Following in Hildegard’s footsteps

A rough cobbled path leads between pretty, well-preserved half-timbered houses. Above them stands a fortified stone tower and there is also a section of the old city walls. A medieval scene that goes back to the days of Hildegard of Bingen. It can be found in Herrstein, a station on the Hildegard of Bingen pilgrimage trail, which begins in Idar-Oberstein and leads through wide sections of the Naheland region to the south of the Moselle, tracing the stages in the life of the saint.

There are many herb gardens dedicated to her along the sides of the path. Hildegard of Bingen is described as a theologist, but she was a woman of many talents and interests. Her knowledge about plants and their healing powers is viewed by many as the basis for a whole system of medicine today. Over the centuries, many things have been attributed to her, and many of the things published about her remain supposition despite in-depth research.

And the same applies to her place of birth. Hildegard is said to have been born in 1098 in Niederhosenbach where the family lived. The village is on the second step of the 137 kilometre pilgrimage, the mid-point of which is the ruined monastery at Disibodenberg near Bad Sobernheim.

The place where Hildegard spent half her life has a special charm that fascinates many visitors, who should take time out to enjoy the lovely ‘Tranquil Path’ around the town. There are 12 boards with psalms and texts written by Hildegard, and the entire pilgrimage trail from Idar-Oberstein to Bingen is dotted with meditation boards providing walkers with spiritual insights.

Hikers at the ruined monastery at Disibodenberg, Nahe

Hikers at the ruined monastery at Disibodenberg on the Hildegard of Bingen pilgrimage trail, Nahe

Hike on the Hildegard of Bingen pilgrimage trail at Disibodenberg, Nahe

Hikers at a meditation board on the Hildegard of Bingen pilgrimage trail at Disibodenberg, Nahe

She then became an abbess in Bingen, where she founded her own convent at Rupertsberg in 1150. She had already gained fame through her work ‘Scrivias’, but wrote many more pieces in Bingen and sent them all over the world before she died in 1179. The convent was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, and the ruins fell victim to the construction of the railway line in the 19th century.

Those wishing to be close to her in Bingen today can visit the Rochusberg: the pilgrimage church has a small relic shrine with one of the saint’s ribs and the Hildegard altar depicting eight scenes from her life. There is also one vault left standing of her convent in Bingen. Hildegard had the building constructed over the grave of Saint Rupert, the patron saint of pilgrims, who still watches over the Hildergard pilgrimage trail today.

Herb garden at Rochusberg in Bingen, Nahe/Rhine-Hesse

Herb garden at Rochusberg in Bingen, Nahe/Rhine-Hesse

Hildegard of Bingen sculpture at St. Rupertus and St. Hildegard church in Bingen, Nahe/Rhine-Hesse

Hildegard of Bingen sculpture at St. Rupertus and St. Hildegard church in Bingen, Nahe/Rhine-Hesse

Hildegard of Bingen

In the footsteps of a saint

Take the Hildegardweg trail in the footsteps of a strong woman who dispensed with convention even in the Middle Ages and is still admired today. Hildegard of Bingen was a seer and a prophet, a healing abbess and a composer, a saint and a doctor of the church. The heart of the pilgrimage through the Nahe region is the Disibodenberg. What was once Hildegard’s home is now a ruined monastery with a really mystical atmosphere. You can feel the deep connections between nature and culture, go on a spiritual journey and discover the land and the lifestyle of the people in the home of Hildegard of Bingen.

More leisure tips for nature lovers in the Nahe region:

More information about holidays at the Nahe

Find out everything you need to know on events, attractions and other destinations in the Nahe valley at the Naheland-Touristik GmbH.

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