River Castles Tour  In Depth

Research – Links to More Detailed Information

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There's no need to do homework ahead of time to enjoy this tour, but if you are interested in more background
than is provided in the day-by-day itinerary these links will guide you to more detailed information.

 

 
The Rhine
   
Marksburg

The Rhine River

The Rhine, at 1,320 km (820 miles) long, is one of the longest rivers in Europe, and has been important as a commercial waterway for at least 2,000 years.  The many castles along its banks established control over portions of the river primarily for the purpose of collecting tolls.

 

Rudesheim am Rhein

Rudesheim (Rüdesheim / Ruedesheim) is located on the east bank of the Rhine at the southern entrance to the Loreley valley.

 

Rheinfels Castle

Rheinfels Castle above St. Goar bills itself as "for 500 years the largest and most imposing castle on the Rhine".  Much of the castle was converted to ruins in 1794, but the remains still impress all who tour the site.

 

Marksburg Castle

Marksburg Castle, on a hill high above Braubach, has survived for over 700 years and is the only hill castle on the Rhine that has never been destroyed.  Visits here make the river control and defensive functions of these castles very clear.

 

Koblenz

The Moselle River joins the Rhine in what is now the city of Koblenz, at what is known as the German Corner.  The strategic importance of this location was recognized as early as 1000 BC.

 

Fortress Ehrenbreitstein

Ehrenbreitstein is a mammoth fortification guarding the intersection of the Moselle and the Rhine from a mountain top opposite Koblenz, with a history stretching from BC to WW II.

 

Remagen Peace Museum

The Peace Museum at Remagen is located in the only surviving tower of the former railway bridge which fell into the American hands almost intact on March 7, 1945, but collapsed ten days later under the weight of armoured vehicles.

 

Cologne

Cologne (Köln or Koeln in German, sometimes Koln on the net) is Germany's fourth-largest city (1 million) and one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in 30 BC.

 

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, which dates from 1248, is one of the world's largest churches, and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe.  UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 
 
The Moselle
   
Burg Eltz

The Moselle River

The Moselle River originates in France and flows through Luxembourg and western Germany on its way to merging with the Rhine at Koblenz.  Like the Rhine, it has become famous for its natural beauty and its productive vineyards.

 

Burg Eltz (Wiki)

Burg Eltz is a medieval castle dating back over 850 years on a uniquely picturesque site in the hills above a tributary to the Moselle.

 

Burg Eltz Site

Website of Burg Eltz, still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century.

 

Cochem

Picturesque town on the Moselle, dominated by Cochem Castle (optional visit during lunch break).

 

Trier

Trier on the Moselle was founded in or before 16 BC, and still retains constructions and ruins from the Roman era.  It is the oldest seat of a Catholic bishop north of the Alps, and today the home of several major religious institutions, both Catholic and Protestant.

 

Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra is a large Roman city gate in Trier, today the largest remaining one north of the Alps and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 
 
The Neckar, Tauber and Main Rivers
Heidelberg

Heidelberg

The city of Heidelberg is located on the Neckar River just up stream from where it joins the Rhine.  Heidelberg is famous for its distinguished university, its high quality printing presses, and the mammoth Heidelberg Castle complex.

 

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberger Schloss dominates the city, dates back to 1225, and has had an eventful history of repeated destruction and rebuilding.

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small and remarkably well-preserved medieval town, complete with town walls and gates and its historic town center, overlooking the Tauber River, a tributary of the Main.

 

Wurzburg

Wurzburg (Würzburg or Wuerzburg in German) is a city of about 135,000 on the Main River with centuries of turbulent history as a church headquarters location.  Although about 85% of the city was destroyed by bombing towards the end of WW II, many of the building of historic significance have been restored or replicated.

 

Wurzburg Residence

The vast Wurzburg Residenz and Court Gardens complex, commissioned by two Prince-Bishops to demonstrate their power and wealth, was constructed between 1720 and 1744.  During the 1700s other Prince-Bishops added to the complex and embellished its outfitting with the works of the most prominent European artists of the day.  UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 
    

UNESCO World Heritage

UNESCO website listing World Heritage properties by country and providing background on selection criteria and processes.

 

 

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