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Idar-Oberstein, the German gem center

In the narrows between steep, rocky cliffs and the banks of the Nahe River lies Idar-Oberstein. Since every square meter of land is at a premium here, the river has been covered over by the town. This means that since 1986 the Nahe has flowed underneath the town for several kilometers. The world famous Felsenkirche (a church from 1482-1484), the construction of which is traced to a story of fratricide, is built high above the old town into a vertical rock wall and gives Idar-Oberstein quite a unique character. The steep steps leading up to Felsenkirche are climbed every year by countless visitors from all over the world, whose efforts however are more than rewarded by impressive works of art there. Examples are a Gothic winged altar from 1410 and a beautiful Stumm organ from the year 1756. The setting of both the old and the new castles high above Felsenkirche gives the visitor a feel for how proudly enthroned above the town and valley the lords of Dhaun and Oberstein castles were in the Middle Ages.

Church «Felsenkirche» with Gothic winged altar (Nahe Valley)
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