Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marksburg Castle

With some friends visiting, I took Monday off, and we went to Marksburg Castle. A little south of Koblenz in Braubach, the castle advertises as "the only hill castle on the Rhine that has never been destroyed." The oldest parts of the castle date to the 12th century and it's rather awesomely medieval-y.

You have to take the tour to see the castle, but -- unlike a lot of other castles on the Rhine -- it's open year round. In general, the tour is German-only (with an information sheet offered in several different languages). A lot of English speakers happened to show up when we were there and the tour guide very kindly did the tour in both English and German. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take a lot of pictures.

The Riders' Stairway (ride your horse into the castle and straight to the stable):

Old cannons:

The walls are incredibly thick. My information sheet says 4.5m, although I thought the tour guide said 3.5m. At points, they cut into the walls to make window alcoves. This also meant that it was pretty dim inside and not so good for taking pictures.

This is the great banqueting hall. It's pretty small (maybe the size of my 40 square meter apartment). That door leads to the bathroom. In typical medieval castle style, the toilet hangs over the outside of the castle walls so the waste drops outside. The door wasn't for privacy. It was never closed unless the castle was under attack. Then, it was locked to prevent enemy soldiers from climbing the castle walls and into the castle through the toilet.

There was a lot of other cool stuff like a collection of armor from 600 BC to 1500 AD, the torture chamber, and the tiny stone stairway that was designed to be too small for invading soldiers to draw their swords.

There's a ton of castles on the Rhine. Here's a picture of what I think is a fortress right above the Koblenz train station.

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