Marksburg as the only undamaged hilltop castle in the Middle Rhine Valley. In the early 12th century records mention the Noble Freemen of Brubach (who probably built the lower part of the keep around 1117), even though the castle itself is first referred to in 1231. The Lords of Eppstein built the Romanesque castle complex with its triangular layout, characteristic of the Staufer era. The Eppsteins were amongst the most powerful families at that time; four of them were archbishops and electors of Mainz, and one of them held the same position in Trier.
The castle was bought by Count Eberhard II of Katzenelnbogen (1283). These counts belonged to one of the wealthiest lineages in the Rhineland - one of the countesses of Katzenelnbogen was the mother of King Adolf of Nassau. The counts of Katzenelnbogen built the Gothic part of Marksburg Castle, giving it its striking form. When the last Count of Katzenelnbogen died in 1479, the castle passed to the Landgraves of Hesse, through the marriage of the heiress Anna to Heinrich of Hesse. Marksburg Castle was turned into a hill fortress with artillery batteries and ramparts (this work mainly carried by John 'the Belligerent').
When the old German empire broke up in 1803 the castle passed into the hands of the Duchy of Nassau. During this period our castle was only used as a home for disabled soldiers and as a state prison. As a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 the castle was taken over by Prussia. Now it was used as apartments, but it was in danger of falling into decay because the administration did not seem to have done much against it.
In the year 1900, with the help of Kaiser WilheIm II, theGerman Castles Association was able to purchase the Marksburg for the symbolic price of 1,000 Gold Marks. This was done on the initiative of professor Bodo Ebhardt, privy court planner and architect in Berlin, who carried out extensive restoration of the castle.
Today this castle houses the headquarters and offices of the German Castles Association (DBV), whose main task is the protection and preservation of castles and stately homes. The association's impressive specialist library, comprising over 25,000 volumes plus records on castle history is now housed in the Philippsburg, also located in Braubach. The castle is open to the public around the year.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.