Hildegard von Bingen is clearly one of the most significant personalities of the Middle Ages. Even today, more than 800 years after her death, her influence can still be felt - especially intensively on the Hildegard von Bingen Pilgrimage Trail, which allows visitors to experience the Nahe region in a spiritual and sporting way.
Hildegard of Bingen lives on in the Nahe region. During her lifetime, she was active here in many ways: as a Benedictine nun, abbess, seeress, poet, naturalist and healer, polymath, as well as a significant advisor to influential personalities. Although her writings are known far beyond her native region, she is firmly rooted in the Nahe region - until today.
Where exactly she was born, is not clearly provable. It is possible that she was born in Niederhosenbach near Idar-Oberstein. In any case, she left many traces in the surrounding countryside, which can be explored today on the Hildegard von Bingen Pilgrimage Trail. The approximately 140-kilometer hike, which is divided into ten stages, starts in Idar-Oberstein, passes the former family seat in Niederhosenbach and finally ends in Bingen on the Rhine, where the theologian's last place of work can be found.
The dreamlike path leads through a beautiful landscape and mostly follows the Nahe river. It aims to bring pilgrims into contact with their spirituality, to give them new strength and enriching experiences. On the way, it also passes through wild forests in the Hunsrück region, and there are always fabulous views, sometimes with a rising pulse, for example on the Nahe Skywalk. Constant companion: Hildegard von Bingen, about whom you will learn a lot on the exciting information boards along the way. They don't just inform, they ask questions and invite you to meditate. We would like to give you a brief overview of a few important stations along the way:
Already at the beginning of the pilgrimage a highlight awaits you: the gemstone museum in Idar-Oberstein. The region is known for a rich occurrence of gemstones, the history of the various uses and processing of gemstones is reviewed in the exhibition. Stones were also of great importance to Hildegard von Bingen: In her fourth book "Physica" she explained the positive effect of "healing stones" on health.
Today the museum shows, which is housed in a stylishly restored Wilhelminian villa, exhibits all types of gemstones in the world and deals with a wide variety of topics related to gemstones in exciting special exhibitions. By the way: There are numerous gemstone cutting shops and workshops throughout the city that will be happy to welcome you.
On the golden mean of the entire pilgrimage route, on the fourth stage, you will reach the Disibodenberg monastery ruins - a place that is inextricably linked with Hildegard von Bingen and allows you to experience her work. Here the saint spent half of her life and developed her own views and ideas - which was not only met with approval. For example, she relaxed the strict dietary regulations in the monastery and shortened the times of prayer and worship. Nevertheless, the Benedictines of Disibodenberg appreciated her, as she helped the monastery to become very popular.
The place still has something mystical and magical. In the middle of nature, on the plateau of the mountain, the ruins grow out of the ground and tell their story - which also tells of Hildegard von Bingen, such as how she faced great challenges as a young woman and never lost sight of her high goals.
When you arrive at Rupertsberg, you have already experienced and learned a lot: You have walked through the rocky Hunsrück, through forests and across wide meadows. You have already become acquainted with the most important places in the life of the young and adult Hildegard. The last station of the saint is in Bingen, where the Nahe flows into the Rhine. For Hildegard of Bingen this was a very special place: After her time in the Disibodenberg monastery, she decided to found her own monastery, which she had built on the grave of St. Rupert.
Here she devoted herself to a great extent to science and wrote down what she had learned during her many years of practice. She observed nature and the animals that surrounded her and collected ideas for her naturopathy. In this way she gained revolutionary medical knowledge and recorded it. In no other place did she write more than here.
Unfortunately, as a result of the Thirty Years' War, the monastery is and later development, little remained. Only the Rupertsberg vaulted cellar has been preserved. Today it serves as a venue for events and is a reminder of the last place of activity of the polymath - a woman who connected with the nature that surrounded her and went new ways with an alert eye.
The Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail ends at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Hildegard in Rüdesheim-Eibingen. For more information about the route and the individual stations, please contact here.
Cover photo: The ruins of Disibodenberg Monastery are located on a rocky spur above the confluence of the Glan River and the Nahe © Naheland-Touristik GmbH / Timo Volz
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