Located in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the Rheinstein Castle is one of the most iconic medieval constructions in Germany. It’s a structure that has seen a lot over time.
From its initial construction by the Archbishop of Mainz to its reconstruction by the Prince Frederick of Prussia, this castle has withstood the tests of time with grace. Today, it is a lexicon of 19th century Romanticism and one of the most beautiful tourist attractions of the Rhine valley.
Table of Contents
- 1 Frequently Asked Questions
- 2 Early History
- 3 Current Times
- 4 Interesting Rheinstein Castle Facts
- 5 Visiting Rheinstein Castle – Tips and Tricks
There is a 500-year-old grape vine in the courtyard of the Rheinstein castle that still produces grapes. This courtyard has been popularized by the name of “Burgunder-Garden”, after the grape vine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Rheinstein Castle Located?
The Rheinstein Castle is located on the east-facing slope of the Bingen Forest – a low mountain range that is located in the Central Uplands of Germany. It has the Rhineland-Palatinate municipality at its foot. It faces the Assmannshausen village (located directly opposite of the castle) and offers an incredible view of the Rhine River.
When was Rheinstein Castle Built? Who Build It?
There’s conflicting information on the origins of the Rheinstein castle that catapults between the fact that it was first built in 1282 by the Roman Emperor Rudolph von Habsburg to secure the land against knight robbers. Other sources say that it was constructed by the Archbishop of Mainz for similar reasons.
When is The Best Time to Visit the Castle?
The best time to visit castle Rheinstein is during spring and summer, so anywhere between March to August is fine.
What Other Monuments are Located Nearby?
The village of Assmannshausen is direct across from the Rheinstein castle, so the adjoining chairlift is definitely a good landmark to visit as well. There’s also the Niederwald Monument, which is located near the Rhine River.
FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS
Origin Story 1: Construction By Roman Emperor Rudolph (1282-1286)
According to some sources, the Rheinstein Castle was built by the Holy Roman Emperor known as Rudolph von Habsburg. The initial construction period lasted from 1282 to 1286.
It was a residential castle that was also built to secure the territory against robber knights – the reason that it had an “integrated shield wall.” In fact, it was inside this castle that Rudolph used to pass judgment on the captured knights. It was later leased to the Archbishops of Mainz by Rudolph l.
Origin Story 2: Archbishop Mainz (14th to 17th century)
According to this version, sources say that the Rheinstein Castle was built by the first Archbishop of Mainz to stave off robber knights from the land. From the Count of Bucheck, Matthias in 1323 to Diether of Isenburg in 1459, the castle was passed through generations of Archbishops. Sometimes, they even used to reside there outside of any religious or official duties.
The ownership of the castle was eventually transferred to Anton Wiltberg, who was initially the custodian of the Mainz cathedral. However, his inability to maintain the castle in good shape led to the architecture’s decline. Wiltberg continued to stay there until his death.
Reconstruction & Romantist Makeover (1823 onward)
The Rheinstein castle was purchased by Prince Frederick Wilhelm Ludwig of Prussia in 1823. He was the nephew of King Frederick William lll and was enthralled by the medieval construction and magnificence of the castle. Prince Frederick renamed the castle “Burg Rheinstein” because of its rocky cliffside location. He also commissioned the renovation to the renowned castle builder Claudius Lassaulux, but it was his pupil Wilhelm Kuhn who finalized the current look of the castle. The reconstruction of the castle stretched until the year 1829, and included feedback from Prussian architect and city planner Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
It was on the behest of Prince Frederick that the castle was extended to include a summer house in 1825, and he left no stone unturned in realizing his love for medieval architecture within Rheinstein’s renovation. He also had the interior sumptuously furnished – he installed gorgeous stained-glass windows, stunning furniture, and even featured a weapons display.
The quality craftsmanship can still be appreciated today in the form of historicized tiles, elaborate doors, and wall paneling. It was under the Prince’s guidance that Rheinstein was to be “romanticized”, and it was the first castle of the 19th century to be done in such a way.
