*Kaiserswerth* means *Emperor’s Island*. In the 7th century St. Swidbert, an English Benedictine monk, came to the island, where he built a monastery and began to convert the inhabitants....Any more Swidberts over there? The ancient church which bears his name still stands proudly at the Rhine, and there is a beautiful golden shrine which holds his remains. A side arm of the Rhine used to flow round the town, forming a moat, which together with the ancient walls gave the town protection.
The oldest relict here is a standing stone from about 2000 BC, which can still be seen at the corner of the street where I live. It’s always an amazing feeling to drive past this piece of antiquity and to think what tales the stone could tell….
For many centuries, the little town of Kaiserswerth was an important strategic base on the banks of the Rhine. The mighty ruins of Emperor Barbarossa's imperial fortress are testimonies to this age. In the 11th century, the Archbishop of Cologne kidnapped the emperor Heinrich IV – who was still a child – to make himself Regent over the Holy Roman Emperor. In the 12th century the emperor gave Kaiserswerth the rights to collect customs and tolls, and no ships could pass the Fortress without being seen, a function which has long been taken over by inland revenue and our politicians.... During different wars, the castle was used as a prison for many high ranking hostages. The Duke of Jülich and Berg besieged the town and fortress, broke down part of the town walls and diverted the old Rhine arm, so the town could be taken. For many centuries Kaiserswerth belonged to Cologne, which *took* the town after many battles as a *pledge*, and kept it till 1772.
In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale visited the town, and trained to be a nurse here. The hospital here still bears her name.
Today, Kaiserswerth is a part of Düsseldorf and invites you to an idyllic walk through its medieval lanes.
There are baroque houses at the old market place (Marktplatz), the Rhine promenade with a view of the typical Lower Rhine landscape, St. Suitbertus Basilica dating from the 11th century, and many narrow, cobbled lanes. There is a car ferry with which you can cross the Rhine, and a passenger ship stops here in the summer months for trips along the Rhine. There are also many restaurants, from a take away grill to ice parlours and *Konditoreien* - cafés which sell delicious home made cakes and gateaux- and some very exclusive restaurants led by star-chefs for people who don’t have to worry about paying their bills….
There are also lots of stables here, where people can *park* their horses, who have abundant meadows and fields to graze in. The Rhine and several other smaller streams, rivers and lakes make the area very green and pleasant, and give room to an abundance of water fowl and other wild life, which are always a joy to see and hear – except when they wake me up in the morning!
All in all, a lovely place to live.
PS - There's a nice panorama view of Kaiserswerth to be seen here: http://www.duesseldorf.de/stadtpanoramen/panoramen/index05.shtml
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