The Late Gothic Eagle Tower was built in the 15th century as a part of the Rüdesheim city fortification. It is 20,5 m high with a 5 m interior diameter, 1 m thick walls, four floors and an underground dungeon accessible only through a hole in the vaulted ceiling. It was located close to the river. In winter, when the frozen up Rhine was safe for crossing on foot, a basket with combustible material was put on the tower as a fire signal. In the 19th century, when the Adlerturm housed an inn called “Zum Adler” (In the Eagle), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s greatest poet and literary man, frequently stayed here during his Rüdesheim visits in order to enjoy the magnificent view of the Rhine. Today the Adlerturm is the property of a bank.

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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

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Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

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