Castles in the Moselle Valley

Eltz Castle

Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz) is surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River, a tributary on the north side of the Moselle. It is situated on a 70m rock spur, on an important Roman trade route between rich farmlands and their markets. It is still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago. The Rübenach and Rodendorf families' homes in the castle are open to the public, whil ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Wierschem, Germany

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries. In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should ...
Founded: 1100 | Location: Cochem, Germany

Château des ducs de Lorraine

The Château des ducs de Lorraine (Castle of Dukes of Lorraine or Sierck Castle) may have been a Gallo-Roman fort, but the first historical document of the castle date from 1067. However there is probably nothing left of this first castle. The current castle was built by the archbishop of Trier in the 15th century. French army conquered it in the 17th century and since 1661 it became part of the reign of France. The ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Sierck-les-Bains, France

Landshut Castle Ruins

The ruins of Landshut Castle loom over Bernkastel. Archbishop Heinrich von Vinstingen and his successor, Boemund, are said to be responsible for the construction of the castle in 1277. They were the ones who gave the castle its name, 'Landshut', which it is still known by today. The castle, along with all of its treasures, was destroyed by a fire in 1692. However, it is still possible to climb the castle tower. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

Metternich Castle Ruins

Burg Metternich was mentioned in documents first time 1268, when it was owned by Johann von Braunshorn. The castle was not damaged badly before 1689. French army destroyed Metternich castle and it was never completely rebuilt. Today there is a hotel and restaurant.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Beilstein, Germany

Thurant Castle

Thurant Castle (Burg Thurant) was built in 1198-1206 by Heinrich Pfalgraf Guelphs. It was besieged in 1246-1248 during the war between Trier and Cologne archbishops. After the war the castle was interestingly divided to two parts, Trier tower and Cologne Tower. Both sides had a separate entrance and living buildings. In the 19th century the castle was left to decay, but restored in the 20th century.
Founded: 1198-1206 | Location: Alken, Germany

Grevenburg Castle Ruins

Grevenburg castle was built in 1350 by Count Johann III of Sponheim-Starkenburg and replaced Castle Starkenburg as the residence of the Rear County of Sponheim. With the extinction of the ruling male line of the Rhenish branch of the House of Sponheim in 1437 the castle became seat of the bailiff of the new Counts to Sponheim. In 1680 it was conquered by Louis XIV of France and was extended, together with the fort of Mon ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Traben-Trarbach, Germany

Ehrenburg Castle

Ehrenburg Castle was built on a promontory in the Ehrbach valley (Ehrbachtal), a tributary valley of the Mosel. It was once used as the fortified centre of a small reign between Mosel and Rhine. Today it is a cultural monument (Kulturdenkmal) with a variety of events. The oldest, still preserved part of this castle is the remains of a steady house, a rectangular residential tower. It is assumed that the construction work, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Brodenbach, Germany

Pyrmont Castle

Burg Pyrmont was built in the late 12th century by Kuno von Schönburg. It was first time mentioned in document dating from 1225. Waldbott Bassenheim family restored the castle in 1712, but it was partially demolished during the French occupation in the tide of 18th and 19th centuries. The last restoration was made in 1912. Today Pyrmont castle is open to the public.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Roes, Germany

Arras Castle

Burg Arras is located to the site of ancient Roman hill fort. It was first time mentioned in 1120, but probably built around 936 (the dungeon dates from that time). The castle has been owned by Palatine counts and bishop of Trier. It was destroyed by French army in the late 17th century and rebuilt in the 20th century. Today Burg Arras is a hotel and restaurant.
Founded: c. 936 AD | Location: Alf, Germany

Schloss Lieser

Schloss Lieser (Lieser castle) was created on the site of a 1710-built church property. Today's castle was designed by the architect Heinrich Theodor Schmidt in 1884–1887 as the residence for the family of the winery owner Eduard Puricelli. Eduard Puricelli founded and led several gas industries, including in Trier and also in the Rheinböller hut. In 1895/1904-1906 the castle was extended when Maria and Dr Clemens Frei ...
Founded: 1884 | Location: Lieser, Germany

Wintrange Castle

Wintrange Castle built around 1610 by Alexandre de Musset, the Lord of Foetz. The main building with its four towers still stands today. Fortifications and a gunport were added as defences during the Thirty Years" War (1618-1648). The barn with a fifth tower was added in the 18th century. In 1938, the industrialist Nick Schlesser bought the property. The castle was badly damaged in the 1940s when it was used by the G ...
Founded: 1610 | Location: Wintrange, Luxembourg

Liebieg Castle

Liebieg Castle was built by knight Marsilius Gondorf around 1255-1272. Between 1493-1762 it was owned by Eifel family. The current appearance dates mainly from the restoration made in 1859-1960.
Founded: 1859-1960 | Location: Kobern-Gondorf, Germany

Bischofstein Castle

Folk tales and old Moselle-area historiographies allege that Burg Bischofstein began as the palace for the Holy Bishop Nicetius (527-566). The current Bischofstein castle was probably built in 1270. Archbishop Arnold II. Heinrich von Bolanden bought the half-completed Burg and paid for the rest of the construction himself in 1273. It is said that in 1552 Markgraf Albrecht von Brandenburg attempted, without success, to be ...
Founded: 1270 | Location: Burgen, Germany

Thorn Castle

Schloss Thorn is a former castle, that has been turned into a stately home. The history of the castle dates from the ancient times. Due to the existence of a ford here, the Romans built a guard tower on a protruding rock here to protect and observe the crossing. This tower would give the later medieval castle its name, the Latin 'turris' meaning 'tower'. Schloss Thorn was built on the ruins of the pro ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Schloß Thorn, Germany

Wild Castle

Castle Wild (Wildburg) lies southern behind the Castle Treis. It was built in the 13th or 14th century, probably as protection of the southern side of the castle Treis. In the fifties it was restored and made fit to live in. Back then, the northern situated, almost square, donjon was repaired and received a new roof. The great hall and other outbuildings were also rebuilt. Other buildings and the circular wall are just ru ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Treis, Germany

Treis Castle Ruins

Castle Treis (Treisburg) ruins is situated 70 m high on a promontory and is flowed around by the streams Flaumbach and Dünnbach, both coming down from the Hunsrueck. The exact date of building is unknown. This castle was maybe built in the second half of the 11th century. Today’s appearance is dominated by the mighty restored square-tower. Additionally, there are remains of other buildings of the circular wall ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Treis-Karden, Germany

Stadtbredimus Castle

Stadtbredimus Castle has a history going back to the 13th century when a fortified castle stood on the site. In 1724, today"s castle was built on the ruins of the old fort and, after some questionable restoration work, was bought by the la Fontaine family in 1802. Luxembourg"s national poet, Edmond de la Fontaine, better known as Dicks, lived in the castle from 1858 to 1881. The castle is now the headquarters o ...
Founded: 1724 | Location: Bech-Kleinmacher, Luxembourg

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.

In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.

The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.

The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.

The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).

Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.

Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.

The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.