|Location:||Oppenheim, at the town hall on the historic market, Merianstraße 2.|
All year Sat 12, 13:30, Sun 11:30, 13:30 14:30, 15:30.
Adults EUR 5, Children (5-14) EUR 2,50, Children (0-4) free.
|Guided tours:||L=420m, Ar=6000m², D=60min.|
|Address:||Oppenheimer Kellerlabyrinth, Tel: +49-6133-4909-1419, Fax: +49-6133-4909-29. E-mail:|
|Last update:||$Date: 2013/04/25 22:57:51 $|
|1226||Oppenheim declared a Freie Reichsstadt.|
|1645||cellars mentioned in a description of the town by Merian.|
The Oppenheimer Kellerlabyrinth (cellar labyrinth of Oppenheim) is a complex system of cellars inside the loess layers below the old medieval town. The complex system of connected cellars has numerous levels of passages, most of them connected in a weird and complex way. Most of the passages are forgotten, there is no survey or map, and the purpose is long forgotten. The passages are too complex to be useful storage cellars.
There is a rather logic theory, which says that the rapidly growing commerce, after the town was declared a Freie Reichsstadt in 1226, caused an urgend demand for safe storage space. But unfortunately the town is located between the Rhine river and the steep vineyards, so there was no room to build above ground. The merchants started to dig cellars below their houses in a rather uncoordinated way. The cool cellars were ideal to store food, and even the mined material was sold.
The underground below Oppenheim is composed of an up to eight metre thick layer of loess. The loess is not a rock, it is just very fine sand which was deposited by the Ice Age wind which transported the dust of rock which were destryed by the glaciers. The fine dust was altered by weathering so it is now a mixture of sand and clay. Normally we would think sand is unsuitable to dig holes. But loess is different, it is possible to scratch holes into the sand, which will be absolutely stable. Both the sand and the clay were useful, the clay was used to pave the road in the town. However, there is one drawback, water oozing into the sand could cause an collapse. Leaky water or sewage pipes are a great danger for the cellars, and as a result for the builings above the cellars. When the caves collapse dolines form on the surface above.
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