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Location of Remagen within Ahrweiler district
RemagenGrafschaftBad Neuenahr-AhrweilerSinzigBad BreisigBrohl-LützingGönnersdorfWaldorfBurgbrohlWassenachGleesNiederzissenWehrGalenbergOberzissenBrenkKönigsfeldSchalkenbachDedenbachNiederdürenbachOberdürenbachWeibernKempenichHohenleimbachSpessartHeckenbachKesselingKalenbornBergKirchsahrLindRechDernauMayschoßAltenahrAhrbrückHönningenKaltenbornAdenauHerschbroichMeuspathLeimbachDümpelfeldNürburgMüllenbachQuiddelbachHümmelOhlenhardWershofenArembergWiesemscheidKottenbornWimbachHonerathBaulerSenscheidPomsterDankerathTrierscheidBarweilerReifferscheidSierscheidHarscheidDorselHoffeldWirftRodderMüschEichenbachAntweilerFuchshofenWinnerathInsulSchuldNorth Rhine-WestphaliaNeuwied (district)VulkaneifelMayen-KoblenzRemagen
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Coordinates: 50°34′43″N7°13′50″E / 50.57861°N 7.23056°E / 50.57861; 7.23056 Coordinates: 50°34′43″N7°13′50″E / 50.57861°N 7.23056°E / 50.57861; 7.23056
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Ahrweiler
   Mayor Herbert Georgi (CDU)
  Total33.21 km2 (12.82 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
(2017-12-31) [2]
  Density500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes 02642, 02228
Vehicle registration AW

Remagen is a town in Germany in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, in the district of Ahrweiler. It is about a one-hour drive from Cologne, just south of Bonn, the former West German capital. It is situated on the left (western) bank of the river Rhine. There is a ferry across the Rhine from Remagen every 10–15 minutes in the summer. Remagen has many beautiful and well-maintained buildings, churches, castles and monuments. It also has a sizeable pedestrian zone with plenty of shops.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Rhineland-Palatinate State in Germany

Rhineland-Palatinate is a state of Germany.

Ahrweiler (district) District in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Ahrweiler is a district in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Euskirchen, Rhein-Sieg and the city of Bonn in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the districts of Neuwied, Mayen-Koblenz and Vulkaneifel.


Overlooking the west bank of the Rhine just north of the city centre is the Apollinariskirche. It has an observation deck that is only open to parishioners on Sundays. Pedestrians reach the church via a dirt trail that passes a series of roadside monuments representing each of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The church grounds contain an outdoor crypt and an abbey. Further down the river is one of the many castles along the Rhine, perched even higher than the Apollinariskirche.

Stations of the Cross series of artistic representations, depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion

The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The object of the stations is to help the Christian faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It has become one of the most popular devotions and the stations can be found in many Western Christian churches, including Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic ones.


The Roman Empire built a border fort at Rigomagus (or Ricomagus), west of the Rhine. This was about 12 miles north of the site of the first bridge ever built across the Rhine (at Neuwied). This bridge fought the river current by being built on timbers which were driven into the bed at a slant. Caesar's troops spent nearly three weeks on the east side of the river, then crossed back over, destroying the bridge to prevent its use by German raiders. A second bridge was likewise destroyed by the builders once they were through with it.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Senate of Rome sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Neuwied Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Neuwied is a town in the north of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, capital of the District of Neuwied. Neuwied lies on the east bank of the Rhine, 12 km northwest of Koblenz, on the railway from Frankfurt am Main to Cologne. The town has 13 suburban administrative districts: Heimbach-Weis, Gladbach, Engers, Oberbieber, Niederbieber, Torney, Segendorf, Altwied, Block, Irlich, Feldkirchen, Heddesdorf and Rodenbach. The largest is Heimbach-Weis, with approximately 8000 inhabitants.

The fort was one of a series built by Drusus, commander of the Roman army along the Rhine. Other Roman construction survived the centuries, including a gateway and Remagen became a tourist destination, popular with history buffs. Remagen appears on the 4th century Peutinger Map.

