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Bad Sobernheim

This old, charming health resort with its wonderfully restored downtown area, is the only Felke-bath in Germany. Bad Sobernheim lies in a widening of the Nahe valley, between Martinstein in the west, and the Disibodenberg to the east. It borders on the north by the mountain cliffs of the Soonwald region and in the south by the range of hills between Meisenheim and Kirn, a branch of the Westrich. The character of the area's vegetation comes from the mild, rather dry climate. It is no wonder that Bad Sobernheim is surrounded by vineyards, which are considered to have one of the best locations along the Nahe. Among the many things to discover is the Matthias Church (St. Matthew) with its famous Stumm organ and the new stained glass windows, designed by Georg Meistermann. There are also two late medieval chapels, the city hall, built in the year 1535 (remodelled in 1860 and again in 1970), numerous old courtyards, as well as patrician and middle class houses, including the "House with the little oriel" from 1614/1622. All these make the town especially attractive.

Would you like to take a little stroll through the town?

Bad Sobernheim received its town charter for the first time in 1292 (once again in 1324, and for the last time in 1330, renewed in 1857) and only began to grow beyond its medieval town walls around the middle of the last century. In addition to the beautiful half-timbered facades in the area of the old town centre, there are also some very unique and unusual things to see in the outskirts of the town. In the Nightingale Valley, on the other side of the Nahe, you can visit an open-air museum in which you can see typical farms and all the important types of houses that have been found all over Rhineland-Pfalz over the past centuries and have largely disappeared from our consciousness today. According to the concept of the museum, farmhouses, farmsteads with stables and barns, workshops of various craftsmen, residential buildings and community centres are naturally combined here to form a self-contained village ("museum villages"), supplemented by numerous smaller objects such as village fountains, rural chapels, way crosses and the stone benches that were so typical for the region. Or you can take the 3.5km long barefoot path "under your feet", which starts at the spring pavilion and leads as a circular path along both sides of the Nahe - without shoes and stockings of course.

The winegrowing village of Steinhardt, which belongs to Bad Sobernheim, was 35 million years ago, in the Oligocene era, on the edge of a shallow subtropical sea whose coastline ran along the Kreuznach Basin and Staudernheim Bay. The sand mined in the Steinhardt sand pits dates from this period. This sand contains the famous "Steinhardt Erbsen" (Erbsen=peas): round, pea-shaped, sometimes slightly elongated sandstone spheres, which often contain plant and animal fossils. Shape and size of the sandstone spheres often indicate the enclosed fossil (up to 17cm long spruce cones have been found!). Since the sea in the Middle Oligocene had initially retreated by raising the Upper Rhine Graben, and after a renewed lowering it advanced west again to Bad Sobernheim, two layers of sand can be distinguished here: the "lower" and the "upper" sea sand. In the deeper area there are the Steinhardt Erbsen with maritime fossils, while in the sandstone spheres of the upper area mainly plant remains are enclosed, especially conifer cones, mostly of larches, pines and spruces. Two species of snails can also be found in the upper sea sand. The Steinhardt Erbsen were probably formed near the shore in warm, barium chloride-bearing thermal baths, which obviously only existed in the Steinhardt region. The plants and animals decaying in the immediate vicinity of such thermal baths formed hydrogen sulphide, which reacted with the barium chloride of the thermal baths to barite, whereby the sand around the fossils was enclosed and fossilized.

House with the little oriel from 1614/1622, one of the landmarks of Bad Sobernheim (Nahe Valley)

Dr. Werner Vogt: Bad Sobernheim — eine kleine Kurstadt an der Nahe; Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg, 1999
The «House with the little oriel» from 1614/1622 is a rich renaissance building, which was remodeled in the 19th century in the late classicist style.

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