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Dürkheimer Riesenfass: The Giant Cask

The historic town of Bad Dürkheim lying on the edge of Palatinate Forest on Germany's oldest wine routes, is well known for its vineyards and mineral springs. Every year, on the second and third weekend of September, corresponding to Oktoberfest celebrations around the country, Bad Dürkheim holds the world's biggest wine festival called Wurstmarkt—which actually means “sausage market”. The festival takes its name from the spacious sausage market area in the middle of the town where the festivities takes place, with the organizers erecting fairground rides and temporary food stalls.

Sitting right in the middle of the sausage market is the world’s largest wine barrel—13.5 meters in diameter and a capacity of 1.7 million liters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold wine. Instead, it houses a restaurant.

Dürkheimer Riesenfass

Photo: Jim Maurer/Flickr

The Dürkheimer Riesenfass (or the Giant Cask) is an authentic wine barrel built in 1934 by Bad Dürkheim vineyard owner and master cooper, Fritz Keller. To construct the cask nearly 200 spruce trees were felled in the Northern Black Forest, each about 40 meters high. One tree was needed for each of the 178 staves, each 15 meters long and 15 cm thick. In all, more than 200 cubic meters of wood was used for its construction.

Once completed, Dürkheimer Riesenfass became quite a sight alongside the Bad Dürkheim-Kaiserslautern federal road. It also superseded by a long way the famous Heidelberg Tun which had previously been the largest cask in the world, with capacity of 221,726 liters. The difference is that Heidelberg Tun was actually used to store wine, while Dürkheimer Riesenfass is not.

The Giant Cask can hold approximately 430 guests, although the restaurant isn’t usually open outside of festival season or prearranged group outings.

Dürkheimer Riesenfass

Photo: Rico Markus/Shutterstock.com

Dürkheimer Riesenfass

Photo: Zavijava2/Wikimedia Commons

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