Oberhambach Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
The next day we went to the scenic villages of Idar and Oberstein (Yes, they are two different villages just like Budapest and Traben-Trarbach etc) and visited the Steinkaulenberg ( a gemstone mine open for visitors) and the German Gemstone museum.
A little information: Idar-Oberstein is currently best known as a gemstone center: until recently, until the 18th century the area was a source for agate and jasper. In combination with cheap labour and with cheap energy resources a true gemstone working industry flourished. The river Nahe provided with free water-powered mills that powered the cutting and polishing machines. When resources dried up the area's industry came into decline until a way was found to provide new material to Idar. This occurred in the 19th century when large amounts of Agates were found in Brazil, and German traders were able to ship the Agate nodules back as "ballast" on empty vessels that had dropped off cargo in Brazil.
After WW II, the region had to redefine itself once more, and the region became a leading hub in the trade of gemstones from Brazil and Africa. That in turn provided local artists with a large selection of material and the region encountered a "third boom" as a gemstone center. More recently however the competition from Thailand, India have hit the region hard.
The Felsenkirche, the Church of the Rock, and two ruined medieval castles are perched on the hills above the town, and are, after gemstones and jewelry, the chief tourist attractions in the city.
Did you know by the way that Bruce Willis was born here in 1955?
Anyway, we enjoyed our stay here in Idar-Oberstein and went further on a real scenic road to Kaiserslautern but that city wasn't what we had in mind so we went back to our vacation park and after a swim we sat down on our terras in the sun with a couple of drinks and toast on another great day.
The next day, Thursday we had a relaxing day in the sun en enjoyed it very much!! And friday it was already time to go home!! But before we got to the Dutch border, we stopped at the big shopping Mall near Antwerp "Wijnegem's shopping mall" and we shopped and had a lunch there!
It was nice, till the next time!!!