"Worms, Germany" Worms by leafmcgowan

Worms Travel Guide: 76 reviews and 259 photos

The fabled city Borbetomagus

The fabled city of Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. In 2004 its population was 85,829. The city was originally called Borbetomagus by the Celts who established it first (meaning "settlement in a watery area"), and it may very well be the "Oldest City in Germany" (of course Trier and Cologne are also fighting for this title). The city was captured and fortified by the Romans under Drusus in 14 BC and named Augusta Vangionum for this garrison but still held the name Borbetomagus. The Roman garrison was developed into a small town with a regularized Roman street plan, forum, temples for Jupiter/Juno/Minerva (upon which of course was built the Cathedral later) and Mars. Roman inscriptions/altars/votive offerings are preserved in the town's archaeological museum along with one of Europe's largest collections of Roman glass.

Burgundians, Huns, Roman Catholics, the French

From 411-413, the Gunther king of the Burgundians set himself up as the puppet-emperor, the unfortunate Jovinus and it was then that the city becam the chief city of the first kingdom of the Burgundians. Overwhelmed in 437 by Hun mercenaries hired by the Roman general Aëtius to put an end to Burgundian raids, in an epic disaster that provided the source for the Nibelungenlied. Borbetomagus was transformed into the Latin name of "Vormatia" in the 6th century. The Roman Catholics took over Worms as early as 346, but definitely by 614 AD. During the Frankish Empire it became an important palatine of Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse) with which came the building of many administrative palaces and many famous bishops were placed here, most notably Burchard of Worms. After the Wormser Dom (Worms Cathedral) was built over the ancient Roman temple; it became dedicated to St. Peter and became one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Germany. Worms also houses four other Romanesque churches as well as the old city fortifications which were preserved, making Worms Germany's second in Romanesque architecture next to Cologne. Worms was very prosperous during the High Middle Ages receiving many privileges from King Henry IV as early as 1074 becoming a Reichsstadt - independent of a local territory and responsible only to the Emperor. Many famous events took place here within the history of the Holy Roman Empire (1122 Concordant of Worms signed; 1495 reformation of the disintegrating Imperial Circle Estates of the Reichsreform (Imperial Reform); 1521 Reichstag (Diet of Worms) ended with Edict of Worms where Martin Luther was declared an outlaw for refusal of recanting his religious beliefs; first complete edition of the Bible into Modern English was achieved in 1526 by William Tyndale and secretly printed here). 1689 during the 9 Year's War the city was sacked by King Louis XIV of France, but only occupied for a few weeks. 1743 Treaty of Worms was signed ending the Second Silesian war between Prussia and Austria. 1792 city was occupied by troops of the French First Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars and in 1801 was annexed into the First French Empire. 1815 Worms was passed to the Grand Duchy of Hesse as accorded by the Congress of Vienna.

WWII and the Modern Day

World War II dumped 1,100 tons of bombs on the city by the Royal Air Force in two attacks (Feb 21; March 18 in 1945) which destroyed 39 % of the town's developed areas; killing 239; 6,490 buildings severely damaged or destroyed; and putting 35,000 homeless. Post war the inner city was rebuilt in modern style; and became part of the new state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Since Worms is the location to the events of the ancient German Nibelungenlied sagas, the city houses a multimedia Nibelungenmuseum to honor this fact. In addition, each year, the fables are celebrated with a annual festival in front of the "Dom" (Cathedral of Worms) to bring back pre-Christian period atmosphere. The city is located on the Rhine River's west bank between the cities of Ludwigshafen and Mainz. Towards the north is where the Pfrimm tributary empties into the Rhine and is on the southern edge of the Eisbach or "Ice Stream" that also flows into the Rhine. In the modern era, it is an industrial city for metal goods, chemicals, and is famed for the original "Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück" epotoponym for the Liebfraumilch wine. The city was also a former center for Judaism where the Jewish community established itself in the late 10th century erecting their first synagogue in 1034. The Jewish Cemetery here dates from the 11th c. and is the oldest in Europe. The 1175 Synagogue known as the "Rashi Shul" was reconstructed after its desecration on Kristallnacht as the oldest in Germany. It is here that the rabbis for the first time explicitly prohibited polygamy. In 1938, the Kristallnacht took place destroying most of the Jewish Quarter, and as since, Worms never re-established a recognizable Jewish Community. The City is very honoring of its pre-Christian past with the Dragon slaying stories and iconography; preserving much Pagan art and symbolism, including modern art dragons posted throughout the city. Worms is one of my favorite small German cities that I hope to explore further in the future. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

  • Last visit to Worms: Apr 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    I'm happy that you liked Worms. It is very overlooked by most of the travellers. Oh my, the museum really should look after their audioguides! I had the same 3 years ago :-((


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