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« Germany 5.1: Castles … | Home | Germany 5.3: Castles … »

Germany 5.2: Castles on the Rhine

And now for something completely different.

A few clicks north of the Rheinfels ruins is Stolzenfels Castle.  Stolzenfel's midievel history isn't very interesting.  They know a castle was on this site from at least 1248.  It was yet another castle that secured the Rhine toll (confirmed by documents from 1310).  In the Thirty Years War, the castle was occupied by Swedish forces in 1632, then by the French from 1634-1636 and again from 1646-1648.  During an unsuccessful siege of Koblenz (a city to the north) the French burned the castle in 1688.  It looked like this for about 150 years.

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV was eventually given the ruins and the castle was rebuilt in the 1830s and 40s to its present romantic version of a castle.  The King and his wife Elisabeth of Bavaria moved in in 1842.  Here's its current form.


Stolzenfels has the windiest approach of any of the castles so far.  You turn off the main road, go through a gate and start ascending steeply.  Cars would have to drive under this bridge, then up and around and over it.  When it comes into view, you feel like you're nearing an Elven city in Lord of the Rings.


Thanks to the aristocracy, there's a lot of art and some pretty posh living quarters.


Here's a look into the inner courtyard. 


Here's the keep.  Standing at its original height of 35m.  Like any keep worth a damn, the only original entrance is well off the ground.  Any doors at the base of the keep would have been added during the 19th century restoration\romantification of the castle.


The inside was pretty enough at first to keep us interested.   Ooh a table!

Ooh the knight's hall! 


Hey, fire! 

Hey look... wood... By this point Kristine and I had realized our error.  The tour was entirely in German.  No big deal, they give you a single sheet of paper with information on it so you know what you're looking at.  But every room we went into, it would take us about 10 seconds to read the information and our (apparently very entertaining) tour guide would talk and talk and talk while we stood about shiftily. 

Eventually, sliding around the antique wood floors on these booties became our salvation. 

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