(tourist information centre)
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The mediaeval market square is one of the main attractions that draws holidaymakers to the Moselle. The half-timbered houses that have stood there for centuries, the Renaissance-style town hall (built in 1608), the charming St. Michael's Fountain (dating back to 1606) and the much admired and photographed "pointed house" (built in 1416) conjure up the vibrant ambience of the Middle Ages.
Town hall in the market square
Bernkastel was awarded town status in 1291 at the instigation of the Archbishop of Trier, Boemund I.
The first town hall was probably built shortly afterwards. The facade of the town hall as it stands today is a magnificent example of German late Renaissance architectural design by the Trier-based sculptor R. H. Hoffmann (completed in 1608).
Hoffmann's patron and benefactor was the reigning Archbishop at that time, Lothar von Metternich (1599 – 1623), whose coat of arms takes pride of place on the town hall's oriel window alongside the cross of the Electorate of Trier and the Bernkastel town arms. The ironwork which was used to shackle miscreants to the public pillory with chains and handcuffs can still be seen today on the left cornerstone of the facade, at ground floor level.
The Heinz'sche Haus ("Heinz'sche House")
The building formerly known as the Heinz'sche Haus, now serving as the premises of an attractive wine tavern, is one of the oldest buildings in the town of Bernkastel. It is the most richly and beautifully embellished half-timbered house on the market square. The ground floor is narrow, with low ceilings, and is topped with three more half-timbered storeys, each one protruding further over the one below.
The enchanting little pointed house (built in 1416) is a splendid product of the civil architectural and living culture of the Middle Ages. At the same time, it is also a typical example of a traditional old Moselle-style winegrower's house, with its oak-beamed wine cellar supported by blocks of slate, the upper floors protruding outwards on both sides and the tall attic for storing winter food and accommodating pets.
Urlaub an der Mosel im Ferienland Bernkastel-Kues