As the name already suggests, the Mittelrhein is the center part of the Rhine. The Rhine Gorge, which is created by erosion that happened at about the same rate as an uplift in the region. Situated in the heart of Europe, being both a bridge and a border to different cultures, the landscape has a special appearance to both its natural shape and human alterations.
For thousand of years this natural border has been scattered with castles and fortresses overseeing the meandering water passing through the steep valley. Hillsides scattered with vineyards and settlements stretched out along the narrow banks dominate the landscape. This important cultural part of the Rhine is home to romanticism and poetic tales, which is why it was quickly named ‘The Romantic Rhine’.
The Rhine. A Biography of a European River
The Rhine is one of the world’s busiest waterways. Frontier and nexus in equal measure for thousand of years, carrying not only people, mineral resources and building materials, but also luxury goods and art treasures, weapons, ideas, fairy tales and myths along it’s fast flowing water through half of Europe. Along its banks you’ll find imposing cities, monasteries and cathedrals as well as conurbations and industrial zones.
Geological developments and human interventions have dramatically changed the course of the Rhine. For centuries, the river was tamed to guard against flooding and to facilitate shipping, it has been regulated, straightened, polluted, fought over, conquered and occupied.
The project started out as search for a new landscape other than the Dutch one, but quickly turned into a fascination for rivers; a soothing and calming stream of water that can turn into a ferocious and deadly force of nature in a blink of an eye. Following the course of the Rhine from its sources to the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta, it looks at cities, sites and regions along the river to shed light on many settlements along the banks of the Rhine that mark the territories that humankind has “conquered”.