Traben-Trarbach on the Middle Moselle is a town in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is the seat of the like-named Verbandsgemeinde and a state-recognized climatic spa (Luftkurort). The city lies in the so-called "Valley of Dawn".

Traben on the Moselle
Traben on the Moselle
Coat of arms of Traben-Trarbach
Coat of arms
Location of Traben-Trarbach within Bernkastel-Wittlich district
Traben-Trarbach in WIL.svg
Traben-Trarbach is located in Germany
Traben-Trarbach is located in Rhineland-Palatinate
Coordinates: 49°57′04″N 7°07′00″E / 49.95111°N 7.11667°E / 49.95111; 7.11667Coordinates: 49°57′04″N 7°07′00″E / 49.95111°N 7.11667°E / 49.95111; 7.11667
Municipal assoc.Traben-Trarbach
 • MayorHeide Pönnighaus
 • Total31.35 km2 (12.10 sq mi)
110 m (360 ft)
 • Total5,664
 • Density180/km2 (470/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes06541
Vehicle registrationWIL



Traben-Trarbach lies some 40 km northeast of Trier and some 60 km southwest of Koblenz in the valley of the Middle Moselle. North of the town is found the mountain inside a bend in the Moselle, Mont Royal. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in the Hunsrück lies some 10 km away towards the east (in each case, as the crow flies). The municipal area spreads over a total of 31,350,000 m² with a great share of this being wooded. This makes Traben-Trarbach the biggest town by land area on the Middle Moselle.

Traben lies on the Moselle’s left bank at the foot of the former fort of Mont Royal, and Trarbach lies on the right bank on the Hunsrück side. While Traben stretches in a broad strip along the river, Trarbach instead stretches inland between rather steep mountains, particularly up the Kautenbach valley.

Constituent communitiesEdit

Traben-Trarbach’s Stadtteile, besides Traben and Trarbach, are Litzig, Wolf, Bad Wildstein, Rißbach, Kautenbach and Hödeshof.


Aacher Hof, plaque inscription: “Urkundlich 830 erwähnt als Lehen an das Aachener Marienstift durch Ludwig den Frommen.” (see main text)

As early as 830, the Aacher Hof (estate) had a documentary mention. Emperor Louis the Pious, Charlemagne’s son, donated Traben with all its rights and privileges, and its appurtenances, namely Litzig, Rißbach, Irmenach and Beuren, to the minster at Aachen (Aachen Foundation of Mary), where German kings were crowned.

In the 17th century, the town was part of what was then known as Rhenish Franconia, a strategic area fought over by France and the Holy Roman Empire. Seized by France in the 1683-1684 War of the Reunions, Traben was the location for the new fortress of Mont-Royal, constructed by Vauban, the leading military engineer of the period.[2] The main ramparts were 30 metres high and three kilometres long, with space for 12,000 troops; despite the enormous cost, it was demolished when the French withdrew following the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick and only the lower foundations are visible today.[3]

County of Sponheim (c. 1804)

All today’s Stadtteile – with the exception of a part of Kautenbach – belonged to the Hintere (English: rear, back, i.e. hinterland; Upper) County of Sponheim, whose main centre was Trarbach. After the comital family of Sponheim died out, the inheriting landholders formed the County into a Palatine-Badish condominium and had their residences elsewhere in the County, namely in Birkenfeld and Kastellaun. Trarbach was also the seat of a Palatine oberamt, the Oberamt Trarbach.

In 1816, the area around Trarbach was annexed to Prussia, with Trarbach itself becoming the seat of a Bürgermeisterei (“Mayoralty”). Against expectations, however, Zell, rather than Trarbach, was made the district seat, even though the latter was the biggest place in the new District of Zell. The Bürgermeisterei of Trarbach was dissolved in 1884, and Trarbach no longer belonged to any Bürgermeisterei. It was, rather, administered thereafter in personal union with the new Bürgermeisterei of Traben. In 1898, the first bridge was built between the two centres, one built to plans drawn up by Bruno Möhring. This bridge, which was blown up in the dying days of the Second World War in 1945, was at the same time also the first roadbridge between Bernkastel and Koblenz. The next bridges were built only in 1924, in Cochem, and between 1951 and 1953 in Zell. In the late 19th century, Traben and Trarbach were also, together with Reichenhall, the first municipalities in Germany that, instead of having gaslamps, installed electric street lighting from the Edison Company (today AEG), although the odd stretch of street in Berlin had already been outfitted with electric lighting. In 1904, the municipality of Traben and the town of Trarbach merged to become the town of Traben-Trarbach. The next changes came on 7 June 1969, when the municipalities of Kautenbach and Wolf were amalgamated with Traben-Trarbach. One year later, the Verbandsgemeinde of Traben-Trarbach was newly formed. It has its administrative seat in the town; Traben-Trarbach is a member municipality of the Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality.

