Friday, August 17, 2012

Wernerkapelle Ruins

Jutting like a monolithic skeleton from the hillside in Bacharach, Germany, are the ruins of Wernerkapelle.  What's left of this once enormous chapel is a popular stop for tourists on their way to explore Burg Stahleck, the storybook castle crowning the hilltop.  Maybe it was the quickly greying skies overhead, or the sudden chill in the air, but I couldn't help thinking the ruin was ominous.  Either way, I wasn't surprised to find that a creepy legend is attached to Wernerkapelle:
"There is a gruesome medival legend connected with the chapel.  Centuries ago, close to Bacharach a passer-by found the remains of a young boy called Werner who had been horribly butchered.  The corpse did not smell of rotting flesh, but had the sweet scent of violets.  The place where the boy's desecrated body was found was flooded with a bright light and his body had not been disturbed by wild animals. At least that's how the legend goes. 
In those days witches were burned at the stake and Jews were persecuted - and the Jews were blamed for his murder. The people wanted the young Werner to be made a saint. However, the Vatican in Rome refused to officially beatify him. In spite of this, the town built a chapel in Werner's honor atop his grave. It took around 150 years to build the Wernerkapelle - from around 1287 to 1430. It was destroyed in 1689 when the French attacked Castle Stahleck and rubble rained down on the chapel - which had not previously been damaged."


  1. i love creepy legends so much! i was one of those kids who was simultaneously fascinated and terrified by bloody mary throughout elementary school.

  2. Oh wow..... very interesting spot I bet.....

  3. Yes, I loved these ruins! We see tons of castle ruins, but not so many of churches. It was unique, and I knew there had to be story behind it as soon as we saw it.

  4. My family hiked up to the castle, pausing at the ruins of the Wernerkapelle along the way. Coming from a relative young country, where an old building is any approaching 100 years, it is difficult and often awe-inspiring to think about 800 years of history.


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