Oppenheim in Rhenish Hesse is just as remarkable underground as it is above ground. Ahh, did I get your attention? What could I possibly mean by underground?
What’s under there? The gateway to Hades? An underground Grotto?
No. It’s a labyrinth of tunnels and stairways that somehow manage to link many of the town’s homes to each other. What’s really remarkable about the Oppenheimer Kellerlabyrinth (as its called) is that this underground system stretches for some 40km, while the town itself is less than 8 square kilometers.
You’re more than welcome to explore part of it, but only 650 meters of this extensive underground system is open for the public. In fact, the entire thing hasn’t even been excavated. That’s pretty nifty, I’d say. Don’t you think?
For those not willing to delve into the deep (ha-ha), you might prefer the ruins of Castle Landskron. This poor castle has been sacked and destroyed more times than I could keep count, although I do admire the former owners’ tenacity to rebuild. It was originally built around the year 1100, destroyed in 1257 and 1275, then again in 1621, and yet again in 1689 (this time by the French).
Burg Landskrone might be in ruins, but it makes one of the best venues for the annual Oppenheimer Theater Festival that runs from August to October. It’s also where the yearly Medieval Spectacle takes place in early May.
These two festivals aren’t the only ones. Oppenheim holds the Easter Artists’ Market every year two weeks before Easter starts, then in the middle of May is the Rheinradeln (Rhine Bike Ride) that ends here from its start in Worms.
On the second weekend of August there’s the Oppenheim Wine Festival; fitting since Oppenheim is a Wine Town. I did say it was remarkable above ground, didn’t I? ;-)
I wouldn’t miss seeing the Church of St. Catherine’s either. Oh, wait, you won’t since this gorgeous Gothic church is also the venue for plays and other cultural type events. It’s well known for its Rose Window — a stunning flowered window of stained glass.
This even furthers my case about saying Oppenheim is fantastic above and below ground. And I think you’ll agree. :-)