Because they belonged to the “Hinder” County of Sponheim, the Reformation was introduced into Traben and Trarbach, with the town remaining even today mainly Evangelical, even though newcomers, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries, have raised the Catholic share of the population markedly. The Evangelical Church's leadership in the Hinder County of Sponheim was at first exercised from the Birkenfeld chancellery. Then, in 1672, a Hinder-Sponheim Lutheran consistory was instituted, whose duties were transferred to the consistory in Zweibrücken in 1776.

In 1818, the Synod of Trarbach was established, whose seat remained in Trarbach until 1972. Because of its size – the synod encompassed the districts of Bernkastel, Zell and Trier – this was divided in 1825. Curiously, the outlying centre of Wolf belonged until 1892 to the Synod of Trier, which itself, until 1843, bore the name “Synod of Wolf” because that was the superintendent's home.


Town councilEdit

The council is made up of 22 council members, who were elected by proportional representation at the municipal election held on 25 May 2014, and the honorary mayor as chairwoman.[4]

  SPD CDU Grüne FDP WGR Total
2014 9 7 2 1 3 22 seats
2009 6 10 - 2 4 22 seats
2004 5 11 - 2 4 22 seats


The Mayor is Heide Pönnighaus.

Coat of armsEdit

The town's arms might be described thus: Per fess enhanced, chequy of eighteen gules and argent a horse trotting sable and chequy of twenty-four argent and gules on a mount of three vert in base a round tower Or with six windows, three and three, and an arched doorway, of the second, and a conical roof of the third.

The checkerboard pattern (“chequy”) was the arms borne by the Counts of Sponheim. Above the line of partition is a black horse, whose attitude is “trotting” for a reason: this makes it a canting charge, for the German word for “trot” is traben – part of the town's hyphenated name. Traben's name, however, which comes from a Celtic name, Traven, a description of a small settlement, has nothing whatsoever to do with a horse. The tower below the line of partition stands for the local castle in Trarbach and therefore for Trarbach itself.

The arms have been borne since 1951.[5]

Town partnershipsEdit

Traben-Trarbach fosters partnerships with the following places:

Culture and sightseeingEdit

The town of Trarbach on the Moselle (in the foreground) with the Grevenburg and Traben (in the background). Aquatint by Karl Bodmer about 1831.


  • Ruins of the Grevenburg, built about 1350, destroyed, after many sieges, in 1734
  • Starkenburg, 250 m above the Moselle with castle crags at the end of town going towards Enkirch
  • Mont Royal Fort (1687–1698) (gigantic French fort under Louis XIV built by Vauban)
  • Brückentor (“Bridge Gate”) at the Moselle Bridge, 1899 by Bruno Möhring
  • Mittelmoselmuseum (“Middle Moselle Museum”) about the history of the Moselle valley, the County of Sponheim, Mont Royal Fort and the Grevenburg
  • Parkschlösschen Bad Wildstein (“Little Park Palace”), the town's former spa and bathing house built by Bruno Möhring
  • Trarbach Town Hall (Rathaus), 1833 by Ferdinand Nebel
  • Huesgen house, Am Bahnhof (a street), 1904 by Bruno Möhring
  • Dr. Breucker house, An der Mosel (a street), 1905 by Bruno Möhring
  • Former winery, Julius Kayser & Co., Wolfer Weg, 1906–1907 by Bruno Möhring
  • Former hotel “Clauss-Feist” (now Bellevue), 1903 by Bruno Möhring
  • Former Gondenau slate and ore mine
  • Town tower in Trarbach with view over the roofs of Trarbach

Motorboat racingEdit

For decades there were motorboat races on the Moselle, but the 32nd and thus far last racing event was held in 1996. At these races, many world and European champions were crowned, among them, in 1964, the well known Berlin motorboat racer and builder Dieter König.

Economy and infrastructureEdit

Traben-Trarbach is home to a large number of wineries including Robert Heuser, F. W. Langguth Erben, Richard Böcking, Ulrich Langguth, Martin Müllen, Weiser-Künstler and Daniel Vollenweider.



Through Traben-Trarbach, until 31 December 1962, ran the Moseltalbahn (railway), locally known as the Saufbähnchen. The railway station building on the Trarbach side was torn down during expansion work on Bundesstraße 53.

