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River Cruise – Heidelberg and Aschaffenburg


Heidelberg is located on the Neckar river, which is a major tributary of the Rhine. It is generally agreed that there has been a Roman fort and a relaed settlement in this area as far back as 40AD. The modern city was founded  1169. In 1386, Heidelberg University was founded by Rupert I, Elector Palatine. Over time the Palatine electors have made it their seat of power, and built this castle…



Heidelburg Castle


Which towers and looms over the city. The castle and most of the city were destroyed by French in 1693, during wars of the War of the Grand Alliance. Some of the buildings in town, such as the Ritter House, and since 1700’s Hotel zum Ritter have somehow escaped the destruction of the ward and the great renewal of early 1800’s, and stand to this day as examples of  the former architecture:



Hotel zum Ritter


Aschaffenburg is a city on the Main river. Aschaffenburg belonged to the Archbishopric of Mainz for more than 800 years.  it is here, in lower Franconia where between 1605 and 1614 by Archbishop Schweikard von Kronbergbuilt himself a “hunting lodge”.

This is his hunting lodge:



Johannisburg in Aschaffenburg


River Cruise – Castles of the Middle Rhine

Koblenz to Bingen

The stretch of the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen is called the “Romantic Rhine” and it is littered with ruins and 19th century Romantic Movement inspired copies of older castles…  Here are some of them:

Some of the castles

Schloss Stolzenfels: – A toll station since 1200’s. Destroyed in 1698 by the French was rebuilt in the neo-gothic style around 1826 as summer residence for Frederick William IV of Prussia.


Stolzenfels – a ‘Romatic fake’ calstle


Marksburg – Again 🙂



Burg ‘Maus’ – The Mouse Castle. Very close to the KatzBurg – The Cat Castle.


Burg Maus


Katzburg – The Cat Castle. Very close to the Burg ‘Maus’  – The Mouse Castle.




Rheinfels – Partial ruin since the French troops torched it in 1797’s. Unlike other castles on left bank of the middle Rhine it was not destroyed by Louis XIV in late 1600’s during the war of War of the Palatine Succession.




Burg Stalheck


Burg Stalheck


Pflazgrafstein – A river toll castle, where a chain was stretched across the Rhine and toll was payable.




And more castles –  There are may many more and we do have pictures of some of them, but this should give you an idea – each river bend has a  small village or with with a castle looming on the hill above…


another castle.


The River Cruise – Koblenz and Marksburg (castle)


Festung Ehrenbreitstein

Festung Ehrenbreitstein

Koblenz lies at the confluence of the Rhine, Moselle and the Lahn rives. This is where the Romans took over an ancient hill fort on the Festung Ehrenbreitstein hill which overlooks the confluence of the Rhine and  Moselle from the eastern bank of the river. A stone Roman bridge over the Rhine was also located here, until its destruction by the Franks in 259AD.

In dark ages this area was part of the Charlemagne’s empire and then after the breakup   of the Emprire part of ‘Lotharingia’ in mid 800’s. In 1018, the city was given by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II to the Archbishop and Prince- Elector of Trier. It remained in the possession of the bishops of Trier until the end of the 18th century, having been their main residence since the 17th century. After French revolution, the French occupied the city, before being drive out in 1814 by the Russians and Prussians. It was in Prussian  and then German hands sine 1822.

The fortifications on the Festung Ehrenbreitstein hill have been seen as of strategic importance in control of the Rhine and Moselle, so the fortifications have enlarged and improved by successive governments, including the Prince-elector bishops of Trier, the Prussians, the Russians and most recently, after 1945, the American Army.




A short distance south of Koblenz, on a high peak overlooking the town of Braubach sits the Marksburg fortress. It is the only medieval castle of the

Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed. The castle was built around 1120 and then  passed between various noble families, who enlarged and improved it.  Since 1900 the castle belongs to the German Castle Association, and serves as the head office of the association since 1930.  Currently it is a museum open to public.

Views from the castle are fantastic.