The commodity most people immediately associate with the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is wine. There are six major wine regions in the state which produce more than 70% of the country’s wine exports. These regions along the primary rivers of the state, Moselle and Rhine being the most famous, also are the main tourism regions of Rhineland-Palatinate, combining beautiful river valley scenery with the backdrop of the green, rolling vineyard hills. In addition, more than 40% of the land area are covered by forests.
Rhineland-Palatinate was formed in 1949 from large parts of what had formerly been the French Occupation Zone after the war. As the different regions combined into the new state had only very few cultural commonalities, there have repeatedly been attempts to dissolve the state at first and it took a few years for a common identity to develop.
Mainz is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Koblenz, Trier, Kaiserslautern and Worms.
A number of old villages and cities, many of which have been founded by the Roman Empire, are the main tourist attractions of Rhineland-Palatinate. The state also has a great number of castles and chateaus and is home to four UNESCO world heritage sites.
Tourism plays an important role for the state’s economy, which is, judged by its low unemployment rate, one of the most stable among German states. While there are only a few large corporations located in Rhineland-Palatinate, the economy is largely based on small and medium-sized companies. Unlike the rest of Germany, the service sector’s share of the GDP is relatively low.
Rhineland-Palatinate leads all German states with an export rate of approximately 50%. Important sectors are the winegrowing industry, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry and auto parts industry. “Distinctive regional industries” includes gemstone industry, ceramic and glass industry and leather industry. Small and medium enterprises are considered the “backbone” of the economy in Rhineland-Palatinate. The principal employer is the chemical and plastics processing industry which is represented by BASF in Ludwigshafen. Boehringer, Joh. A. Benckiser, SGE Deutsche Holding, Schott Glassworks concludes the top 5 companies in the state.
The Porta Nigra is a large Roman city gate in Trier, Germany. It belongs to the walls of Trier, which were erected during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180). It is today the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened color of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Reichsburg Cochem had its first documentary mention in 1130. In 1151, it was occupied by King Konrad III, who declared it an Imperial castle. In 1688, the castle was overrun by French King Louis XIV’s troops in the course of the Nine Years’ War (known in Germany as the Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg, or War of the Palatine Succession), and the following year, they destroyed it. The castle complex long lay in ruins before in 1868 it was bought by the Berlin businessman Louis Fréderic Jacques Ravené for 300 Goldmark and then reconstructed in the Gothic Revival style. Since 1978 it has been owned by the town of Cochem and is administered by a company named Reichsburg GmbH.
The Lorelei is a 132 m (433 ft) high, steep slate rock on the right bank of the river Rhine in the Rhine Gorge (or Middle Rhine) at Sankt Goarshausen in Germany. The name comes from the old German words lureln, Rhine dialect for “murmuring”, and the Celtic term ley “rock”. The translation of the name would therefore be: “murmur rock” or “murmuring rock”. The heavy currents, and a small waterfall in the area (still visible in the early 19th century) created a murmuring sound, and this combined with the special echo the rock produces to act as a sort of amplifier, giving the rock its name.