Lorelei  history

"I cannot determine the meaning", with this verse Heinrich Heine began his poem in 1823, according to the legend written by Clemens Brentano in 1800. This legend has been discussed in countless poems, songs and operas in various ways. It's the saga of a blonde maiden, sitting on a rock high above the River Rhine. At this place many skippers drown in the River Rhine, fascinated by the beauty of the mermaid.

Even today this place is dreades by the skippers, it is the smallest point of the River Rhine, measuring 22 metres it is even the deepest. In 2011 another 3 people lost their lives here, gaining world attention.

In 1932 the German Gymnasts Service began to build the Loreley Open Air Theatre, originally planned to be a venue of the "Rheinspielring". In 1933 the new potentates took over the building to raise a central place for festivals and ceremonies. They planned to perform Germanic heroic sagas at this mystic place at the Loreley plateau. The open air theatre was hand crafted under the leadership of the architect Hermann Senf. Over 7000 m³ of soil have been filled up to create the tiers. Knowing that the architecture would never compete against the scenery, Hermann Senf  integrated the building with its 5000 seats and 10 - 12.000 standing rooms harmonically into the landscape, 200 metres above the valley of the River Rhine.


The premier event in sommer 1939 was "Wilhelm Tell", organized by the municipal theatre of the City of Frankfurt. In possesion of the Allied Forces and later the country of Rhineland-Palatinate, various performances took place after World War II.


Many classics like "Iphigenie at Tauris", "King Lear" from Shakespeare or "Faust" from Goethe have been performed at the Loreley. The last event took place in 1968. The country of Rhineland-palatinate was no longer interested in running the theatre. The City of St. Goarshausen, knowing about the beauty of the amphitheatre and its importance for the region, got the ownership of the theatre in 1974.