Nero Claudius Drusus Roman politician and soldier, son of Tiberius Nero and Livia

Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, born Decimus Claudius Drusus, also called Drusus Claudius Nero, Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a patrician Claudian on his legal father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family. He was the son of Livia Drusilla and the legal stepson of her second husband, the Emperor Augustus. He was also brother of the Emperor Tiberius, father to both the Emperor Claudius and general Germanicus, paternal grandfather of the Emperor Caligula, and maternal great-grandfather of the Emperor Nero.

4th century Century

The 4th century was the time period which lasted from 301 to 400. In the West, the early part of the century was shaped by Constantine the Great, who became the first Roman emperor to adopt Christianity. Gaining sole reign of the empire, he is also noted for re-establishing a single imperial capital, choosing the site of ancient Byzantium in 330 to build the city soon called Nova Roma ; it was later renamed Constantinople in his honor.

Local legend says that a ship carrying various relics from Milan to Cologne was stopped in the river in 1164, unable to move despite the strong current, until it mysteriously edged in toward the shore. The remains of Saint Apollinaris were put ashore, and the ship was then able to sail onward. These remains were interred in a chapel which had been part of the Roman fort, which became the basis for a church which bore his name, and was rebuilt several times over the years.

Translation (relic) movement of a holy relic from one location to another

In Christianity, the translation of relics is the removal of holy objects from one locality to another ; usually only the movement of the remains of the saint's body would be treated so formally, with secondary relics such as items of clothing treated with less ceremony. Translations could be accompanied by many acts, including all-night vigils and processions, often involving entire communities.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,395,274 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Cologne city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

Bridge at Remagen

The Ludendorff Bridge was originally built during World War I as a means of moving troops and logistics west over the Rhine to reinforce the Western Front. The bridge was designed by Karl Wiener, an architect from Mannheim. It was 325 metres (1,066 ft) long, had a clearance of 14.8 metres (49 ft) above the normal water level of the Rhine, and its highest point measured 29.25 metres (96.0 ft). The bridge was designed to be defended by troops with towers on each bank with machine gun slits in the towers. The bridge carried two railway tracks and a pedestrian walkway. During World War II, one track was planked over to allow vehicular traffic.

Ludendorff Bridge former bridge across the Rhine in Germany

The Ludendorff Bridge was in early March 1945 a critical remaining bridge across the river Rhine in Germany when it was captured during the Battle of Remagen by United States Army forces during the closing weeks of World War II. Built in World War I to help deliver reinforcements and supplies to the German troops on the Western Front, it connected Remagen on the west bank and the village of Erpel on the eastern side between two hills flanking the river.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Western Front (World War I) main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.

Capture of the bridge

During Operation Lumberjack, on 7 March 1945, troops of the U.S. Army's 9th Armored Division reached the Ludendorff Bridge during the closing weeks of World War II and were very surprised to see that the railroad bridge was still standing. It was the last of 22 road and railroad bridges over the Rhine still standing after German defenders failed to demolish it. U.S. forces were able to capture the bridge. The unexpected availability of the first major crossing of the Rhine, Germany's last major natural barrier and line of defense, caused Allied high commander Dwight Eisenhower to alter his plans to end the war and possibly shortened the war in Europe. [3] [4]

The ability to quickly establish a bridgehead on the eastern side of the Rhine and to get forces into Germany allowed the U.S. forces to envelop the German industrial area of the Ruhr more quickly than planned. The Allies were able to get six divisions across the bridge before it collapsed on 17 March 1945, ten days after it was captured. The collapse killed 18 U.S. Army Engineers. [5]

A large number of books and articles in newspapers and magazines on the battle for the bridge have been published. The best-known work on the battle is 1957's The Bridge at Remagen by the American author Ken Hechler. [6] In 1968 David L. Wolper produced an American motion picture, The Bridge at Remagen . The film depicts historical events, but is fictional in all other aspects. [7]


Remagen commemorative plaque. Remagen Trip Winter 2005 (14).JPG
Remagen commemorative plaque.

Hans Peter Kürten, at that time Mayor of Remagen, had long considered the idea of constructing a memorial. The negotiations with the German Federal Railways alone lasted seven years before the city could finally acquire the former railway property. Announcements sent to government officials concerning the intended preservation of the bridge towers and the construction of a Memorial to Peace stirred no interest.

