Kiedrich - the Gothic Wine Village
The slender tower of the Gothic Church of St Valentine, is visible from a far distance, towering high above the houses of the small town of Kiedrich. Spared by war and devastation Kiedrich has a completely preserved historical centre with lovingly restored half-timbered houses, impressive estates, charming aristocratic palaces and a town hall with Renaissance alcoves dating back to 1585.
But the centre of the typical wine village, which was first mentioned in documents in 954, is the parish church, which is over 500 years old. It comprises the church cemetery and St Michaels Chapel which was built as a Chapel of the Deceased in the middle of the 15th century as well as the old vicarage. The historic arrangement of the buildings and their complete appearance is hard to find in other places. The church with its pointed, slated roof and its well-fortified tower has a distinctive appearance.
While the church has an almost fortified and imposing effect from outside, a slender, elegant architecture can be admired from within.
Only at second glance does the structure become visible, that the master builder has put into the solid foundation high up into the filigree vault with its many ramifications of a Gothic architecture taking off toward the sky.
The Gothic Madonna, almost unimposing on a pedestal between chancel and nave, is among the oldest and most valuable artifacts of Rhenish statuary, dating back to the first decades of the 14th century. The lay stalls which were made by master Erhart Falckener in 1510, are also among the unique treasures of the parish church of Kiedrich. The painted flat carvings with the delicate, filigree tracery are surprisingly colourful and lively.
The numerous lyrics and rhymes written in German, which urge believers to behave in a disciplined and devoted way, are a peculiarity of the Latin world of the late-medieval church.
Despite its valuable Gothic art treasures the parish church of Kiedrich is not a museum. On the contrary. For hundreds of years the Kiedrichs choir of boys and men ("Kiedricher Chorbuben") has entered the chancel suffused with light to the sound of the oldest still functional organ of Germany (around 1500) in order to sing the choral High Mass each Sunday. For generations Kiedrich has maintained the unique Gregorian chant in a special Germanic dialect by Gothic notes from Hufnagel and in this way provides an audible impression of the praise of God as in former times.
Kiedrich's landmark also bears witness to former times. High above the wine village the Archbishop of Mainz had the imposing Ruins of Scharfenstein Castle built at the beginning of the 13th century for the protection of his trade routes. Today, a barbecue area is loctated in the inner yard of the distinctive tower with a magnificent view overlooking Kiedrich and its famous vineyards.
Wine culture started here more than 2,000 years ago, Riesling wines from Kiedrich became treasured wines at all European prince's palaces and royal courts over the centuries. Still today connoisseurs abroad and in Germany appreciate the wines from the renowned vineyard sites.
Gräfenberg,Turmberg, Wasserros, Klosterberg and Sandgrub. A particular attraction of viticulture in Kiedrich is the "Vineyard of matrimony". All married couples who are married at the registry office of Kiedrich receive a certificate which symbolically gives them a vine from this vineyard. Every two years couples from all over Germany meet in Kiedrich to drink Riesling from their own vineyard. But even without marriage certificate the picturesque wine village is well worth a visit.
The wine growers offer their best wines at the popular wine tasting stand in Kiedrich between April and October, and the Riesling Festival of Kiedrich takes place in June which is one of the most attractive wine festivals in the Rheingau. The wines from Kiedrich can of course be tasted throughout the year in the many cosy wine taverns, homely Straußwirtschaften and comfortable restaurants.
Kiedrich has been twinned with the French municipality of Hautvillers in Champagne since the year 1981 - the 1000th German - French town partnership in Europe - the place where the monk Dom Perignon invented the method for producing champagne in the 17th century.
As a stronghold of the carnival in the Rheingau the popular Scroungers' Rallye ("Schnorrer Rallye") takes place on the Thursday before Shrovetide, the parade taking place on the Monday preceeding Shrove Tuesday is known beyond the borders of the small municipality.
Learn more about Kiedrich at: www.kiedrich.de.