Felsenkirche: Heaven on earth. Built in rock.


The Felsenkirche promises a breathtaking view that is built deep into the rock and is located high above Idar-Oberstein. All the result of love, fury, jealousy, death and remorse.

At least this is what the legend claims that swirls around this incredible building. It is said that Wyrich von Oberstein dug it out of the rock himself as a punishment after he murdered his brother out of jealousy. Both were in love with the noble lady of the castle Bertha von Lichtenburg, and when Wyrich heard of his younger brother’s betrothal to her, he flung him into the abyss.

At the place where Emich met his end, Wyrich then built the little church with his own hands. On the day of its consecration, he died peacefully himself. As a sign of forgiveness, so the story goes, a spring has since risen in the chapel.

The view of the church in the rocks is certainly spectacular from below. You can reach the church via a tunnel carved deep into the rock. If you look up to the gallery and the organ there, you’ll discover it – the penitent figure shows the wicked Wyrich digging the cave with a chisel. Behind the church there is a staircase in a rock niche that takes you high up to the viewing platform. From here you have a stunning view of the city and the valley.

The Felsenkirche towers over the town of Idar-Oberstein, Nahe

The Felsenkirche towers over the town of Idar-Oberstein, Nahe

Golden tip

Worth gold

Since the 14th century, Oberstein Castle has been enthroned high up on the rocky promontory, directly opposite the ancient Bosselstein Castle. Its history is hardly less spectacular than the legend surrounding Wyrich and Emich. This is because the castle is the result of a decades-long family feud. Today Bosselstein is a ruin, while Oberstein Castle is an historical gem you can even rent on various occasions.

 

What also glitters…

Precious stones and minerals. You can find them here where they are turned into high quality jewellery. Idar-Oberstein has been one of Germany’s most important jewellery centres for centuries. Must-sees include the Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum (German Precious Stones Museum) in Idar-Oberstein, the German Mineral Museum, the gemstone mines at Steinkaulenberg and the Historische Weiherschleife (historical agate grinding mill).

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