The Castle of Marksburg sits high on a cliff, seemingly impenetrable to enemy forces. And this castle has withstood more than most. It holds the enviable title of the only medieval castle in the Middle Rhine that was never destroyed.
About The Marksburg Castle And Its History
The Eppstein family is the one we have to thank for this marvelous example of medieval architecture. The Marksburg Castle is a miracle in itself. For over 700 years, it has not been touched by the ravages of time or the destruction of war. Even with two world wars, the Marksburg has been happily spared so that current and future generations can appreciate its splendor.
The craggy, nearly inaccessible cliff on which the castle sits has certainly helped it to survive such bloody centuries. The original purpose of Marksburg was to protect the citizens and town of Braubach.
By 1283, the castle had passed hands from the Eppsteins to the family Katzenelnbogen. The Katzenelnbogen counts tinkered with the castle design endlessly throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. They are chiefly responsible for its Gothic appearance. By 1479, the line of Katzenelnbogen was at an end and Marksburg was once again in the hands of new owners. This time, it was the Count of Hesse.
The 19th century was one of the more tumultuous, when the palace was used as a state prison in Napoleon’s times. Ultimately, it was sold to the German Castle Association for 1,000 marks, and this group has worked to preserve the castle.
Marksburg Castle Highlights And Features
Marksburg Castle is guarded by a series of authentic gates and drawbridges that really bring you into its medieval past. The Zugbrückentor or Drawbridge Gate leads you into an atmospheric vaulted tunnel while the Schartentor (Notches Gate) lets you stand on the balcony where brave guards once threw rocks to protect the castle from invaders.
The Marksburg’s Great Hall is indeed great (and ancient) as it dates back to 1239. The Hall was constructed in the Romanesque architectural style. Its lavish state apartments now house the German Castle Association’s offices.
Over two thousand years of weaponry is on display at the castle armory. You can view everything from ancient Celtic arms up to the modern rifle. Not only that, but you’ll learn some interesting facts about medieval life.
The origin of the military salute (a friendly gesture by traveling knights) and the real purpose of chastity belts (to protect traveling women from unwanted sexual advances) are waiting to be discovered here.
Marksburg Castle Location And Opening Hours
Travelers can find the illustrious castle of Marksburg in the small town of Braubach in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state, just south of Koblenz.
You may not believe that the castle over the Rhine River can actually be visited when you see it in its lofty, impossibly inaccessible and defensive location. So disabled visitors should be wary that this is not the world’s most wheelchair-accessible place.
Use your GPS for step-by-step instructions on reaching the castle by simply typing in Marksburg in Braubach. The closest highway is the Bundestrasse B42. Take the Braubach exit and follow the signs to Marksburg.
Public transport users can also easily reach Marksburg via trains to Braubach. There is a novelty train that runs from springtime to October from Old Town to the castle steps. A walking trail from the city center takes about twenty minutes and will delight the adventurous, outdoorsy visitor.
Marksburg Opening Hours
The Castle is open year round and is closed for Christmas eve and Christmas day. Spring and summer hours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fall and winter have shorter visiting times, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Marksburg Web site: http://www.marksburg.de