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 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. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.