an American in Germany: a blog about culture, language, society
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Day 4 (Part I): Burg Rheinfels
This morning after breakfast we headed up the hill to the ruin of Burg Rheinfels, a medieval fortress/castle just outside of the town of St. Goar. It was a really fun castle ruin to explore. You couldn't tell from below in the town, but it was a huge, expansive ruin with lots to explore. They also had a little museum with artifacts from the castle, information about the various battles and battle technologies that were developed. The castle was built in 1245 from Graf Diether V. von Katzenelnbogen in order to protect the customs from St. Goar (charging ships going by on the river). It became an increasingly important defense point on the river. When the castle "Burg Katz" was built on the other side of the river, it became an even more important castle, because together they could close off the Rhine. In the 17th century it was expanded and rebuilt into a renaissance castle, and the defense walls were expanded. In 1794 they gave over to the French Revolutionaries without a fight though, and since then it became a ruin.
We had so much fun walking around the ruin, enjoying the view of the Rhine Valley, and expoloring the castle. You could buy a candle or a flashlight at the little museum in order to explore some of the underground tunnels and defense towers. It was a little scary (and we all agreed in the US this would be illegal...) but we got a candle and wandered through a bit. The inner bits of the castle were surprisingly well-preserved. They used a lot of the slate rock from the surrounding countryside to build.
And the sun came out! we spent a few hours walking around, enjoying the scenery and our last few hours on the Middle Rhine.