Mountain road

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Germany map, mountain road highlighted
View over the mountain road to the north. In the foreground Leutershausen , in the background the Melibokus , on the left edge of the picture the silhouette of the Hohe Taunus

Bergstrasse is the name of the street that leads from Darmstadt in southern Hesse via Heidelberg to Wiesloch in northern Baden . Today it mostly runs within the framework of the federal highway 3 for 68 kilometers at the transition from the Upper Rhine Plain to the Odenwald and the Little Odenwald .

The natural area Bergstraße (see below under → Natural spatial structure ), the southern Hessian district Bergstraße , the (independent) wine-growing area Hessische Bergstraße and the (dependent) wine-growing area Badische Bergstraße of the Baden wine-growing area are named after this street .


The mountain road runs in a north-south direction at the foot of the Odenwald and Small Odenwald and mostly a little above the Rhine plain . In the past, the Rhine and Neckar as well as the tributaries from the Odenwald - such as Lauter , Modau and Weschnitz  - had always looked for new paths, so that the plain was originally too damp for the construction of a road. That is why the route was laid over long stretches in the slopes and foothills of the mountains, which is how it got its name. Its course largely corresponds to sections of today's federal highway 3 .

The Bergstrasse begins in Darmstadt-Eberstadt and, after leaving the town , splits into the “Alte Bergstrasse” and the “Neue Bergstrasse”, a little further west. Both branches come together at Zwingenberg . One can assume, however, that the route in the time it was built followed the geographical route of the Odenwald, as the granite of the Vorderen Odenwald is still about 1 to 1.5 km into the plain at the foot of the mountain range.

In Lützelsachsen , a new mountain road branches off the old one and runs west of the old route to the entrance to Heidelberg-Handschuhsheim , where both routes merge again. The further course beyond the Neckar from Heidelberg to Nussloch with a maximum extension to Wiesloch is usually still referred to as a mountain road, although the scenic and climatic peculiarities in this section are less pronounced.

The mountain road runs through three counties and two county-level cities: Darmstadt , Darmstadt-Dieburg , Bergstraße district , Heidelberg and the Rhine-Neckar region . The northern section is part of Hesse , the southern part of Baden-Württemberg . The state border lies between Heppenheim and Laudenbach .


The Bergstrasse was already used as a trade and military route in Roman times. The name has been used since 1165 ("Bergstrasen"). The name strata montana (as a Latinized form of "mountain road"), on the other hand, does not come from the Romans , but from the time of humanism . The names strata publica  (795), platea montium  (819) and montana platea  (1002) have been handed down from earlier times .

Among other things, due to the above-mentioned changes in the course of rivers, the road layout has changed slightly in some places over the centuries.

In 1955, during sewer work in Heppenheim, remnants of the old Roman cobblestone street were discovered and reburied in the Ferdinand-Feuerbach-Anlage (corner of Karlstraße / Karl-Marx-Straße ), where they can be viewed today (area approx. 20 m²).


Cities and municipalities on Bergstrasse
View from Philosophenweg to Heidelberg's old town with castle , Heiliggeistkirche and Alter Brücke over the Neckar

The mountain road runs through the following cities and communities (from north to south):

in Hessen :

in Baden-Württemberg :

The Bergstrasse near Heppenheim between the Hemsberg (left), the Hubenhecke (center) and the Starkenburg (right)

Mountains and elevations

The following elevations and hilltop castles in the Bergstrasse natural area, the nearby mountains of the Odenwald (“→”) and river valleys (“↓”) flank the Bergstrasse, from north to south - with an altitude in meters (m) above sea ​​level (MSL; if not different) called loud):

Natural structure

The Bergstrasse natural area comprises the slopes to the west of the Odenwald at altitudes of 120  m to 220  m above sea level. NHN , which in individual surveys also up to almost 300  m above sea level. Reach NHN . The first time in the Handbook of the Natural Region Divisions of Germany (3. Delivery 1956 Mapping 1954, corrected 1960) reported the main unit as assigned and divided follows:

The actual core landscape stretches from south of Darmstadt-Eberstadt to the valley basin of the Neckar near Heidelberg . Its very narrow northern part around Seeheim ends in the south immediately northwest of the Melibokus . The cities of Bensheim and Heppenheim are located in the central part ; it ends immediately before the Weschnitz emerges from the low mountain range near Weinheim , which already introduces the southern part.

