Fascinating world of castles

High above the Saar and Mosel, the castles tower like stone sentinels. You can reach them on foot via steep vineyards with ancient dry stone walls. Flora and fauna have conquered walls where noble dynasties once ruled.

Once you have reached the summit, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the river valley and the neighbouring peaks. Times were not always as peaceful as they are today, and people sought shelter underneath the fortresses. The knights who owned them served powerful kings and prince-bishops. Some were heavily involved in the European politics of the time. Even today, famous names remind us that some of the richest farms were owned by wealthy monasteries.

What was once a patchwork of wealth, power and vanity is now just beautiful.


Fortress knowledge at a glance...

  • 476

    Fall of the Western Roman Empire. Trier becomes Franconian. Roman buildings are converted or used as quarries. Today's dialect “Moselfränkisch/Mosel-Franconian” dates back to the Franks.

  • 768-814

    Charlemagne reigns as King of the Franks. “Knights” at this time are still free mounted warriors undertaking military service.

  • 900-1000

    The actual knighthood emerges and the first castles are built.


  • 964

    First documentary mention of Saarburg as one of the oldest hilltop castles in western Germany.

  • 1095

    The Crusades begin.

  • 14th century

    For the wealthy knightly nobility, military service is becoming increasingly unattractive. Mercenaries take their place. People prefer to devote themselves to tasks that, at the time, bring more social prestige and make more economic sense. Such tasks included the expansion of possessions.

  • 14th/15th century

    New fighting techniques are making life increasingly difficult for the armies of knights. King John of Bohemia falls in 1346 (the so-called “Last Knight”).

  • Circa 1700

    By this time at the latest, most of the castles had been destroyed, mainly by Louis XIV's War of the Palatinate Succession.

  • Circa 1900

    Reconstruction of some castles by wealthy private citizens, such as the Imperial Castle of Cochem, Arras Castle and Thurant Castle.

These castles will conquer you!

Well-known castles such as the medieval Saarburg, Landshut Castle at Bernkastel-Kues, which was built from a large Roman fort, and Arras Castle near Alf, which is well hidden from enemies in the forest, are enthroned high above the Mosel and Saar.

These and many castles and castle ruins are all worth a visit.

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