Tanstein Castle is one of the three castles at Dahn; the others being Altdahn and Grafendahn. Although the three castles are sited next to one another on a hill ridge, they were not built at the same time.
Tanstein is the oldest of the three castles in the group. An 1127 document refers to an Anshelmus de Tannicka as the owner or governor; as a result the castle was probably built in the early 12th century. In 1189, in a deed by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, a Henry von der Than is mentioned and the castle designated as an immediate imperial fief. In the period that followed, Ulrich of Dahn and Conrad of Dahn are named as imperial ministeriales. In 1328 the castle became a fief of the bishops of Speyer. Until 1464 there were frequent changes of ownership, which suggests that the fief was still not inheritable during this phase, but was always re-enfeoffed.
In 1512 Frederick of Dahn purchased the castle. Because he was an ally of the knight, Franz von Sickingen, he was involved in his battles against the imperial princes in southwest Germany. After Sickingen's defeat and death in 1523, Tanstein, too, fell into the hands of the victors. Its occupation by troops of the Archbishop of Trier lasted until 1544 and probably led to irreparable damage to the structure of the castle, because it was finally abandoned in 1585. In 1689, at the start of the War of the Palatine Succession, the French completely destroyed the ruins.
Tanstein Castle is located on the two westernmost rock outcrops of the Dahn castle cluster. Both were originally linked by a bridge. On the rocks today are modern parapet walls that have been rather arbitrarily added and do not give any real idea of the old castle buildings. On the western rock outcrop there were apparently domestic-like buildings, that were built against the rocks. This is evinced by putlock holes and other marks on the rocks as well as a large cistern, in which water from the roofs was gathered and stored.
The lower ward on the southern rock outcrop still shows traces of the original walls dating to the 15th century. These include the ruins of a smithy and a smelting furnace.References:
Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.
The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.