Ingelheim am Rhein is a town in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany on the Rhine’s west bank. The town calls itself the Rotweinstadt (“Red Wine Town”) and since 1996 it has been Mainz-Bingen’s district seat.
From the later half of the 8th century, the Ingelheim Imperial Palace, which served emperors and kings as a lodging and a ruling seat until the 11th century, was to be found here.
The typically Rhenish-Hessian placename ending —heim might well go back to Frankish times, that is to say, likely as far back as the 5th or 6th century. Settlements or estates then took their lords’ names and were given this suffix, which means “home” in German. The name is recorded in later documents as Ingilinhaim, Ingilinheim (782), Ingilenhaim, Engelheim, Hengilonheim, Engilonheim (822), Engilinheim (826), Hingilinheim (855), Ingilunheim (874), Ingulinheim (889), Ingelesheim (891), Ingelenheim (940), Anglia sedes (1051), Ingilheim and Ingelnheim (1286), among other forms.
Ingelheim am Rhein lies in the north of Rhein Hessen on the so-called Rhein Knee, west of the state capital, Mainz. The Rhein forms the town’s northern limit. Southwards, the town stretches into the valley of the river Selz, which empties into the Rhein in the constituent community of Ingelheim-Nord (“North”).
The constituent communities of Ingelheim-Mitte and Ingelheim-Süd (“Middle” and “South”) are nestled against the corner of the so-called Mainzer Berg (“Mainz Mountain”).
The municipal area’s lowest point is the harbour on the Rhein at 80.8 m above sea level. The two highest points are the Mainzer Berg at 247.8 m above sea level and the Westerberg at 247.5 m above sea level.
An obelisk on the south side of the village in direction Wackernheim, marks the road begun by Charlemagne, and completed by Napoleon. From this point a fine prospect of the entire Rheingau could be obtained.
Clockwise from the north, these are Geisenheim, Oestrich-Winkel on the Rhine’s right bank, and on the left bank Heidesheim am Rhein, Wackernheim (both belonging to the Verbandsgemeinde of Heidesheim am Rhein), the Verbandsgemeinde of Nieder-Olm, Schwabenheim, Gau-Algesheim (both belonging to the Verbandsgemeinde of Gau-Algesheim) and Bingen am Rhein.
Ingelheim is currently divided into six Stadtteile: Ingelheim-Mitte, Ingelheim-Nord, Ingelheim-Süd, Sporkenheim, Groß-Winternheim and Ingelheim-West. Before Ingelheim became a town in 1939, the first three centres bore the names Nieder-Ingelheim, Frei-Weinheim and Ober-Ingelheim. Official changes notwithstanding, the old names are still quite often used.
The town lies in the temperate zone. The average yearly temperature in Ingelheim is 9.8 °C. The warmest months are July and August with average temperatures of 18.0 and 18.5 °C respectively, and the coldest month is January at 1.0 °C on average. The most precipitation falls in June and August with an average of 64 mm, and the least in March with an average of 31 mm. Like all Rhenish Hesse, Ingelheim, too, is sheltered from the weather by the Hunsrück, the Taunus, the Odenwald and the Donnersberg, thereby limiting the yearly precipitation to only 560 mm.
The Ingelheim area was already settled in prehistoric times. The place first earned itself particular importance, though, only under Charlemagne and his successors. Charlemagne had the Ingelheim Imperial Palace (Ingelheimer Kaiserpfalz) built here, where synods and Imperial diets were held in the time that followed. His son and successor, Emperor Louis the Pious, died on 20 June 840 in Ingelheim.
In the High and Late Middle Ages, the Palatinate’s, and thereby also Ingelheim’s, importance shrank.
For German justice history, the Ingelheimer Oberhof (“Ingelheim Upper Court”) is of particular importance, as a unique collection of judgments from the 15th and 16th centuries that it handed down has been preserved.
Late 19th century Ingelheim was the residence of the Dutch writer Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker).
In 1939, the formerly self-administering municipalities of Nieder-Ingelheim, Ober-Ingelheim and Frei-Weinheim were merged into the Town of Ingelheim am Rhein.
From the Second World War, Ingelheim emerged as the only unscathed town between Mainz and Koblenz. Today, Ingelheim is a middle centre in Rhineland-Palatinate, a Great District-Bound Town (Große kreisangehörige Stadt – a status deriving from the Rhineland-Palatinate Municipal Order) and the seat of district administration for Mainz-Bingen.
Until 1942 there was a Jewish community, whose beginnings went back to the 16th century. About 1850, roughly 200 Jewish inhabitants lived in Ober-Ingelheim, and by 1933 there were still 134 all together in Oberingelheim and Niederingelheim. In 1840 and 1841, a synagogue that was important to architectural history was built. It was dedicated on 27 August 1841 and destroyed on 9 November 1938 – Kristallnacht. Many Jewish inhabitants lost their lives after being deported to the death camps during the time of the Third Reich