Deserted buildings in Germany

In May 1999 I visited my father in Switzerland. On the way home we took the route along the Rhine and we slept in Trechtinghausen, near Bingen. We chose this place because we both like the music that Hildegard von Bingen (nun, prioress and saint) composed in the Middle Ages.

On the road to Bingen you pass these deserted railroad buildings. The viaduct is locked and through the dirty windows you can see old switchboards and dusty manuals. The other buildings are open. The windows are mostly broken. The floors are covered with relics of many parties. There are some doors and stairways leading underground.

Unfortunately I didn't have much time to explore. We were on the way home and my wife was getting impatient. I got 15 minutes to explore while she sat in the car reading a historic novel (about a woman's life in old China).

It's strange that all the buildings are deserted while the railway is very much in use. A train passes every 5-10 minutes. Sometimes even the high-speed, aerodynamic, ICE-trains.

I can't remember exactly, but when we returned in July all these buildings had been demolished (I think).

A bit more to the North we saw many deserted industrial buildings near Boppard.

We liked the area along the Rhine so much that we decided to spend our summer holidays there. We stayed in the village of Trechtinghausen. It was very hot summer weather. During one of our walks through the hills I saw this quarry on the opposite side of the river.

You can't miss this spot. The car ferry that crosses the river to Kaub stops here. You can see the landing area and the ramp down to the river in the lower left corner.

Through my binoculars I saw something that looked very much like a deserted village. You can see it in the upper right corner.

That evening I asked for an evening off and went searching for the ghost town. After some failed attempts (scrambling through bushes and finding yourself at the top of a cliff) I found a low locked gate and a sign saying that I was forbidden to enter this private property. After climbing over I found the entrance of the ghost-town. Everything was closed and locked. Signs saying: "Eintritt Bergpolizeilich verboten" (a "mining-police" seems to exist!).

But the expedition was cut short by the appearance of a wild looking mountainbiker who had also climbed the fence and who asked me if I knew a route down to the river. I like creeping through bushes and deserted buildings, but not together with a strange looking unknown person. So we exchanged some trivialities and I went home for the night.

The next day I asked the familiy to go on a long walk with me and I made sure we would end up in the vicinity of the ghost town. It was a very hot sumer day. Wild thyme grew along the paths and you could eat as many wild cherries as you could stomach. We found a place where you could look down on the ghost town but we found no alternative route inside. Here youre looking down on the entrance-building.

The rest of the town is in a desolate shape. all windows are broken. In many places the roofs have collapsed. Some parts are built on top of a collapsing cliff.

On the opposite side of the river we found more exotic ruins in the village of Kaub. If I told you that these pictures were made in Mexico or Arizona you would surely belive me. This is the "Wilhelm Erb Stollen" - a shale quarry. The underground part is inside the mountainside you can see in the third picture. It was started in 1837 and it went out of production in 1972. The thin shale slabs were used for decorative roof cover and the useless fragments were ground into powder. The powder was used for graphite production and in cement. The building is in a very bad shape. It seems that no use has been found for it yet.

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1999 Petr Kazil - Updated 12 December 1999