Castles in the Neckar Valley

Heinsheim Castle

Heinsheim castle complex has been privately owned by the family von Racknitz since ca. 1720. The main building was erected in the early 18th century, wings and further farm buildings were added in the course of the centuries. It was first mentioned in 1180 in connection with their ancestral seat, Perneck Castle in Styria; in ca. 1720 the family von Racknitz gained the rule of Heinsheim, and in 1727 they acquired all perti ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Bad Rappenau, Germany

Dauchstein Castle Ruins

Dauchstein castle was built in 1030 as a toll station for the Hohenstaufen family. As the castle was no longer used after the construction of the new residential castle, it was left to decay. Today the tower exists, other buildings are in ruins.
Founded: 1030 | Location: Binau, Germany

Neuburg Castle

Neuburg Castle was constructed around 1290 to the site of earlier castle owned by the Mosbach Abbey. The main building was reconstructed in 1500-1619 by the lords of Rossau. In 1945 the state of Baden-Württemberg took over the castle. For several years, it served as a refugee camp. Since 2001 Neuburg has been a hotel.
Founded: 1290 | Location: Obrigheim, Germany

Ehrenberg Castle

Ehrenberg Castle dates from the early 12th century when it was built by the Counts of Lauffen. The oldest part of the wall around the main castle. The building of the main castle date from the 12th and 13th centuries. To existing keep dates from 1235. The castle was ruined in the Thirty Years" War. The new residential and farm buildings have been built in the 17th and 18th century. Today Ehrenberg is privately owned ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bad Rappenau, Germany

Engelburg Castle Ruins

The remains of the Engelburg castle was probably built in 1260-1280 to the site of 8th century hill fort. The castle was destroyed in 1312 in the war between the Emperor and city states. From the former castle only foundations can be seen.
Founded: 1260-1280 | Location: Mühlhausen, Germany

Reichenstein Castle Ruins

The Reichenstein castle was built in 12th century at the northern end of the Hollmuth hill. In the 14th century it was acquired by the Palatinate but only one century later it was abandoned. On a 17th century engraving by Merian the castle is depicted as a ruin. Today, only some wall fragments are left. The castle complex has an almost rectangular grouned plan; it is saperated from the hill by a moat. The terracing was do ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neckargemünd, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.