Germany > Zell


Zell is a town in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Zell has roughly 4,300 inhabitants and is the seat of the like-named Verbandsgemeinde.



Zell is an hour’s drive from both Koblenz and Trier, more or less halfway between these two cities. The nearest town going towards Koblenz is Cochem, and the nearest two going towards Trier are Traben-Trarbach and Bernkastel-Kues. To both Frankfurt-Hahn Airport on the Hunsrück and the spa town of Bad Bertrich in the Voreifel it is half an hour’s drive. The parts of town lying on the river, the Old Town, Kaimt and Merl, are at an elevation of roughly 100 m above sea level on a remarkable bow in the river Moselle, known as the Zeller Hamm.

Constituent communities

On the Moselle’s right bank lie the Old Town (Altstadt) and the Stadtteil of Merl. Up in the Hunsrück lies the smallest Stadtteil, Althaus, which is right at the town limit, next to Tellig. West of the Moselle, in a dale, lies Kaimt, as does Barl, whose elevation is 100 m higher.


Zell was founded by the Romans sometime later than AD 70. The outlying centre of Kaimt had its first documentary mention in 732 or 733. In 1222, Zell was granted town rights. Beginning in 1332, it was an Electoral-Trier town and until 1794 the seat of an Electoral-Trier Oberamt. With the occupation of the Rhine’s left bank by French Revolutionary troops in 1794, the town became French. In 1814 Zell was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia at the Congress of Vienna. Fires in 1848 and 1857 destroyed a great deal of the Old Town. Since 1946, the town has been part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate. In 1950 came the amalgamation of Kaimt. Until 1969, Zell was the district seat of the now abolished district of the same name. In the course of administrative restructuring in Rhineland-Palatinate, this was merged with the neighbouring district to form the district of Cochem-Zell, whose seat is at Cochem. Along with the loss of the district seat also came the loss of many other centres of authority and various other institutions. On 7 June 1969 came the amalgamation of Merl. The town has also distinguished itself with the establishment of many businesses, particularly in the outlying centre of Barl up in the heights.


Town council

The local council has 20 members.The elections in May 2014 showed the following results.


Hans Schwarz (CDU) has been Zell’s mayor since 2009. His deputies are Karlheinz Weis jr., Bettina Salzmann and Therese Juhre.

Coat of arms

The town’s arms might be described thus: Argent a cross gules, in dexter chief two keys per cross, the wards turned outwards and to chief and dexter azure, and in sinister base the same reversed.

The red cross refers to the town’s historical relation with the Archbishop of Trier and the Elector of Trier. The keys are Saint Peter’s attribute, thus representing the town’s and the church’s patron saint. Also, there once stood on the Petersberg (mountain, now called Marienburg) a church consecrated to Saint Peter.

Town partnerships

Zell fosters partnerships with the following places:

Culture and sightseeing


Theatre group Kätz


The town hall houses a local history museum with many exhibits from the town’s history, winegrowing and traditional crafts.

Zell (main centre)




Saint Peter’s Catholic Parish Church in Zell has a reliquary shrine from the time between 1180 and 1190 from Limoges with a container for Saint Peter’s bones. The Madonna figure in the left side altar comes from the 15th century. The baptismal font on the right side in the quire bears the yeardate 1576. Saint Peter’s has a High Altar and a Crucifixion group. A further point of note is an impressive baldachin much like the one at the Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) in Trier.

In the outlying centre of Kaimt, the new parish church, Saint James’s, was built about 1968; the old churchtower was preserved. It was the Palatine chapel of the former Electoral-Trier archiepiscopal estate in Kaimt. Inside is a stone endowment document, the oldest ecclesiastical attestation of the town of Zell, from about 1200, with the oldest depiction of a winemaker. There are a side altar and a tabernacle with a Christ torso from the 13th or 14th century, the time of transition from Romanesque to Gothic, probably of the Riemenschneider school.

In the outlying centre of Merl stands Saint Michael’s Parish Church, until 1805 the Franciscan monastery church. The church on the thoroughfare near the Moselle has on the High Altar an “Antwerp retable” from about 1520. The sacristy was built with one support to a nearly square floor plan. In the parish hall, remnants of mediaeval wall paintings have been preserved, and the old dormitory’s roof frame in the monastery wing, which is not open to the public, is said to be one of the few mediaeval roof constructions still preserved in Germany.

The old Romanesque Saint Michael’s Parish Church, a hall church, was torn down in 1823 after the monastery church was taken over. The old Romanesque tower stood preserved on today’s graveyard in Merl.


The greater part of the population is Roman Catholic. In second place is the Evangelical faith.

Regular events


Zell has the following clubs:

Sport and leisure

Zell has the following sport and leisure facilities:


The lookout tower on the Prinzenkopf offers a panoramic view of all Zell’s centres and also of Pünderich, Bullay and the Marienburg.

Economy and infrastructure


To a considerable extent, Zell is characterized by winegrowing and with 331 ha of planted vineyards is also, after Piesport (413 ha) the biggest winegrowing centre in the Mosel wine region. Traditionally, it is mostly Riesling that is grown here. Known far beyond the local area is the Zeller Schwarze Katz (a winemaking appellation – Großlage). Winegrowing furthermore also furnishes the groundwork for another industry, tourism, which is also of great economic importance. Zell is, among other things, the seat of the winemaker Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller.


Zell is home to Zeller Plastik (ZP), an important employer. ZP’s importance lies in injection moulding of plastic closures and packaging components; it is a member of the group Global Closure Systems, a worldwide network of businesses that work in plastics. The daughter company Zeller Engineering makes injection moulding equipment.

Trade and crafts

In the outlying centre of Barl, many retail businesses with large floor areas have set up shop. Among them, the main one is the Globus Handelshof with an adjoining building centre. Besides this, many midsize wholesale and retail businesses, as well as craft businesses, are located here.


The town’s link to the Deutsche Bahn railway network with InterCity and Intercity-Express service is through the station in the neighbouring municipality of Bullay on the Koblenz—Trier line, about 7 km away. The station lies on the Koblenz— Trier/Saarbrücken/Luxembourg IC line. There are Bundesstraße connections, too, both north-south (B 421) and east-west (B 53). There are landing stages for international water transport on the Moselle, and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is roughly a half hour’s drive away.



Famous people

Honorary citizens

Sons and daughters of the town

Famous people associated with the town

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