The section of the Rhine River between Rudesheim and Koblenz, about 65 kilometres in length, is known as the Middle Rhine Valley; it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The riverside is strewn with small villages, churches, and … CASTLES! Almost every hilltop has one; our captain told me that we would be passing 26 of them during the afternoon – I didn’t bother counting, but I’m sure he was right! And there’s also the Lorelei, the famous rocky cliff that narrows the river.
The famous wine village of Assmannshausen, under hillsides of Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) vines.
Detail of one of the buildings in Assmannshausen.
One of the many castles along the Middle Rhine valley. Some are ruins, others are now exclusive hotels. This one towers over (yet another) caravan/camping park.
Churches vie with castles for pride of place in the landscape.
The Lorelei, a 430-foot high cliff, is one of the most famous sights of the Middle Rhine Valley. The river narrows here, and treacherous currents and underwater rocks caused many vessels to founder here. In 1801, the Romantic poet Clemens Brentano came up with a story of a beautiful sorceress who threw herself into the river here, rather than being confined to a nunnery. In 1822 another poet, Heinrich Heine, gave the legend its final form, adding a beautiful maiden who sat on the rock combing her long hair and singing, thereby luring sailors to their destruction.
In addition to the hilltop castles, there are also island watch-towers and fortresses, such as this one at Kaub.
Marksburg Castle is an exception among the castles of the Middle Rhine, being a truly authentic, intact medieval fortress, dating from the 13th century, with the latest additions in the 17th and 18th centuries; it was never successfully attacked.
From close up, Marksburg Castle is rather daunting.
These musicians welcomed us to Marksburg Castle, for a tour, dinner, and some entertainment.
View from on high, at Marksburg Castle.