Rheinfels Castle (Burg Rheinfels) is in many ways one of the most fascinating castles/ruins in the Rhine valley – the size alone is impressive and it has that special mixture of preservation and decay that imparts a sense of history but also provides many intact features that help make the past come to life.
It was built in 1245 and one of its original tasks was to collect customs from passing ships.
Anger at the levying of customs dues led to an unsuccessful siege – which gained the castle for a while the reputation of being unconquerable . During the 12th century the castle was extended and the main tower (54meters) was then the highest of any German castle.
During the 30 year war a dispute regarding who was the rightful heir led to a siege in 1626 which resulted in the castle being taken and so losing its invincibility status.
In 1692 the castle was attacked by French troops . Two attacks were made resulting in the loss of over 4500 lives on both sides but on the approach of a relieving army the French withdrew.
Another attack took place in 1734 resulting in the castle being handed over to Hessen-Kassel.
In the 7-year war (1756-1763) the castle was surrendered to French troops and during the French occupation of the Rheinland the outer walls were destroyed in 1796 and the proud tower in 1797.
Since 1925 the castle has been owned by the town of St. Goar and recently some restoration work has been done.
Since 1973 the castle also functions as an hotel – “Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels”.