National Geographic : 1967 Apr
Golden gift of the Rhine refreshes West Germany's wine queen at a festival in Mainz. Each October the river rings with Weinfesten, celebrations proclaiming the harvest of Riesling and Sylvaner grapes. "Music for the eyes and a melody for the heart." Thus English author John Ruskin spoke for generations of poets and artists inspired by the Rhine's haunting legends and romantic landscapes. Spanning the heart of Western Europe, the world's busiest river flows 820 miles and links six countries. Caesar, Attila, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and modern armies have fought for its stra tegic shores. Today, low-slung freighters ply a peaceful river, here threading narrows below a battlemented 14th-century watch tower and sun-warmed vineyards at Ober wesel, Germany. Sch6nburg Castle crowns 450 the hill at far right.