South of the Heidelberg basin, the foot of the Gaisberg flanks the Kleiner Odenwald as far as Wiesloch .


The landscape in the immediate vicinity is named after the mountain road. It is characterized by a particularly mild and sunny climate (approx. 1500 hours of sunshine annually) and the earliest beginning of spring in Germany. The combination of favorable soil conditions (fertile loess soil) makes the Bergstrasse one of the richest fruit gardens in Germany with viticulture, fruit, almonds, sweet chestnuts and walnuts. As a winegrowing area, the Bergstrasse is divided into two parts, a northern Hessian and a southern Baden section. The Bergstrasse is famous for its almond trees , which thrive here and already bloom in March. But other Mediterranean plants such as figs and olive trees also grow here.

 That is why Emperor Joseph II (1765–1790) is said to have exclaimed when he stopped at Bergstrasse on his return journey from Frankfurt: “Germany is beginning to become Italy here”.

As part of the Rhine-Main-Neckar conurbation, Bergstrasse is highly developed and industrialized. Tourism is also important. The most important sights in addition to the landscape itself are Heidelberg with Heidelberg Castle and Heidelberg Old Town , the Art Nouveau center Darmstadt with Mathildenhöhe and Darmstadt artist colony , the chain of castles on the western edge of the Odenwald -  Frankenstein Castle near Darmstadt-Eberstadt, the Tannenberg castle ruins and the remains of the wall of Jossa Castle near Seeheim-Jugenheim, the Alsbacher Schloss over Alsbach, the Auerbacher Schloss over Auerbach, the Starkenburg over Heppenheim, the Wachenburg and the Windeck over Weinheim, the Strahlenburg over Schriesheim, the ruins of the Schauenburg over Dossenheim - as well as the picturesque old town centers in many cities and communities , especially the (with the exception of the city walls) the almost completely preserved old town of Heppenheim with its magnificent town hall, market square, "Cathedral of Bergstrasse" and numerous medieval half-timbered buildings; Furthermore, the old town centers of Zwingenberg (with remains of the old city wall), Bensheim and Weinheim, as well as the small Heiligenberg Castle over Jugenheim, which belonged to the von Battenberg family, which now belongs to the English royal family with the Anglicised name Mountbatten, and the prince camp , one of the first Spa facilities in the valley above Auerbach.

An outstanding sight near the Bergstrasse is the gate hall of the lost Lorsch monastery , which dates back to the Carolingian era and is a world cultural heritage .

View from the Bergstrasse between Bensheim and Heppenheim . Bensheim can be seen on the left in the Rhine plain. At the front in the center of the picture is the Hemsberg . To the right of it you can see the Melibokus and the Felsberg .

Settlement history

The Bergstrasse area was settled early on. The numerous archaeological finds go back to the time of the cultivation and cattle breeding of ribbon and cord ceramics (approx. 2500 to 1500 BC). In Roman times, the settlement was pushed further and different sized estates, so-called villae rusticae, were created, which were the dominant economic units of the mountain edge of the mountain road between 120 and 260 AD. The most important excavation of a villa rustica on Bergstrasse is in Hirschberg . From 1984 to 1987, the complete floor plan of a lavishly equipped Roman bath and the main building with a multi-part spatial program and an ornamental pond were excavated here. The remains of a Roman villa were also discovered on the Hemsberg between Bensheim and Heppenheim. Permanent urban settlements did not yet emerge on the Bergstrasse in Roman times, but in the immediate vicinity ( Lopodunum / Ladenburg and Borbetomagus / Worms ). In contrast, Bergstrasse was a center of the Franks , which had been advancing since the 5th century , from whose time almost all towns and communities on Bergstrasse were first mentioned (the oldest for Heppenheim and Weinheim in the document of July 17, 755).

