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City of the Nibelungen

Worms is the city of the Nibelungen. The majority of scenes from the medieval ‘Nibelungenlied’ are set in and around Worms. It is said that the Nibelungen treasures are hidden here. On the banks of the Rhine, across from the ‘Nibelungen Ring’, the Hagen holds up the Nibelungen treasures. On your tour through 2,000 years of town history, you will meet emperors and kings, myths and legends of the Nibelungen, a unique cathedral, Judaism and Martin Luther. Luther's appearance before the Kaiser and Imperial Diet linked the Reformation to the town in a special way. It was here, where Luther defended his teachings with his words ‘Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.’ Worms was home to one of the most important Jewish communities in the Middle Ages. Hardly any other European town contains such a variety of important architecture which bears witness to a rich Jewish community and century-old tradition. The oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe takes the visitor back in time. A leap through ages and cultures — 2,000 years of town history.

1. Location of Worms in Germany

The city of Worms is located in the Rheinhessen holiday region, approximately 110 km to the southeast of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (see map on bottom of page).

Rheinhessen is one of the nine holiday regions of Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate. Whatever it is you're looking for, Rheinhessen has it all. Modern city life and traditional sleepy villages, temples to fine dining rubbing shoulders with bars serving the new season's wine, art galleries in warehouses, theatre in vineyards, jazz in a barn. If variety is the spice of life, it's especially true in Rheinehessen, Germany's largest wine-growing region. The local people are cosmopolitan and full of joie de vivre, with a dash of Gallic laissez-faire and a certain idiosyncrasy thrown in. ... read more about the Rheinhessen holiday region

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2. City of the Nibelungen & Martin Luther

It is said that the indefatigable still wander the banks of the Rhine — in search of the legendary treasures of the Nibelungen. And indeed, every now and then a piece of gold turns up in the sands of the Rhine at Worms. Perhaps there is some truth in the myth. The people of Worms are convinced of it, yet to this day they still allow people to visit the places at which their heroes hatched their plots. You can find them on the Nibelungen Trail that runs from the cathedral, past the glass windows of the town hall, through the mediaeval city gates and down to the Hagen memorial on the Rhine. There, the grim-faced warrior stands surrounded by an expanse of greenery on the banks of the Rhine, wildly flinging the Nibelungen jewellery towards the river.

Martin Luther, on the other hand, had other worries. On 18 April 1521, he was summoned before the Emperor to recant his teachings, which of course he refused to do. It was here, where Luther defended his teachings with his words ‘Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.’ Steadfast as ever, he stands today near the cathedral with a bible in his hands, eleven supporters gathered at his feet. Together, they have come to form the biggest reformation memorial in the world. From here, a site of Christianity, it is only a short walk through Worms to Judaism. Strolling past the former city walls, you will soon come to an iron gate leading to the oldest preserved Jewish cemetery in Europe. More than 2,000 gravestones tower up peacefully out of the meadows. Crooked and weather-beaten, they stand in the shadows of the trees. There, where leading Jews have been buried since the 11th century, you will find today a place of serene seclusion.

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3. Points of Interest

Luther and the Nibelungenlied — reminders of the reformer and the brave warriors of the epic are to be found on just about every street corner. The oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe takes the visitor even further back in time. A leap through ages and cultures — 2,000 years of town history.

Worms Museum
The 12th/13th century abbey houses art and culture from early history to the modern day.
Town Walls
Substantial sections of wall dating back to the 10th century and remains from Roman times still encircle the historic town centre. Today it is the home of the Nibelungen-Museum.
Heiliger Sand

Jewish cemetery Graves spanning ten decades loom up from the hilly meadow of the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe.

