"A Splendid City in Westerwald" Altenkirchen by hunterV
Altenkirchen Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 56 photos
My acquaintance with the majestic Westerwald (WW in German for short) began in March 1990 when a 28-member delegation of the young people from Altenkirchen County came to Luhansk through “OKTO Reisen”, Cologne. The German groupwas on a ten-day visit to see our way of life.
I was a part-time interpreter of “Sputnik” Youth Travel Bureau of Luhansk at that time.
Sputnik was the receiving organization and I took part in many visits and meetings of the group. Also, I invited its leader, Petra, and her boyfriend Christoph to visit my family at our home.
The trip of the German group took place to Luhansk and not to any other Russian or Ukrainian city only thanks to the personal ties.
It's a long story.
Mr. Anatoly Kirpaty, the chief of Sputnik travel bureau who had hired me as an interpreter had a V.I.P. friend who was the boss of the All-Union Sputnik in Moscow. Since Moscow was flooded with tourists then, the Moscow boss asked Anatoly to receive a German group, as a favor to him.
Anatoly agreed to receive the group in Luhansk region and to fulfill the group’s requirements as to their stay in the country.
The trip was a discovery for many of its members who had never been to the Soviet Union before.
The young people from Altenkirchen County were full of impressions, made a video "Back in the USSR" that I received as a gift later, and wrote an article in their regional newspaper on returning home.
Later Altenkirchen County Council organized a charity concert “Rock Helps Ukraine” where the people collected a five-digit sum of money for Ukraine. They decided to help the children of Luhansk region.
Since I was their contact person in Luhansk, Petra, the group leader, wrote to me asking for mediation, which I did and our correspondence began.
As a result, the regional children's hospital received a very necessary device for diagnosing the little patients – an “Olympus” bronchofiberscope. Although it was a used one, it became a great help for the doctors in Luhansk. It has been used successfully to treat the little patients at the hospital since then.
Altenkirchen is the only German city where I stayed six times during my trips to Germany, among them three times as an interpreter.
I have managed to see many of the splendid sights of this attracting tourist area: castles, houses, museums, cathedrals, stores, restaurants, hotels, etc.
With the population of about seven thousand inhabitants the city of Altenkirchen has long been known as one of the smallest county centers in Germany.
I have even stayed at the former castle that is now a higher educational establishment: Friedewald (Schloss Friedewald).
The castle used to belong to von Sayn family. Earl von Sayn was a ruler of this area in the 13th-17th centuries.
One day during our stay there we had the honor of dining at the famous Knights Hall (Rittersaal). It was marvelous! The castle houses the Youth Evangelical Academy now.
I miss Altenkirchen now!
I hope there will be many more visits to that city. It became very dear to my hearts after all my visits there!
You can read more about this county in German in their new web site:
I have also visited several other towns and cities of the county:
Betzdorf, Wissen, Siegen, Au, Ingelbach, Gebhardshain, Horhausen, Katzwinkel and some others.
I am sorry I did not keep a travel diary then, but I remember different visits and meetings.
Once during a county tour we had lunch at the famous Freusburg – an old castle rebuilt and turned into a youth hostel. I remember a nice saying of the medieval German knights that I saw on the wall of the dining room,
“God save me from thunder, lightning and dull people”,
which made me think the medieval knights must have been very merry and optimistic people. Freusburg is a unique castle for its two-floor bay window - Eckerker. We call it "ercker" in Russian, too, almost like the Germans. I have never seen a two-floor bay window before.
I also enjoyed observing the samples of the German architecture of different centuries.
I saw a very nice old building in the central street of Altenkirchen: Priviligierte Aphotheke (Privileged Pharmacy) dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. It is a typical Fachwerkhaus in the style of baroque.
It was great to attend a service at the church there. My host family and I used to go to St.Paul’s Cathedral in Altenkirchen.
I was also at Horhausen Cathedral dating back to 1902.
Horhausen Cathedral is famous for its wall statues at the entrance: St.Mary Magdalena and Antonius Abbat.
Each cathedral or church we have been to is unique and special in its own way.
Let's hope there will be many more visits to Altenkirchen County!
- Pros:A lot of interesting historical and natural sites, friendly people everywhere
- Cons:too far to get there
- In a nutshell:A Gem of Westerwald
Schools in Altenkirchen have very good assembly halls that often receive city concerts or meetings. During our stay in... more travel advice
Here are some useful links: "Mirror Tent" cultural event in September County Administration 13 Rathausstrasse Tel. +49... more travel advice
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