Ehrenfels Castle (Burg Ehrenfels)is situated half way up the eastern hill of the Rhine valley, about 5 kilometers from Rüdesheim and opposite Bingen. This is one of the narrowest sections of the Rhine and hence ideal for the levying of tolls.
A conflict between between Philipp von Schwaben and Otto the son of Heinrich des Löwen regarding the crown of the Holy Roman Empire led to the building of the castle which was commenced in 1211.
About the middle of the 13th century it started to function as a toll station.
In the 14th century the Mice Tower was built on an island in the river directly opposite Burg Ehrenfels to reinforce toll collecting.
During the 30 years war (1618-1648) the castle was besieged several times and also occupied by the various parties.
The castle was finally destroyed in 1689 in the course of the Pfälzische inheritance conflict. Some of the outer walls were later removed to make way for vineyards.
The castle now belongs to the state(province) Hessen. Work was started in the 1990s to secure and stabalise the existing structure.
The castle can be reached from Rüdesheim via a beautiful walk (of about one hour twenty minutes) through the vineyards
that affords wonderful views of the Rhine below and of the statue Germania above.
Here are some photos taken on a walk to Ehrenfels castle looking down on the Rhine and up to Germania.
Here is also a close-up of the castle.
As you will see in the photo access to the castle is at the moment barred while the structure is being stabalised.