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 probably rectangular, medieval castle guarded by round corner towers. Until the 16th century it was a fief of the lords of Rollingen (hereditary marshals of Luxembourg) to the lords of Bübingen. Then it passed to the ownership of the lords of Musiel, where it remained until the end of the 19th century. It had become decrepit by the end of the 15th century, and was rebuilt in 1536 by the new owner apart from two towers and a part of the defensive wall. In 1800, it was rebuilt by the owning family into more of a stately home and the old defensive buildings were turned into garden terraces.
One of the two towers left after the 16th century renovations, the round tower at the south-eastern corner was destroyed by bombardment in 1945. The second, a rectangular tower that used to be inhabitable, is now a gate tower.
Due to the rebuilding and renovation work carried over hundreds of years, the castle now shows characteristics of the architectural styles of the Middle Ages, through to the Renaissance, Baroque and Empire styles.
Schloss Thorn is still in use as a residence today, owned by the Barons von Hobe-Gelting. The wine is produced from the surrounding vineyards, which have been family-owned since 1534. It is the oldest castle vineyard on the Moselle and also has the only preserved tree wine press of Europe.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.