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[ source: Wikipedia]

Bernkastel-Kues (Bernkastel-Kues vacation rentals | Bernkastel-Kues travel guide) is located in a prominent wine-growing center in the Middle Moselle area of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, about 50 km from Trier (Trier vacation rentals | Trier travel guide). According to archaeological excavations, this area was already occupied ca. 3000 BC. In the 4th century AD, the Romans built a castellum, or fort, at Bernkastel-Kues, although the first written reference to the town first dates from the early 11th century. The town's association with wine production is a long one, as reflected in the first documentation of wine growing in the area, which stretches back to 1228. Landshut (Landshut vacation rentals | Landshut travel guide) Castle, which was destroyed and rebuilt several times during the Middle Ages, was ravaged by fire and left to fall into ruin in 1692. Between 1794 and 1814, Bernkastel-Kues came under French control. After the Napoleonic Wars, the town fell to Prussia in 1815. The first bridge over the Moselle between the town of Bernkastel and the wine-making village of Kues was constructed between 1872 and 1874. In 1905, the two municipalities were merged.

Bernkastel-Kues has much to offer the visitor interested in historic architecture and in wine. In Bernkastel, make sure to stop in the medieval market square with its array of 17th century gabled, timber-framed houses. The Spitzhaeuschen is the oldest house on the square and dates from the 1400s. Also worth seeing is the Renaissance town hall from 1608, as well as the neighboring St. Michael's Fountain which was completed only two years before. The Landshut Castle ruins are known for their lovely views of the river valley and of Bernkastel-Kues. The castle had been the summer residence of the Archbishops of Trier, and today visitors can still climb the castle tower. If in need of a repast after your climb, take advantage of the restaurant and cafe located inside the castle courtyard. Machern (Machern vacation rentals | Machern travel guide) Convent, a former Cistercian convent, now houses a museum that will interest children and the young at heart. The toy museum here has over 2,000 historic toys on display. If you have the time, check out the religious icon collection also located here, with its array of over 200 icons from Romania, Russia, and Ethiopia.

And, of course, one cannot forget the wine! With over 5,800 hectares of vineyards nearby, this area has much to offer the wine connoisseur. Bernkastel-Kues has a multi-media wine museum, developed in collaboration with the Research Centre for Viticulture in Geisenheim, that will inform you about all aspects of the history of wine in this region. In the same building as the museum, you will find a Vinotheque with over 150 local wine varieties for sampling. Guided tours of the old city, as well as costumed tours, audio tours, and wine culture tours, are available to visitors who would like to learn more about Bernkastel-Kues' culture and history. Furthermore, a variety of festivals, including a medieval spectacle, the Moselle Music Festival, the Wine Festival of the Middle Moselle, the Moselfestwochen (classical music festival, and the Open Wine Cellar Days, enliven the cultural opportunities in this lovely town.

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Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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