As one of Prince Frederick’s favorite residences, Rheinstein castle has housed many prominent guests such as Queen Victoria over the course of its tenureship under the prince. The last Prussian royal to have owned this castle was the Duchess of Mecklenburg, after which it was purchased by the Hecher family and still remains in their possession.
Revisit More Historic Places Below or Read Further
Today, the Rheinstein Castle is a gorgeous tourist attraction and houses apartments, restaurants, a gift shop, and even a museum for visitors to explore. Its inside is a reflection of aristocratic Prussion tastes and culture. The “Knight’s Hall” is the most impressive of them all with its stunning stained-glass windows and 3D paintings. It’s an incredible place to explore if you’re interested in the history and architecture of that time.
Perhaps one of the most interesting additions to the castle includes the landscape park that was part of the 19th-century romantic reconstruction. It consists of a steep path that meanders from the banks of the River Rhine and leads up to the castle. There’s even an artificial stream with waterfalls along the way, and visitors can sit and rest on benches installed along the pathway.
Interesting Rheinstein Castle Facts
- Prince Frederick had the walls and ceilings of the castle’s living rooms painted by the Düsseldorf painter Ludwig Poser. The illustrations consist of “illusionistic tracery.”
- The castle still houses antique furniture whose origins can be traced back to the 17th and 19th centuries respectively. It’s also furnished with 15th century armory and décor.
- The Rheinstein castle was Prince Frederick’s favorite residence and he wanted to be buried there. So he had a chapel built at the south of the castle, which is designed in neo-gothic elements. It resides on a high sub-structure and features beautiful details like an arched doorway, roof finials, dragon-shaped gargoyles, and more.
- The basement of the Rheinstein chapel is actually a crypt that is the resting place for the coffins of prince Frederick, his wife, and son. There’s a staircase outside where visitors can have a view of the crypt from a window.
- Rheinstein castle still has a working drawbridge and portcullis, which are both part of its medieval heritage.
- There is a 500-year-old grape vine in the courtyard of the Rheinstein castle that still produces grapes. This courtyard has been popularized by the name of “Burgunder-Garden”, after the grape vine.
Visiting Rheinstein Castle – Tips and Tricks
Planning on visiting the Rheinstein castle? Here’s some information that will make things easier:
How to get to Rheinstein Castle?
You’ll first have to get to the city of Koblenz to visit B57urg Rheinstein. From there, you can either take a train, a taxi, or drive by yourself all the way to the castle.
Taking the train via Trechtingshausen might cost you anywhere between $11-$17 USD. A taxi might cost you somewhere between $200-$250 USD while driving down on your own car will cost you anywhere between $10-$15 USD.
Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips
The Rheinstein Castle is open daily from 10am to 6pm. The last entry time is 5pm and the management regulates visitor data with the “LUCA APP” – which is mandatory to install beforehand.
The museum opens from March 15th to November 1st all day, everyday. In winter, you can only visit it on the weekend.
As for the ticket pricing, it’s €7 ($9 USD) for adults, €3.50 ($5 USD) for children, and €20 ($25 USD) for a family of 2 adults and children under 14. The management also offers group prices. A group of 15 people (or larger) can have a ticket starting at €6 ($8 USD) per pupil. The price of admission for school tours is €3.50 ($5 USD) per pupil.
How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?
An unguided tour of the castle can take around 45 minutes at a minimum, but it could be more if you’re a history buff who loves exploring. You can even buy a €3.00 ($4 USD) guidebook from the castle’s museum shop. The visiting time for the museum is allocated to 60 minutes for large groups.
Some words of advice and tips:
- There’s an opening on the left of the main courtyard where you can get an impressive view of the Rhine River. It’s an excellent place to relax with great scenery.
- If you’re a history buff, then don’t forget to see the wood carving of Jesus at the Last Supper at the altar of the chapel.
- If you want a memorable souvenir, then the gift shop offers miniature handmade treasure chests that are made out of wood.
- The Rheinstein castle restaurant has a popular “flammkuchen” (basically a coffee), which you should definitely try!