Watertravel & Waterside DestinationsBurg Rheinfels is a huge castle with a colorfully violent history.

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Rheinfels Castle

Perched above the town of Sankt Goar, Burg Rheinfels is a huge castle with a colorfully violent history.

What the traveler sees today is the partially restored ruins of the great palace/fortress. Its construction was begun in 1245 by Count Diether III of Katzenelbogen in order to collect new tolls from the Rhine ship traffic. Many of the Rhine castles were properties of the Katzenelnbogen family.

What the traveler sees today is the partially restored ruins of the great palace/fortress, which, for about 500 years, was the most powerful castle on the Rhine. Although its beginnings in the mid-13th century were fairly modest, it proceeded to go through several expansions and proved its strength through many battles and sieges. 

The remodeled hotel section of Burg Rheinfels has rooms with spectacular views of the river below.Finally, during a war that lasted from 1794 to1796, there was a surrender without a fight to the French revolutionary troops. Once the French conquered it bloodlessly, however, they blew the place to ruin.

Much of the stone was carted off for building elsewhere, but still a lot of the old structure remained. In 1937, restoration was begun and has continued to the present. The ancient fortress houses a hotel and restaurant, offers lots of opportunity for hiking and exploring the grounds. Rheinfels is the site of historical reenactments which can be a lot of fun for all, particularly kids, to watch. The remodeled hotel section has rooms with spectacular views of the river below.

Copyright Don Douglas
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