The ever so dramatic, romantic, and untouched castle situated in Braubach is known as Marksburg Castle or more often, the Marksburg. It is significant within history not only because of its long lying history but also because of the fact that it is the only castle on the Middle Rhine that has lived and told the story without destruction becoming it. It steeps over the town of Braubach and sits ever so powerfully on the solemn banks of the River Rhine.
Because it has escaped such treacherous destruction in its life, it is sometimes referred to as the untouched miracle castle, and it is no struggle to see why. Obviously, its history is entwined into that given name, but it is also the most perfectly eloquent name possible for the wonderful castle. It seems as if Marksburg Castle is the greatest example of an impenetrable castle and in its best times, it withstood far more than other castles ever had to. Let’s dive into this twisting tale and explore the untouched miracle castle, also known as Marksburg Castle.
The history of Marksburg Castle
In this article, we will be taking a winding and intriguing journey through the ever so beautiful and miracle-like Marksburg Castle which sits upon an interesting 80- year long history. This 11th-century middle-aged fortress was never used as a royal residence; however, its construction was for a specific purpose which was to protect the little town of Braubach. While this castle does have a great history and a wonderful miracle story, its history hasn’t been quite as turbulent as its neighbouring castles, some of which were destroyed.
The rich history settled within the walls is one of extreme valour and strength, so stick around as we take a deep look into the untouched miracle also known as Marksburg Castle.
The early history
Marksburg Castle is said to be one of only two castles out of the 40 built that remained untouched throughout all of its years and is also the only known one that never fell into despair. In 1100, the middle ages, the spot where Marksburg Castle would soon stand, a stone keep was built by the Eppstein family. Then, later on in 1117, that stone keep was expanded into what would later be known as the stunning Marksburg Castle.
The castle was built with the town’s protection and safety in mind, so it was never used for royal accommodation, more so as just a form of protection for the lovely town of Braubach. Funnily enough, there are a range of names for Marksburg Castle, one being its original name which was Burg Braubach. It is quite extraordinary that after 800 years, the castle is standing just as powerful as it used to and despite all the turbulence in the world, it remains strong.
House of Eppstein
House of Eppstein was one of the wealthiest and most powerful families of the period. Though they may have done many undesirable things in their time to become so powerful, they are the people who need to be commended for the amazing architectural sight which is Marksburg Castle. The Eppsteins were a very well-regarded family and their power was certainly no lie with a large number of family members becoming archbishops in Mainz and Trier.
In 1135, the Archbishop of Mainz, also a member of the House of Eppstein, was given half of the town of Braubach and the castle by a Count of Gruningen. The castle was a great form of income as it generated a wealthy amount of revenue from the collection of taxes from people travelling on the River Rhine. That is why it was considered such a substantial key possession.
The Lord of Eppstein’s daughter died in 1283, and the castle was once again available to be purchased. Eberhard von Katzenelnbogen, also known as Count Eberhard soon after purchased the castle from the Lords of Eppstein. Throughout the 14th and 15th century, the various counts of Katzenelnbogen spent countless amounts of time and money restoring the castle and making significant improvements. It remained in the Katzenelnbogen family for many years right up until 1479.
Soon after, the male lines of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen had become extinct. The territories were then given to the Count of Hesse who then worked hard to expand the castle. He then proceeded to add the round towers, curtain walls, and space for artillery.
The 19th and 20th century
In 1806, the castle finally saw some action within its walls. The French emperor, Napoleon, had seized and then abolished the entirety of the Holy Roman Empire. Napoleon gave Marksburg Castle to the Duke of Nassau who was his well-known ally at the time.
Once he had gained power, he then used the castle as a prison and a home for all of the disabled soldiers. In 1866, after the Austro-Prussian War, the Duchy of Nassau became a territory of Prussia which soon took ownership of Marksburg Castle. Though that wasn’t the last of Marksburg Castle.
In the 1900s, the castle was sold for the grand price of 1000 Goldmark’s to the German Castle Association which had been founded the year before strictly to preserve German castles. For many years now, since 1931, the castle has remained as the head office of the organisation. In 1945, a very dark time arose for the castle when it came under fire by the American forces who were trying to fight against Nazi’s who had taken refuge within the castle’s walls.
The castle was very lucky and able to stand up against it and only received very minor damage.
The present day
In present times, you are now able to visit Marksburg Castle as it has become a great tourist attraction, forever known for remaining untouched during the middle ages. You can find this illustrious castle in the beautiful town of Braubach, just south of Koblenz. When you see where the castle is located, it can seem as if it is completely inaccessible, but in reality, it is quite easy to access.
It is only made to look inaccessible. Most of the other castles lining the River Rhine have been reduced to ruin, and some are no longer there, however, it makes for an interesting day of travel. Something to keep in mind is that you are unable to freely visit and roam the castle and its grounds, you are only able to visit under a guided tour which is around an hour long.
The tours are done in German; however, you are given easily understandable audiobooks which help you understand the ever so beautiful Marksburg Castle. These tours offer an awesome and rare glimpse into this amazingly preserved and cared for castle that you wouldn’t be able to see any other time. It also gives you a great look into the history of the castle and even works to take you back in time so you can understand how it may have looked and felt to be alive many years ago.
The tour begins in one of the oldest parts of the castle, the stone keep, which dates way back to the 12th century. Further touring of the castle also proves that no form of torture was ever used within the castle walls so that every handover was done promptly and without any battle or belligerence. This is particularly amazing considering the fact that it was a prison at one point and torture is very prevalent in every other castle built or used during the middle ages. No matter who you are, or where you are from, taking a look at the beautiful Marksburg Castle is a fantastic experience that absolutely anyone can benefit from.
You can read about other German castles here.