Of all the Rhine River hill castles from Bingen to Koblenz, Marksburg Castle is one of only two that has never been destroyed nor fallen into disrepair, so it has been continuously occupied for nearly 700 years. It is located above the city of Braubach in Germany and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The castle was used primarily for protection – it was built as a fortress – rather than a residence for royal families.
It was established in 1117 and being so well preserved, it is a destination on many Rhine river cruises. Marksburg was our second stop in Germany. We toured it in the morning and in the afternoon, we were treated to a narrative about other castles we were seeing as we sailed down the Rhine River.
I am incorporating this narrative into a post for Norm’s Thursday Doors. There are many cool doors (some are more appropriately called entryways) but other interesting things as well.
At the castle, we were split into two groups, since the total number of people on the tour was very large. One can only tour the castle with a guided tour, which lasts 50 minutes. Dale and I were in the first group, that began the guided tour right away; the other group had to wait for the next tour about 15 minutes later. Meanwhile, they could browse in the gift shop, have a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, and admire the spectacular view! Due to the uneven terrain typical of medieval sites, the castle is not wheelchair accessible.
The main entrance, typical for a fortified castle, is via a bridge over the moat and through a large gateway.
Marksburg was occupied by a number of different families over the centuries, whose coat of arms identify them. Our guide told us about each of them. To learn more about these families, follow this link.
In 1866, due to the Austro-Prussian War, Marksburg was taken over by Prussia. It then became housing for soldiers and was in danger of falling into disrepair due to government neglect. In the year 1900, the German Castles Association, with the help of the emperor, Wilhelm II, purchased the castle for the paltry sum of 1,000 DM (Deutschemarks). Court planner and Berlin architect Bodo Eberhardt then carried out extensive restoration at the castle. To this day, the headquarters of the German Castles Association has its headquarters at Marksburg.
For the benefit of the tourists, many of the rooms are furnished as they would have looked during the times in which they were occupied.
The chapel was simply decorated; the ceiling was quite lovely.
As would be expected, the castle has several levels.
There is also a room with very colorful and interesting armor as it evolved through the ages!
The view from the top – I’m pretty sure this is the exact scene that is shown in Viking’s TV commercials!
Some of us elected to walk back down instead of waiting for the bus.