While my parents were here visiting over the summer we took them to the town of Eltville am Rhein or Eltville for short. 

“Am Rhein” means “on the Rhine” and it was a beautiful day to walk along the river and through the town when we visited.

We made the 30-minute drive and parked near the Electors’ Castle, the white building you see here.

It was built between 1330 and 1350 and also happens to be the place where the tourist information (TI) office is located.

If you like you can visit the rooms in the castle tower and climb the 123 steps up to the top. 

Although we didn’t do that on this visit, I’ll make the climb if we ever visit Eltville again. 

One of the interesting things about the tower is that Johannes Gutenberg of printing press fame was named a nobleman there in the year 1465. 

A Latin/German dictionary, printed in 1467, is on display inside the tower as is a collection of printing equipment.

At the top of the tower is a viewing platform, and at the bottom of the tower is the dungeon. 

Skipping the climb on this trip, we opted instead to just pick up a walking tour map from the TI that was available in English and headed out to explore.

The first thing we saw upon leaving the TI was the beautiful Rose Garden on the castle grounds.

The garden even extends outside the castle walls and runs along the Rhine.

This building near the castle is known as the Rose House.

It dates back to 1739 in its present form, but has been around since 1480.  German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ate there during his 1814 visit to Eltville.  Frankly the man got around.  I think we’ve yet to visit a German town where he didn’t eat or sleep.

Martin’s Gate, seen here, is the only remaining city gate of Eltville’s original four.

Eltville is in a big winegrowing region, and winegrowers used to drive their carts full of wine casks through that gate.  The Rhine runs right in front of the gate, so the casks would then be loaded onto boats and taken away for sale.

No winegrowing town would be complete without an old wine press on public display.

That one has the year 1727 etched into the wood.

One of the things that I love about Germany in the summer is the seasonal stands they set up in winegrowing areas.

That little building with the black roof is a wine stand and as you can see, people were just enjoying the day and sipping wine by the Rhine.  Life could be worse.

Eltville has numerous impressive half-timbered houses, some dating back almost 650 years. 

This one is from the year 1365.

I always wonder why they don’t still build half-timbered houses because they are obviously sturdy.

The Gensfleischhaus seen here is named after Friele Gensfleisch, brother of Johannes Gutenberg who was mentioned earlier.

The house is near the castle, and Gensfleisch lived here from 1434 until he died in 1447.

If you’re wondering why the brothers had different last names, Johannes’ full name was actually Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg.  I’m not sure why he went by Gutenberg and his brother went by Gensfleisch, but there you have it.

Because of the exquisitely preserved and restored half-timbered houses in Eltville, the town is part of the Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse (German Timber-Frame Road).  It’s a 3,000-kilometer route covering seven different regions that contain examples of different styles of half-timbered buildings.

Of course the town has a splendid church, too.

It’s called the St. Peter and Paul church and is a Catholic church that was built between 1350 and 1440.

You can see from this stained glass panel in the church that the town is dedicated to its wine industry.

As we made our way back towards the Electors’ Castle we ended up in another section of the Rose Garden.

During the height of the season there are over 20,000 rose bushes in bloom around town.

Here’s Sean and my dad taking a break in the castle’s courtyard.

On the way back to the car we passed this building called the Gelbes Haus or Yellow House.

It was built in the 17th century wand was attached to the old city wall.  It now houses a restaurant.

During our walk around town I kept commenting to Sean that I couldn’t believe we hadn’t been there before.  I was so surprised that this town with so much history and charming architecture and wonderful river views was a mere 30-minute drive away.

I don’t know why it took so long for that to be our first visit but I have a feeling it won’t be our last!

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