Luther Monument
The world’s biggest monument to Luther stands as a reminder of Luther’s steadfastness before the Worms parliament in 1521.
Heylshof Arts Centre
In the Heylshof garden. Private foundation with exquisite collections of paintings, porcelain, small sculptures and lots more.
Imperial and Episcopal Palace
A plaque now marks the spot where Kaiser Karl V and Martin Luther first confronted one another.
Imperial Cathedral of St. Peter
One of the most remarkable pieces of Romanesque architecture in Germany. According to the Nibelungen saga, it was at the Kaiserportal (Emperor’s Gate) that Kriemhild and Brunhild once came to blows.
St. Magnus’ Church
The reformation started in Worms in 1521 in this former Carolingian one-room church from the 8th/9th century.
St. Martin’s Collegiate Church
Triple nave Romanesque buttressed basilica. The dungeons of St. Martin are said to be beneath the church.
Dating back to 1034, now restored at great expense. The synagogue was reconsecrated in 1961. The subterranean baths, completed in 1185/86, extend far below ground.
St. Frederick’s Church and the Red House
Church built in 1744 by the reformists. Next door is the only nonroyal renaissance building to have been preserved, dating back to 1624.
St. Paul’s Collegiate Church
Built in 1016 as a triple nave buttressed basilica, it houses a Romanesque pentagonal enclosed chancel.
Romanesque House Wall
Part of a large town house dating back to the early 1200s.
Market Fountain
Built in 1778 by a local community association, topped with a statue of Justice because of its proximity to the town hall. To the right and left are statues of Hercules and Neptune.
Trinity Church
Built between 1709 and 1725 in baroque forms as a Lutheran town church. Rebuilt with a modern interior after being destroyed in 1945.
Adler Apothecary
Prestigious baroque town house from the first half of the18th century.
Winzerbrunnen Fountain
Created in 1983 by Worms sculptor Gustav Nonnenmacher, as the focal point of the Kämmererstraße pedestrian zone.
Worms ‘Wheel of Destiny’
Turning continuously since 1986, it tells the history of the town and depicts the joy of life. It was created by Gustav Nonnenmacher and endowed by the electricity supplier EWR Rheinhessen.
Church of Our Lady
In the seminary. Important late Gothic building from the 14th/15th century set amid the vineyards where the world-famous Liebfrauenmilch is still made today.
Ludwig's Market
With obelisk erected in honour of Grand Duke Ludwig of Hesse (died 1892)
Rhine Promenade
With statue of Hagen (1905) and view of Bridgetower (1900)

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4. Theatre, Concerts & Museums

Worms looks back on a long and very eventful history, which you can discover in all of the museums in the town — whether through preserved cultural pieces of art or through a multimedia journey back in time. During the theatre season, which normally runs from September to May, the cultural office of Worms takes responsibility for around 70 plays and concerts. Most of the events take place in the municipal playhouse. As the town of Worms does not have its own ensemble, all performers come from highly acclaimed national and international groups and guarantee a varied programme of very high quality. The concert subscription offers 5 symphony concerts from internationally acclaimed orchestras and selected soloists.

4.1 Theatre and Concerts

Municipal Playhouse
It was opened on 6th November 1966. Since then, it has played a significant cultural and social role for Worms with around 150 events annually.
The Nibelungen Festival Worms
The Nibelungen saga delivers a history of murder, revenge and betrayal. It is one of the most significant crimes of world literature.
Theaterring Worms e. V.
Experience theatre with the Theaterring Worms e. V. During a theatre season, you can attend up to 7 performances in the municipal playhouse.

4.2 Museums

Nibelungen Museum Worms
In the Nibelungen museum, visitors can go on a hunt for the legendary treasure of the Nibelungen which is said to be buried under the town.
Town Museum
Worms, the oldest town in Germany, has been inhabited for more than 7,000 years thanks to its good arable soil and favourable climate. The rich archaeological finds are exhibited here in the museum. The museum of Worms owns one of the largest collections of Roman glass in Germany!
Heylshof Museum
The Heylshof Museum exhibits a magnificent art collection from German, Dutch and French painters, Frankenthal porcelain, glass, ceramics and sculptures.
Jewish Museum in the Worms Rashi House
The tour through Jewish history begins with the facsimile of the oldest parchment deed in the town archive. This deed states that in 1074, King Henry IV declared the “Jews and other citizens of Worms” exempt from paying tolls at the Imperial toll booths.

