Bacharach's very name points out the town's celtic
roots. The town's original name
"Baccaracus" means roughly the "Celtic manor
We believe that there has been a
settlement in this location constantly since the
Franconian Merovingian period. The first written record
dates back to 923, however this is somewhat disputed, with
another more certain record dating back to 1019. Stahleck
Castle, which was built in the 11th Century, was initially
the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne's reeves.
In the 12th Century, it was the residence of the Count
Palatine and the center of the Rhine Palatinate. Agnes von
Hohenstaufen and Heinrich the Welfen were
married here in 1194.
The Welfens only succeeded the Hohenstaufens in
ruling the Palatinate until 1214, when the
Palatinate, which later developed to become the
Electorate Palatinate, was transferred
to the house of Wittelsbach. Bacharach belonged to the
house of Wittelsbach for almost 600 years until the
Bacharach enjoyed an economic boom in the middle ages
from the start of the 13th century. The town's
favorable location on the Rhine meant that Bacharach
was the key trading, storage and transfer point for wine and wood.
With the exception of the Bacharach toll, which was
the main source of income for the state's lords, Bacharach
rose to fame around the world for its wine.
The town's political importance grew hand in hand with its
increasing trade. Bacharach was included in the
"rheinischer Städtebund" (Association of Rhine cities) in 1254. Bacharach received
its town charter in 1356. Its economic downfall came
about with the Thirty Years' War. In the years
that followed, the town lost its leading position as the
largest wine warehousing location - this was also due to
the excessively high tolls on the Rhine. The town strived for economic
recovery, however this only started during the
19th century. After being freed by Blücher in
1813/14, Bachach became part of the Prussian empire and
after the last war, together with other parts of the former
Rhineland province, it became part of the
state of Rhineland Palatinate during the reclassification of the federal states.
Since the opening of the so-called "Binger Loch", which
was the greatest obstacle to shipping on the middle Rhine,
the subsequent regulation of the Rhine and the
introduction of steamers, Bacharach became a much-loved
destination for tour boats.
The town allows its guests to experience real history and
enjoy the pure romance of the Rhine. In the 19th century,
Victor Hugo described Bacharach as being one of the
"world's prettiest towns".