Watertravel & Waterside Destinations Sterrenberg and Liebenstein, the castles known as the Enemy Brothers, sit on a ridge above the pilgrimage town of Bornhofen.

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Enemy Brothers (feindliche Brüder)

The castles Sterrenberg and Liebenstein, perched above the pilgrimage town of Bornhofen, are often referred to as the “enemy brothers.”

Burg Sterrenberg is seen through the arched entry to Burg Liebenstein.

The tale of how they got that name dates back to the Crusades. Actually, there are several variant stories explaining how the two brothers came to hate each other, but the legends more or less agree that there was no love lost between them.

The gist of it is that one of the brothers went off to fight in the Middle East while the other brother remained behind. It is suggested that they became enemies over the relationship that formed between the brother who remained at home and the other’s fiancée. Following the warrior’s return, they are said to have shot at each other across the saddle in the ridge until they finally resolved their differences. They even went hunting together... until one met his death in a mysterious accident.

Liebenstein houses a restaurant which is open to the public. Steerenberg is the older of the two castles, and as early as the 12th-century belonged to a family by the name of Bolanden. Later it was the property of the Counts of Sponheim. Liebenstein was constructed toward the end of the 13th century and for a period during its history was the property of the Dukes of Nassau-Saarbrücken. The ruins of both are open to the public year round, and the town of Bornhofen is interesting as well.

Some of the castle ruins seen while hiking around the Enemy Brothers castles.
Copyright © Don Douglas