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5. Wine & Vineyard Country

The viniculture in and around Worms has an almost 2,000 year old tradition. Perhaps the Roman legionaries found it too expensive to import decent wine. Whatever the case, since that era, winegrowing has been heralded in this region and today still shapes the agricultural structure of Rheinhessen and Pfalz. When thinking of wine and Worms, ‘Liebfrauenmilch’ often springs to mind. Originally only made from vines ‘as far as the shadow of the Liebfrauenkirche tower reaches’, Liebfrauenmilch has become a general term for all sweet wines of the region. To taste the original Liebfrauenmilch you have to watch out for the ‘Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück’ label.

Not only Liebfrauenmilch prospers in Worms. A new generation of wine-growers believes in quality not quantity — even the traditional viniculture has moved with the times. More red wines are being cultivated, the environmentally-aware farming of the vineyards has won through. The many awards won by the ‘Wonnegauer’ wine growers over the past few years, are the best advertisement for the wine from Worms and Rheinhessen.

If we believe the author of the Nibelungenlied, ‘den gouten vin, den besten, den man kunde vinden umben Rin’ (the good wine, the best you could find along the Rhine) was already being served at the Royal Court in Worms. It was often said that the Nibelungen treasure which Hagen threw into the Rhine was also to be found in the gold of the wine.

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6. Events Finder

The people of Worms manage to find a reason to celebrate nearly every month of the year. Whether it is at the three-day Starling festival in the ‘old town’, the wine fountain festival in the suburb of Pfeddersheim or one of the many fairs held in various parts of the city. So, if you miss a festival, you can just visit the next one.

Here you can search for events and festivals in the region.

6.1 Backfischfest — Biggest Wine & Folk Festival on the Rhine

So what is ‘Backfisch‘ — fried fish (and it doesn't just mean the food)? The Worms dialect poet Christel Müller explains: ‘It is certainly not fried, even if it crispy all over: this is what we call young girls in Worms on the Rhine’. The ‘Backfisch’ — both varieties — is the subject of celebration for nine days at the end of August/beginning of September at the Backfisch Festival. The ‘Fried Fish Queen’ is crowned and of course there is a wonderful smell of fried fish everywhere you go. Around 700,000 visitors gather every year at this, the biggest wine and folk festival on the Rhine. If you would like to see if your body can still stand up to the challenge of the latest fairground rides, you can do so at the huge fairground. You should perhaps save the fried fish until afterwards though! Nor is the traditional ‘prod the fisherman’ for the faint-hearted. They’re better off in the wine tent where a few good drops are served by the wine-growers of Rheinhessen. Or the Backfisch procession along the hustle and bustle of the streets of Worms.

6.2 Jazzfestival Worms

A totally different type of music can be heard at the Worms jazz festival at the beginning of July. For the three days the virtuoso performances of jazz musicians can be heard on the streets of Worms. Jazz fans from all over the world join in the celebrations with around 40 famous international jazz bands performing against the historical setting of the cathedral. Singer and entertainer Al Jarreau has already appeared on one of the five open-air stages, as has the legendary organist Brian Auger.

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7. Hotel & Holiday Flat Finder

Here you have direct access to the online accommodation reservation service of the Tourist Board of Rhineland-Palatinate. No other hotel reservation system on the Internet offers you such a broad and comprehensive list of accommodation in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate regions. You can list accommodation, search accommodation, contact accommodation establishments and make online reservations.

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8. How to get there from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport

8.1 By Rental Car

Google Maps: Route from (A) Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to (B) Worms
(110 km distance / 1:11 hours driving time) » get directions

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8.2 By Bus

Buses run from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to Worms.

Bus routes and timetables:

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Tourist Office Address

Worms Tourist-Information
Neumarkt 14
67547 Worms

Tel.: +49 (0) 62 41 - 2 50 45
Fax: +49 (0) 62 41 - 2 63 28