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Andernach ( ) is a town in the district of Mayen-Koblenzmarker, in Rhineland-Palatinatemarker, Germanymarker of currently about 30,000 inhabitants which are named der/die Andernacher (male singular and plural forms are identical as in all name adjectives ending in -er), and the lady/-ies are die Andernacherin/-nen (singular/plural forms). It is situated towards the end of the Neuwiedmarker basin on the left Rhinemarker bank between the former tiny fishing village Fornich in the north and the mouth of the small river Nette in the south east, just north of Koblenzmarker with its five external town districts Kell, Miesenheim, Eich, Namedy, and Bad Tönisstein. A few hundred meters downstream of Andernach the Rhine valley narrows from both sides forming the northern part of the romantic Middle Rhine stretch. Already in Roman times the place the narrow passage begins was named "Porta Antunnacensis" or Andernachian Gate. It is formed by two hills, the Krahnenberg  (engl. Crane hill)  and the Engwetter (Narrow weather) on the right bank near the wine village Leutesdorf (external town district of Bad Hönningenmarker). The crane hill is named after the old crane beneath his foot (see below); in earlier times (until 1650) the hill was named "Geiersberg" ("Vulture's hill").

The town

Local dialect

As with most German cities, towns, and villages, Andernach has its own local dialect - the "Andernacher Platt" ("Andernachian dialect") in which "Andernach" and the local dialect itself is named "Annenach" and "Annenache Platt". It belongs to the Moselle Franconian language subgroup and considerably differs from High German, e. g. the Rhine river is named "Rhein" [ˈraɪn] in High German (pronounced similar to English "Rhine" except for the "r"), but "Rhäin" [ˈrɛːɪn] in the dialect; except for the "r", it sounds similar to English "rain" with a stretched "a". Another examples are words like "Wind" (engl. wind) and "Winter" (engl. winter), which is "Weend" and "Weende" in the dialect. The double "ee" is pronounced like french "é". Unlike other dialects in the surrounding places the Andernachian dialect is strongly relative to the Ripuarian dialect due its connection to Cologne. For more examples see the German Wikipedia site.

Coat of arms and town seal

The coat of arms of Andernach known since 1344 (the colours appeared first in 1483) shows a black cross on a white escutcheon (shield) charged with a pair of X-shapedly arranged red keys. In heraldic language: Silver a cross sable charged with keys gules in saltire.

The black cross on silver symbolizes the governance of Electoral Cologne, the keys refer to St. Peter the patron saint of the Archbishopric of Trier (and of the cathedral of Trier), of which Andernach formed part. The red (key) colour adverts to the red cross (on silver) in the coat of arms of Electoral Trier.

The oldest town seal shows St. Mary sitting on a throne with a church in her right hand and with the left hand holding a town. The seal inscription says: MATER DEI PATRONA CIVIUM ANDERNACENSIUM - Mother of God, patron saint of the Andernachian citizens. The oldest seal was made before 1200, the oldest seal impression dates from the year 1250.


With more than 2,000 years of age, Andernach is one of the oldest towns in Germany, founded by the Romans as Antunnacum in 12 BC on an old Celtic settlement site probably called Antunnac(os). Both the Roman and the Celtic names mean "village or farm of Antunnos/us", a man not yet identified. The "Bimillenary feast" was held in 1988. It was the southernmost outpost of "Electoral Cologne" from the 12th to the 19th century. Beside the touristically appealing medieval remnants of the old town fortifications the city of Andernach provides a few industrial plants, such as a huge malt mill, the last one of more than ten mills (and breweries) in the 19th and 20th centuries (dismantled in 2008), a big steel-mill to produce cold formed tin plate, and some companies manufacturing medicine products, raw food materials, cast iron products, engines and engine parts.

Tourists who come to the region usually visit the medieval fortifications such as the tall "Round Tower" (Ger. "Der Runde Turm") finished in 1453, the archiepiscopal (Cologne-electoral) castle ruins with a well-preserved keep, and the remains of the town wall with several well-restored wall towers and two gates: the "Rhine Gate" (das "Rheintor") built around 1200 as the "Grain Gate" (die "Kornpforte"; last renovation and reconstruction in 1899 after 17th century plans) and the "Coblencian Gate" ("Koblenzer Tor"), originally called the "Castle Gate" ("Burgpforte"); in medieval and Renaissance times up to the 19th century the German word "Pforte" (from Latin "porta") was used for town and church gates instead of "Tor".
Map of regions in the vicinity of Andernach
Another fine "industrial" sight is the "Old Crane" of Andernach (Ger. der "Alte Krahnen"), a 16th century stony land based treadwheel tower crane of diameter and height, situated outside the town downstream close to the river bank of the old harbour replacing a 14th century wooden floating treadwheel crane. For 350 years it was in operation from 1561 to 1911. Two to four men were requested to rotate the crane top by means of a huge double ended lever (horizontal wooden bar) attached to the vertical wooden crane "beam", four more men (treadwheel men or menials) to operate the huge wooden twin treadwheels (more than in diameter) to lift up or lower the load, mainly millstones, tuff-stone blocks for the Netherlandsmarker, and wine casks. This treadwheel crane with stone walls (most cranes had a timber housing) is one of only a few ones of its kind in Europe which have survived the past. A prince-electoral order or permission was needed to built and operate such a crane in the times of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Catholic "St. Mary Assumption Parish Church" locally known as "Church of Our Lady" or "St. Mary's Cathedral" (Ger. "Pfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt", "Liebfrauenkirche", or "Mariendom") is the oldest sight in Andernach in parts dating back to the 11th century.

The town palais "von der Leyen house" (Ger. "Haus von der Leyen") named after its builder, district magistrate, and governor of the prince-elector "Georg III von der Leyen" dates back to 1600. Built in renaissance and baroque styles it now houses the town museum since 1936 and again since 1969. It diplays among others a fine model of the Roman "castrum" Antunnacum, a 17th century town modell in ~1:600 scale, and a thoroughly assembled model (~1:90) of the prince-electoral town castle.

Geysir Andernach, the world highest cold-water geyser
A rather natural "sight" is the world highest (max. ) cold-water geyser driven by carbon dioxide (it operates comparable to a shaken bottle of table water) and located a little less than half a mile downstream from the "Crane" in the Nature Reserve of "Namedyer Werth" (MHG for "island of Namedy) now a peninsula. In 1903 the geyser was activated the first time and shut down in 1957. In the beginning of the 21st century the geyser has been reactivated and is about to become a city attraction.

Notable people born in Andernach

Description of area sights

The famous Lake of Laach  (Ger. "Laacher See", literally meaning "'Laachian' or 'Laky' Lake", i.e. "Lacustrine Lake" or "Lake of the Lake", comparable to the naming of "Loch Lochymarker" in Scotlandmarker), the largest maarlike lake in the Eifel (exactly speaking a water-filled caldera) with its 12th century Benedictine Monastery. The famous "Abbey of Maria Laachmarker" is situated away to the west of the town in the southern Fore-Eifel also known as Front-Eifel (Ger. Südliche Voreifel or Vordereifel, the south-eastern forelands to the Eifel).

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Andernach is twinned with:

See also

External links

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