On 1 January 1818, Rüdesheim received town rights. After Prussia annexed the Duchy of Nassau in 1867 and divided the area into districts (Kreise), Rüdesheim became a district seat in the newly founded Rheingaukreis. It held this status 110 years until 1977, when in the course of municipal reform in Hesse the districts of the Rheingaukreis and the Untertaunuskreis were merged into the new Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis, and Rüdesheim had to yield the district seat to Bad Schwalbach.
In 1877, the first foundation stone was laid for the Niederwalddenkmal, a patriotic monument above the vineyards which would be finished in 1883. It attracted many tourists who could reach it on a cog railway. Today, a gondola lift brings visitors up to the monument. Tourism has more and more resplaced shipping as a source of income.
In 1939, under the secrecy that held sway at the time, the formerly self-governing community of Eibingen was forcibly amalgamated with the town by the National Socialists, against the community inhabitants’ will. In 1977, within the framework of municipal reform, Assmannshausen, Aulhausen and Presberg were incorporated into Rüdesheim as Ortsbezirke.
Today Rudesheim is a hidden gem along the Rhine River Gorge. It is most famous for wine making, especially Riesling Wine. One of it’s most famous attractions is Siegfried’s Mechanical Museum. World renowned as the largest museum of Mechanical inventions, it is a wonderland for curious visitors. The constant Clack – Clack of moving masterpieces keeps a visitor wide eyed in anticipation and wonder. Many an admirer has returned, rejuvenated at invention and the miracles man can create. Ever wonder how a mechanical clock really works? You can see the moving parts working here. People come from all over the world to visit this famous museum.
- There are several more museums including Mittelalterliches Foltermuseum (“Mediaeval torture museum”), with many instruments of torture
- Asbach Distillery, brandy museum illustrating the history of Asbach Uralt production
- Rheingauer Weinmuseum Brömserburg, about the area’s 1000-years winegrowing history, located in castle Brömserburg.
Check back next week for part 3 of the Rhine River Gorge.