been planted with Riesling vines.