Costly tolls were
exacted from ship traffic
passing through the Rhine Valley, which is how even some of the more
respectable castle owners got rich and came to be called
That said, one can’t
help but wonder about the errant
knights of Burg Reichenstein. During the 13th century, the castle had
fortress of Philip von Hohenfels, an outlaw knight who
“robbed ladies, imprisoned the clergy, mistreated vassals and
plundered merchants.” It appears they were a rough bunch even
by the local standards of the time.
On the first of
October in 1273, Rudolf I, founder of the Habsburg dynasty, was elected
Emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire and King of Germany. Four years later, at nearby Burg
Rheinstein, he tried Philip von Hohenfels and ordered his
execution. The ownership of Burg Reichenstein then passed to Philip’s
who was evidently every bit the outlaw that his father was.
Judging by the
foundation stones, experts have estimated that the earliest
construction on Burg
Reichenstein began in the early 11th century, roughly 1,000 years ago.
At that time the land in that region was the property of Kornelimuenster
Abby, located a few miles southeast of Aachen. It had been a
gift from King Louis I, also known as Ludwig der Fromme (the Pious),
son of Charlemagne.
Burg Reichenstein is open to the public as a hotel and restaurant.