Traben-Trarbach is a little town on the valley of the Middle Moselle in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is located right in the centre of the triangle Luxembourg - Frankfurt am Main – Köln.
The two closest big cities are Trier (60 km by car) to the southwest and Koblenz (around 100 km) to the northeast. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in the Hunsrück is only around 20 km away.
The municipal area spreads over a total of 31,350,000 m² with a great share of this being wooded. This makes Traben-Trarbach the biggest town by land area on the Middle Moselle.
Traben lies on the Moselle's left bank at the foot of the former fort of Mont Royal, and Trarbach lies on the right bank on the Hunsrück side.
The double city of Traben-Trarbach originally comprised two independent villages on the right side (Trarbach) and the left side (Traben) of the Middle Mosel. Traben was first mentioned in an historical document in 830, whereas its neighboring village was not mentioned until 1142. The local subdistrict of Traben expanded to both sides of the river. Its inhabitants lived mainly from agriculture. Trarbach developed in a brook valley. The building development slowly spread out to the Mosel. After 1233, the settlement became the principal locality of the “Hintere Grafschaft Sponheim” (Rear County of Sponheim). It did not receive a town charter but functioned as an administrative center. The Reformation was introduced in 1557.
The region was restructured following the occupation of the Rhineland by French revolutionary troops in 1794. Trarbach became the seat of a mayor and was consolidated into an administrative unit together with Traben and a few Hunsrück communities. The mayoralties of Trarbach and Enkirch formed the Canton of Trarbach. The institution of the mayor’s office was taken over by the Prussian administration, which governed the areas situated on the left bank of the Rhine starting in 1814, and was confirmed in the Municipal Code of the Rhine Province in 1845. However, the territorial structure changed at this time. The mayor's office then governed the villages of Enkirch, Burg and Starkenburg in addition to Traben and Trarbach.
In 1856 city rights were awarded to Trarbach. The inner structure of the town had always had a city-like character. This was clearly shown by the variety of handicraft and trade shops and by the dominant position of the merchant class. During the course of the 19th century, Traben’s economic importance gradually increased. The Trarbach wine dealers began to become interested in the mainly agriculturally structured region with its focus on wine growing. At the latest following the city fire in Trarbach of 1857, the emigration of well known wine dealers to Traben became very noticeable. There they established a wholesale wine trading organization, which stimulated an enormous economic boom vis-à-vis its neighboring village. The fire which broke out in Traben in 1879 did not delay the further growth of the city. During the last decade of the 19th century, Traben surpassed the City of Trarbach both in terms of population growth and tax revenues. The new Wine Law of 1892, which permitted sugar to be added to wine without disclosure of its amount, may have stimulated this demographic and economic growth. At the same time, commercial trade prospered thanks to the political affiliation of the territory with Prussia. In its role as a Protestant enclave within the Archbishopric of Trier, Traben maintained contacts with other Protestant states and regions.
Trabens’s political self-confidence grew together with its economic prosperity. In connection with the dissolution of the Trarbach Country Mayor’s office in 1884, Traben was given its own mayor’s office which was also administered by the mayor of the City of Trarbach. Ten years passed before Traben was able to have a mayor of its own and thus to oppose the efforts to consolidate it with Trarbach. Finally, after difficult negotiations, a resolution was passed approving the consolidation of both cities into a single political community. The corresponding agreement was signed on March 26, 1904.