The Loreley (Lorelei) is a 433 feet high slate cliff in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage near the town of St. Goarshausen. The view of St. Goarshausen, from the Loreley ( Lorelei ) outlook point, with Castle Katz and the view of the town St. Goar and its Fortress Rheinfels, leaves a wonderful impression on all Loreley (Lorelei) tourists. The Rhine, at the Loreley (Lorelei), is up to 82 feet deep and only 371 feet wide. Because this area is so deep and narrow, it is one of the most dangerous places in the World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Ships, crossing each other here and all along the section between Oberwesel and St. Goarshausen, are directed by light signals, called “Wahrschau”.
The name comes from the old German words lureln, Rhine dialect for ‘murmuring’, and the Celtic term ley “rock”. The translation of the name would therefore be: ‘murmur rock’ or ‘murmuring rock’. The heavy currents, and a small waterfall in the area (still visible in the early 19th century) created a murmuring sound, and this combined with the special echo the rock produces to act as a sort of amplifier, giving the rock its name The murmuring is hard to hear today owing to the urbanization of the area. Other theories attribute the name to the many boating accidents on the rock, by combining the German verb lauern (‘to lurk, lie in wait’) with the same “ley” ending, with the translation “lurking rock”.