In the summer of 1976, it was necessary to remove the still intact bridge support pilings in the river. The mayor had the stones deposited on the Remagen river bank, with the idea in mind of selling small pieces of the bridge stones enclosed in synthetic resin and containing a certificate of authenticity.

On 7 March 1978, he went public with his idea and achieved such an unexpected degree of success, that he had realised more than 100,000 DM (around 50,000 EUR) in sales profits.

There has not been another bridge built across the Rhine here, mainly due to opposition from the people of Remagen (and surrounding areas), contending that a bridge located at this point along the Rhine would spoil the view.

Prisoner enclosures

A U.S. soldier keeping guard over German soldiers, war-prisoners in Remagen Remagen enclosure.jpg
A U.S. soldier keeping guard over German soldiers, war-prisoners in Remagen

In 1945, the U.S. built one of the many enclosures on the west bank of the Rhinethe so-called Rheinwiesenlager close to Remagen. The camps were used by the Allies to house captured German soldiers. Several thousand prisoners are estimated to have died in the various camps, including 1,212 who are now buried in the Bad Bodendorf Cemetery. [8]



The Apollinaris Church was built 1839-1842 on the site of the medieval Church of St. Martin. The frescos on the inside of the neo-Gothic church were painted by members of the artists group called the "Nazarenes". Three cycles show the life of Jesus, the life of Mary, and the history of Saint Apollinaris, legendary Bishop of Ravenna. In the crypt is a silver bust of the saint, which is raised from the sarcophagus every year at the pilgrimage time at the end of July. From the statue of Saint Francis of Assisi on top of the church, there is a lovely view of Remagen and the romantic Lower Rhine Valley.

Peace Museum "Remagen Bridge"

Bridge towers Remagen 002.jpg
Bridge towers

The museum is housed in the towers of the famous bridge built between 1916 and 1918. It opened in 1980 and tells the story of the bridge and the US prisoner of war camp known as the Golden Mile, on the eponymous plain.

Arp Museum housed in the Bahnhof Rolandseck

The historic railway station at Rolandseck about 5 km north of Remagen, now houses a museum devoted to the work of Hans Arp. The 19th century railway station - itself a classic example of early German railway architecture - was transformed into a cultural venue for all the arts in the 19th century. Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann and Franz Liszt gave concerts there. George Bernard Shaw staged his plays there. The young poet Guillaume Apollinaire even fell in love there. Neglected, the building was listed for demolition after World War II, but in 1964 the Bonn art dealer Johannes Wasmuth brought it back to life. Musicians such as Martha Argerich, Stefan Askenase, and Yehudi Menuhin, artists such as Hans Arp, Oskar Kokoschka and Günther Uecker, and performers such as Marcel Marceau have all appeared there. [9]


Remagen station is on the Left Rhine line and the Ahr Valley Railway. It is served by InterCity, Regional-Express (the Rhein-Express , at hourly intervals) and Regionalbahn services ( MittelrheinBahn , at hourly intervals) operating between Cologne and Koblenz. It is also served by Rhein-Ahr-Bahn services on the Ahr Valley Railway to Ahrbrück at hourly intervals.


Notes and references

  1. "Alle politisch selbständigen Gemeinden mit ausgewählten Merkmalen am 31.12.2018 (4. Quartal)". DESTATIS. Archived from the original on 10 March 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. "Bevölkerungsstand 2017 - Gemeindeebene". Statistisches Landesamt Rheinland-Pfalz (in German). 2018.
  3. Thompson, John (February 2, 1947). "Remagen Bridge Won; War's Last Battle Begins" (2). Chicago Tribune. p. 6. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  4. "Remagen Bridge Shortened War". The Lewiston Daily Sun. December 17, 1945: 2. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  5. MacDonald, Charles B., "Chapter XIV The Rhine Crossings in the North", The Last Offensive, US Army in World War II: European Theater of Operations, p. 294
  6. Hechler, Ken (2009-03-25). The Bridge at Remagen: A Story of World War II (First ed.). Presidio Press. p. 217. ISBN   978-0891418603.
  7. Johnson, Niel A. (November 29, 1985). "Oral History Interview with Ken Hechler". Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  8. Alan Heath - Friedhof an Bad Bodendorf
  9. Official Web site

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