Subterranean townscape of Oppenheim

Below Oppenheim on the Rhine there is a 40 km system of cellars, passages and staircases stretching out under the town on five levels. The research department for information systems has documented this incomparable archaeological monument, contributed to its preservation and, after extensive restoration work, helped to prepare it for use by tourists. The accessible parts of the subterranean complex have now been successfully used for tourism for three years. A GmbH for tourism now manages the operation. At present an EU project is being prepared to expand the potential uses of the complex and to make the experiences gained here available to European partner towns.

Why does Oppenheim have a “town beneath the town”, an extensive, complex labyrinth, the like of which is not to be found anywhere else? One reason may be the course of history: Oppenheim received market rights in 1008. Such complex subterranean systems, which generally have no owners, can quickly become a source of danger for modern societies if they are forgotten. Since the 1990s we have participated in the exploration of the subterranean town, making our findings available for the restoration work and developing new ideas for possible uses in order to preserve this unique cultural monument.
The accessible parts of the subterranean network have been a successful tourist attraction for several years. More than 40,000 tourists have visited the subterranean complex. An EU project is currently being planned to expand the potential uses of the complex and to make the experiences gained here available to other European partner towns (in preparation).


Contact

Jürgen Heckes

Project manager

Jürgen Heckes

Responsible body

Municipality of Oppenheim

Funding

Municipality of Oppenheim

Rhineland-Palatinate state government

EU programmes

Collaborators

MapConsult GmbH

Oppenheim

DMT Gmbh&Co KG

Essen

Duration

2001 - 2010, 2013 cont.