Kiedrich, often referred to as the "Gothic Wine Village" or the "Gothic Treasure Box", is a municipality located in the Rheingau-Taunus district with a population of 3,952 (30/07/09).
The Rheingau is a region of Germany, north of the Rhine and between Wiesbaden and Rüdesheim/Lorch near Frankfurt, and belongs to the state of Hesse. The region is known for its quality wines and beautiful natural landscapes. Kiedrich is located at the edge of the Taunus, approximately 2km north of Eltville am Rheine and 3km from the Rhine shore.
Kiedrich was first mentioned in documentation under Archbishop Frederick of Mainz (937-954).
Viticulture (the cultivation of grapevines) was documented in Kiedrich as far back as 1131, though it is believed to have been around for more than 1000 years beforehand. Riesling wines from Kiedrich became treasures in the wine cellars of all of the European palaces and royal courts over the centuries; they are still greatly appreciated today by connoisseurs from all around the world.
A popular attraction is the "Vineyard of Matrimony". All couples who are married at the Kiedrich registry office receive a certificate which symbolically gives them a vine from this particular vineyard. Every two years, these couples congregate in the town to drink Riesling from their shared vineyard.
Between April and October, a wine tasting stand offers wine growers a chance to share their best wines with the public. The annual Riesling Festival takes place in June and is one of the most popular wine festivals in the Rheingau.
High above the town stands the well-preserved keep of the Scharfenstein Castle ruins. The castle was built under the Archbishop of Mainz and served as protection on the road from Eltville to the Taunus. Construction began in 1160 and continued through until 1215 when the structure was finally completed. For 150 years, this castle was the temporary residence for the Archbishops of Mainz and therefore many of the aristocratic families that settled in Kiedrich.
Valentinuskirche (St Valentine's Church) is the common name for the Catholic parish church and Basilica minor Basilica of SS Dionysus and Valentinus. The church was built towards the end of the 15th century, following the Gothic architectural style running throughout Kiedrich. It became a pilgrimage destination for sufferers of epilepsy and so was furnished with carved laity stalls, which was unique at the time as the majority of Gothic religious services were attended standing. These stalls are still in place today.
St Valentine is home to a Fresh-style Madonna, dating back to 1330, and one of the oldest playable organs in Germany, dating back to about 1500; the organ has received many repairs and restorations over the centuries, one of which left it unplayable from about 1790 up until 1858 when it was renovated by August Hooghuys of Brugge.
Alongside the Madonna, this church also claims the bells from 1389 and 1513, respectively.
Kiedricher Chorbuben (the boys' choir of Kiedrich) was first mentioned in 1333. To this day, they perform a unique Germanic version of a Gregorian chant every Sunday.
Michaelskapelle (St Michael's Chapel) is a funeral chapel that lies within the walls surrounding St Valentine and its cemetery.