Bergstrasse, of course

Naturally Bergstrasse (car-free Sunday)

Every two years, the Hessische Bergstrasse from Darmstadt-Eberstadt to Heppenheim is closed to car traffic on a Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Under the motto Naturally Bergstrasse , Bundesstrasse 3 will then belong to cyclists, hikers and inline skaters. Over 100 local associations, groups, institutions, retailers, winemakers and restaurateurs provide entertainment and supplies along the approximately 30-kilometer route. The event took place for the first time in 1993. Originally in an annual rhythm, it last takes place every two years in May. The last dates were:

  • on May 22, 2005
  • on May 6, 2007
  • on May 17, 2009
  • on May 15, 2011

In 2013 and 2015 the event was canceled for financial reasons.


  • Alexander Boguslawski: The Bergstrasse - At night in Rothschild's garden. Regional culture publishing house, Ubstadt-Weiher 2012, ISBN 978-3-89735-723-5 .
  • Alexander Boguslawski: Far, high, wonderful the view. Small excursions into the history of the Bergstrasse. Regional culture publishing house, Ubstadt-Weiher 2009, ISBN 978-3-89735-590-3 .
  • Manfred Giebenhain: Little ABC of Bergstrasse. Husum Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft, Husum 2013, ISBN 978-3-89876-657-9 .
  • Ernst Pasqué: There is a tree in the Odenwald. A story about the mountain road. Reprint, B. Beutel, Darmstadt-Eberstadt 1990, ISBN 3-9808869-0-5 .
  • Ernst Pasqué: The mountain road: from Jugenheim to Auerbach. Reprint of the Füssli edition, Zurich 1884; Beutel, Darmstadt-Eberstadt 2005, 41 pages, illustrations, paperback, ISBN 3-9808869-2-1 .


  • Expedition home. Out and about on the mountain road. Documentary, Germany, 2016, 44:45 min., Moderation: Anna Lena Dörr, script and director: Jo Müller, production: SWR , series: Expedition in die Heimat , first broadcast: April 8, 2016 on SWR, synopsis by ARD and online -Video available until April 8, 2017; with aerial recordings by drone .
  • Discoveries between the Odenwald and Bergstrasse. Documentary, Germany, 2015, 89:04 min., Script and director: Volker Janovsky, production: Hessischer Rundfunk , series: Heimat themed week , first broadcast: October 4, 2015 on hr-fernsehen , synopsis from ARD and online video available until 4 October 2016.
  • Go there . Almond blossom on the Bergstrasse - on the trail of spring. Documentary, Germany, 2013, 29 min., Script and director: Daniel Richter, production: AV Medien, SWR, series: Fahr mal hin , first broadcast: March 12, 2013 on SWR, summary by SWR.
  • Spring trip to the blooming mountain road. Documentary film, Germany, 2012, 43:30 min., Moderation: Annette Krause , script and direction: Gerd Ries, production: SWR , series: Frühlingsreise , first broadcast: May 28, 2012 on SWR, synopsis by ARD .
  • That was the old Hessen - Bergstrasse. Documentary, Germany, 2010, 30 min., Script and director: Jörg Adrian Huber, production: Hessischer Rundfunk , series: So war das alten Hessen , first broadcast: September 13, 2011 on hr-fernsehen , synopsis by ARD .

Web links

Commons : Bergstraße  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Mountain Road  - Travel Guide

References and comments

  1. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  2. a b Berghöhe - various mountains according to an unknown / not researched source
  3. ^ A b Otto Klausing: Geographical land survey: The natural space units on sheet 151 Darmstadt. Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1967. →  Online map (PDF; 4.3 MB)
  4. ^ A b Emil Meynen , Josef Schmithüsen et al .: Handbook of the natural spatial structure of Germany . Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Remagen / Bad Godesberg 1953–1962 (9 deliveries in 8 books, updated map 1: 1,000,000 with main units 1960).
  5. Josef Schmithüsen : Geographical land survey: The natural space units on sheet 161 Karlsruhe. Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1952. →  Online map (PDF; 5.1 MB)
  6. Leaf Karlsruhe refers to this section, which lies in the southern half of the leaf area, as "Weinheimer Bergstrasse". However, this designation is a bit misleading, as Weinheim is located on the northern edge - which was not yet certain when the Karlsruhe sheet was created.
  7. ↑ The car-free mountain road will be canceled in 2013. In: September 27, 2012, accessed December 26, 2015 .