It’s not uncommon for the town of Bernkastel-Kues to be spelled Bernkastel-Cues. Whichever way you choose to spell it, there’s one thing that won’t change — the place remains a medieval masterpiece to this very day.
You’ll notice this straightaway the minute you get to the Marktplatz with all its half-timbered houses framing it. OK, so what if they come from the 17th century (including its Renaissance Rathaus from 1608) — which is not the Middle Ages — but who am I to judge. ;-)
Actually, come to think of it… The cute lil’ Spitzhäuschen (it’s that narrow pointed looking building) was built in 1416 — which makes it medieval, right?
Have I missed anything else medieval? Oh yes, the Graacher Tor, the last remaining gate of Bernkastel-Kues.
Around the same time as the Spitzhäuschen was being built, a boy by the name of Nikolaus von Kues was born. He became a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and a leader of astronomy and other pursuits. You can see the house where he was born, and the Cusanusstift where he’s buried. Well, his heart is anyway.
Regardless, the Cusanusstift has a library full of medieval manuscripts from the 9th-15th centuries.
The history of churches and its men don’t end here. Go see the Church of St. Michael (you can’t miss its tower hovering over the town), the Monastery Machern, and the Burgruine (castle ruins) Landshut, that used to be the summer home of the Bishops of Trier (which is only about 50km away).
And, please, we haven’t even gotten to the Passion Play yet that’s held every 5 years in the area (2007, 2012, …).
With all this outstanding architecture, what could be better? Um, how ’bout the steep slopes of the vineyards in the background? Oh yeah, the Middle Moselle Region is famous for its Riesling grapes — and cruising along the romantic Moselle River is a pretty way to see ’em.
Or, you could head to the Moselle Wine Museum to learn something about it.
Forget that — hit up the wineries; especially for the Wine Cellar Days, or the Wine Festival on the first weekend of September.
That stinks the Medieval Spectacle is only every other year; but rest assured that the Christmas Market, the Classical Music Festival, the Rowing Regatta, and the Street Fair are all annual events. At least the Weekly Market is held more often — every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
Yikes, I think I spent all my Euros at the wineries. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to listen to the sounds of the Moselle Music Festival instead of shopping. ;-)