The exact building year of Stahleck castle is not known, but it has been proved that the castle was already occupied since the year 1095. It's first mentioned in documents in the year 1135 under Goswin von Hochstadt. Until 1148 almost 10 years of fight followed for the rights of the Stahleck.
In the year 1156, after the death of Hermann of Stahleck, his stepbrother Konrad von Hohenstaufen became count palatine of Bacharach on the Rhine river. The town of Bacharach, which is situated on the castle mountain, became center and residence of the originating palatine territory on the Rhine river. Castle Stahleck, which was originally the most farthest southern situated property of the Cologne bishops, was assigned from the emporer Barbarossa to his brother Konrad in the year 1190.
In the Thirty Years' War, in year 1644, as the Catholic party banished the French out of the town with 250 cavalries and 450 Cologne foot soldiers, these fled into the castle Stahleck. Colonel of Nievernheimb, commander on the fortress Ehrenbreitstein, let the castle Stahleck near Bacharach at the Rhine river thereupon be fired at without occupying it. Th restoration was made in 1666 by the elector count palatine Carl Ludwig.
Between January and May 1689 the Stahleck castle was exploded by the french troops from Ludwig XIV. 237 years it was in a ruins, until the crown prince of Preußen bought the area in 1828. Rhine river society accomplished restoration work in 1909 and 1910.
Starting at the end of 1965 until May 20, 1967, the youth hostel was further constructed on the castle Stahleck. Thereby the in the substructure still original roman Bergfried of the castle Stahleck with abated wall strength was newly roofed and furnished with new walls. Today it expresses the picture of a medieval castle with different construction phases and is one of the most well-known youth hostels.References:
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.
Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.
In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.
There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.
At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.
At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.