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For other uses, see Moselle (disambiguation).
Schweicher Annaberg.jpg
Typical landscape of Mosel vineyards near Schweich
Origin Vosges mountains
Mouth Rhine
50°21′58″N 7°36′25″E / 50.36611°N 7.60694°E / 50.36611; 7.60694 (Rhine-Moselle)Coordinates: 50°21′58″N 7°36′25″E / 50.36611°N 7.60694°E / 50.36611; 7.60694 (Rhine-Moselle)
Basin countries France, Germany, Luxembourg
Length 545 km (339 mi)
Source elevation 715 m (2,346 ft)
Avg. discharge 290 cubic metres per second (10,000 cu ft/s)
Basin area 28,286 km2 (10,921 sq mi)
Beilstein on the Moselle

The Moselle (French: Moselle, IPA: [mɔzɛl]; German: Mosel; Luxembourgish: Musel) is a river flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It is a left tributary of the Rhine, which it joins at Koblenz. A small part of Belgium is also drained by the Moselle through the Sauer and the Our.

Its name comes from the Latin Mosella, meaning the "Little Meuse" (Mosa in Latin). The river gave its name to two French départements: Moselle and Meurthe-et-Moselle.


The source of the Moselle is at the western slope of the Ballon d'Alsace in the Vosges mountains. The Moselle flows through the Lorraine region, west of the Vosges. Further downstream, in Germany, the Moselle valley forms the division between the Eifel and Hunsrück mountain regions. Its total length from source to mouth is approximately 546 kilometres (339 mi).

Mosel basin area

Towns along the Moselle River are:


The Moselle was celebrated in Mosella, a Latin poem by Ausonius (4th century). In the 20th century, the river and the folklore and local history of the towns along its banks were described by British travel writer Roger Pilkington. In the tale, "The Seven Swabians" of the Brothers Grimm, the eponymous Swabians drown trying to cross the Moselle.


From the left: Madon, Terrouin, Esch, Rupt de Mad, Orne, Fensch, Gander, Syre, Sauer, Kyll, Salm, Lieser, Alf, Endert, Brohlbach, Elz.

From the right: Moselotte, Vologne, Meurthe, Seille, Saar, Olewiger Bach, Avelsbach, Ruwer, Feller Bach, Dhron, Ahringsbach, Kautenbach, Lützbach, Flaumbach, Altlayer Bach, Baybach, Ehrbach.


The Moselle valley between Metz and Thionville is an industrial area, with coal mining and steel manufactures.

The Moselle valley is famous for its beautiful scenery and the excellent wine produced. Most well-known is the German Mosel wine region, while the Luxembourgish winegrowing region is called Moselle Luxembourgeoise and the French region is called VDQS Moselle. Most notable among the wines produced here are Riesling, Elbling, Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, and Auxerrois. The German part of the Moselle is a popular tourist destination. An important asset is today's Moselradweg, the 311-kilometre (193 mi) long cycleway from Metz to Koblenz, which also connects to nine other cycleways.


Fankel barrage

The Moselle has been made navigable for large cargo ships up to 110 metres (360 ft) long[1] from the Rhine in Koblenz up to Neuves-Maisons, south of Nancy. For smaller ships it is connected to other parts of France through the Canal de l'Est and the Canal de la Marne au Rhin. There are locks in Koblenz, Lehmen, Müden, Fankel, Sankt Aldegund, Enkirch, Zeltingen, Wintrich, Detzem, Trier, Grevenmacher, Palzem,[1] Apach, Kœnigsmacker, Thionville, Richemont, Talange, Metz, Ars-sur-Moselle, Pagny-sur-Moselle, Blénod-lès-Pont-à-Mousson, Custines, Pompey, Aingeray, Fontenoy-sur-Moselle, Toul, Villey-le-Sec, and Neuves-Maisons.[2]


Moselle river flowing through Metz
Cochem Castle, overlooking the Mosel
A Liberty pole erected by the Moselle during the French Revolution, water color by Goethe, 1793
  • Château de Meinsberg (dit de Malbrouck): near Manderen, this castle was built in the 15th century but rebuilt in the 1990s. Today it is used for numerous cultural events.
  • Château Fort de Sierck-les-Bains: situated just on the French-German border at Sierck-les-Bains, this fortress of the Duke of Lorraine dates back to the 11th century. Most of today's castle was constructed in the 18th century, following plans from Vauban.
  • Schloss Berg: a Renaissance castle at Nennig, today a hotel and a casino.
  • Alte Burg: a manor house built in 1360 at Longuich. One of the few surviving manor houses in rural Rhineland-Palatinate.
  • Schloss Lieser: a palace at Lieser built from 1884 to 1887 in historistic style.
  • Burg Landshut: a castle built by the Electorate of Trier in the 13th century at Bernkastel-Kues.
  • Grevenburg: ruins of a castle at Traben-Trarbach built by Johann III of Sponheim-Starkenburg about 1350, destroyed, after many sieges, in 1734.
  • Marienburg: a 12th-century castle and later monastery near Pünderich and Alf.
  • Burg Arras: a 12th-century castle in Alf.
  • Burg Metternich: a castle built around 1120 at Beilstein, today partly in ruins.
  • Castle of Cochem: The castle in Cochem was originally built in the 11th century, but was completely destroyed by French soldiers in 1689. The present castle was rebuilt later in the 19th century.
  • Burg Thurant: Above the town of Alken is Thurant castle, built in the 13th century. It is the only twin-towered castle along the Moselle.
  • Ehrenburg: a 12th-century castle built by the Electorate of Trier at Brodenbach.
  • Burg Eltz: The von Eltz family castle, whose history dates back to the 12th century. It remains in private hands to this day but it is open to visitors.
  • Lower and Upper Castle, Kobern-Gondorf: two 11th-century castles, today mostly in ruins.
  • Burg Pyrmont: This 13th-century castle near Roes was remodelled and extended several times during the Baroque era.
  • Burg Bischofstein: Across the river from the municipality of Burgen is this 13th-century castle, which was destroyed during the Nine Years' War, but was reconstructed and now serves as a retreat centre for the Fichte Gymnasium in Krefeld.

See also: Wikimedia Commons - Castles in Rhineland-Palatinate

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