In Traben, across the river on the left bank is found the terminal station on the Moselwein-Bahn (“Moselle Wine Railway”), which runs to Bullay. The old station building, built in 1904 on the model of old Traben timber-frame houses, is still standing and serves today as the mayor's seat and as an event venue. The new stop was moved 150 m downstream to the area where the former goods station once was.


In 1956, a sport airfield (Flugplatz Traben-Trarbach/Mont Royal) on Traben's mountain, Mont Royal, was built (ICAO-Code: EDRM).

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is ca. 17 km (on foot) to the east of Traben-Trarbach.


Traben-Trarbach is located on both sides of river Moselle. It is served via three bridges.

  • Moselbrücke in the heart of the town, connecting Traben and Trarbach (completed in 1899)
  • Wolfer Brücke, connecting Wolf with Bundesstraße 53
  • A third bridge between Rißbach and Koppelberg, as Bundesstraße 53 crosses the river


Famous peopleEdit

  • Johann von Trarbach, Renaissance sculptor
  • Nikolaus Elffen (1626–1706), Jesuit from Protestant Traben (panis coeli)
  • Philipp Adam Storck (1778–1822), teacher, 1810 principal of the trade school in Hagen, from 1817 professor in Bremen (Perspectives on the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen)
  • Heinrich Böcking (1785–1865), mining adviser and mayor in Saarbrücken
  • Eduard Boecking (1802–1870), Law professor in Bonn and Berlin (Roman civil law; translation of Ausonius's Mosella)
  • Paul Emanuel Spieker (1826–1896), German architect (Berlin University Library)
  • Marc Mitscher (1887–1947), US admiral, grandson of Andreas Mitscher (1821–1905) from Traben
  • Dennis Wheatley (1897-1977), novelist, lived in Trarbach and worked at the Julius Kayser Winery in 1913.
  • Werner Beumelburg (1899–1963), one of the best known authors of National Socialist times, honorary citizen of Traben-Trarbach
  • Hans-Willi Ellermeier, sportsman, waterskier, German champion in slalom 1967, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981
  • Oliver Lucas (b. 1966), sportsman, motorboat racer, twice world and four times European champion
  • Martin Molz (b. 1971), former professional footballer (1. FC Nürnberg and 1. FC Saarbrücken)
  • Yvonne Burbach (b. 1975), actress (Verbotene Liebe)
  • Stefan Bockelmann (b. 1976), actor (Unter uns)
  • Pete Namlook (1960-2012), ambient and electronic-music producer and composer, and founder of Fax Records (FAX +49-69/450464) music label
  • Maik Zirbes (b. 1990), professional basketball player (KK Crvena Zvezda)

Further readingEdit

  • Dietmar Flach, Günter Böse (publisher): Traben-Trarbach. Geschichte einer Doppelstadt. Traben-Trarbach 1984.
  • Johann Hofmann: Trorbachische Ehren-Säul. Faks.-Nachdr. der Ausg. Stuttgart 1669. Cäsar, Traben-Trarbach 1968.
  • Arne Houben (publisher): Mit Carl Bodmer von Trier nach Koblenz. Eine Moselreise um das Jahr 1830; Alf/Mosel: Rhein-Mosel-Verlag, 2006; ISBN 978-3-89801-033-7 (The book contains 31 colour reproductions of coloured aquatints by Karl Bodmer, whose originals can be seen at the Mittelmoselmuseum Traben-Trarbach).
  • Ernst Schütz: Trarbach in alter Zeit. Bilder aus der Geschichte der Stadt von der Reformation bis zur Niederlegung der Grevenburg; Traben-Trarbach, 1909
  • Albert Rosenkranz (publisher): Das Evangelische Rheinland. Ein rheinisches Gemeinde- und Pfarrerbuch, Band 1: Die Gemeinden; Schriftenreihe des Vereins für Rheinische Kirchengeschichte, 3; Düsseldorf: Kirche in der Zeit, 1956.


  1. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand 2019, Kreise, Gemeinden, Verbandsgemeinden". Statistisches Landesamt Rheinland-Pfalz (in German). 2020.
  2. ^ Duffy, Christopher (1995). Siege Warfare: The Fortress in the Early Modern World 1494-1660. Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 978-0415146494.
  3. ^ "Fortress Mont Royal". Traben-Tarbach Tourist Information. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  4. ^ Kommunalwahl Rheinland-Pfalz 2009, Stadtrat
  5. ^ Description and explanation of Traben-Trarbach’s arms

External linksEdit