Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top 10 Visions Along the Rhine River In Germany

The Rhine River was formed by melting snowcaps high in the Swiss Alps.  It carves a channel through the heart of Europe and empties into the North Sea in the Netherlands.  It is one of the longest rivers in Europe, important for transportation, trade and defense. In 2010,the Dutch Rijkswaterstaat confirmed the length as 1,233 kilometres (766 miles). You can spot many castles as you cruise along the Rhine.

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley section of the River Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2002 for a unique combination of geological, historical, cultural and industrial reasons.

Sterrenberg Castle sits high above the town. Records first mentioned it in 1034 and claim it to be the oldest Rhine castle still preserved today.

The two castles sitting on top of the ridge of the Rhine River, the Sterrenberg and the Liebenstein are known as the" Hostile Brothers" according to folklore.  I was unable to confirm the exact age of the castles from various websites. Apparently some disputes last a very long time.

Liebenstein Castle is only apparently 150 meters away from the Sterrenberg Castle. There has never been any documented proof of any war between the two neighboring castles, however, the folklore does involve a woman, Hilgegard and two brothers Henrick and Konrad.

Katz (Cat) Castle. Burg Katz is a castle above the German town of St. Goarshausen in Rhineland-Palatinate. This magnificent castle stands on a ledge looking downstream from the riverside at St. Goarthe. It was first built around 1371 by Count Wilhelm II of Katzenelnbogen. The castle was bombarded in 1806 by Napoleon and rebuilt in the late 19th century, between 1896-98. It is now privately owned, and not open for visitors.

Maus (Mouse) Castle, which is actually called Thurnberg. Burg Maus (meaning Mouse Castle in German) is a castle above the village of Wellmich (part of Sankt Goarshausen) in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It lies on the east side of the Rhine, north of Burg Katz (Cat Castle) in Sankt Goarshausen and opposite Burg Rheinfels at Sankt Goar across the river.

 Rheinfels Fortress. Burg Rheinfels is a castle ruin located in Sankt Goar, Germany overlooking the Rhine. It was started in 1245 by Count Diether V of Katzenelnbogen and was partially destroyed by French Revolutionary Army troops in 1797. It is the largest castle overlooking the Rhine, and historically covered five times its current area.

Mittelrhein (or Middle Rhine) is a region (Anbaugebiet) for quality wine in Germany.
A vertical vineyard on a very steep slope is a common sight along the Rhine.

Railroad Tunnels with a castle facade are deceiving at first glance you think they are actual castles. I don't wish to misquote anyone but I believe we were told by out tour guide that they were built during conflict to deflect attention away from the castles and protect them. Some of the towns along this route were also spared during World War II because they had no industrial value and posed no threat.

The Gutenfels Castle. The Burg Gutenfels (also known as castle Caub) is a castle 110m above the town of Kaub in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It was build in 1220

Pfalzgrafenstein Toll Station. Burg Pfalzgrafenstein is a toll castle on the Falkenau island, otherwise known as Pfalz Island in the Rhine river near Kaub, Germany. Known as "the Pfalz", this former stronghold is famous for its picturesque and unique setting. Its keep, a pentagonal tower with its point upstream, was erected 1326 to 1327 by King Ludwig the Bavarian. Around the tower, a defensive hexagonal wall was built between 1338 to 1340. In 1477 Pfalzgrafenstein was passed as deposit to the Count of Katzenelnbogen. Later additions were made in 1607 and 1755, consisting of corner turrets, the gun bastion pointing upstream, and the characteristic baroque tower cap.

The Loreley (also spelled Lorelei) statue is located at the narrowest and deepest part of the Rhine River. In the Rhine fairytale of 1810, written by Brentano, Loreley ( Lorelei ) appears as the distraught woman Lurley, sitting on a rock combing her long golden hair and luring the bargees into their destruction.

(apparently she makes quite an impression)

Additional websites packed with inforation on this region and helpful to me in identifying the castles:


  1. Really great shots and all of these places looks so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting article.
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  2. Being that my maiden name is Falkenau, and my Great Grandfather Carl G. Falkenau left Deutschland to come to Amerika, I think you know my favorite.Thank you from Kimberley Falkenau!

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