Photo description of the Castle entrance

Welcome to the jewel of the RhineWe wish to welcome you to this fantastic journey into the dark, mysterious and, sometimes, romantic history of one of the Rhine River Castle's.   Like the castle itself, improvements are always being made.

We visited this castle in September, 1993.  From the photos, brochures, and notes that my wife and collected in our one day and one night stay at the castle, I have compiled this little "virtual" tour guide in the hopes that you may wish to visit the castle someday.

By today's standards the quality of our stay would be rated very high and the cost very affordable. The food, as it is anywhere in the country, is phenomenal. The stay was very interesting, being that in the late evening hours we were the only occupants in the entire castle grounds. No caretakers, staff or management.

Upon our return from a family dinner at the Altes Haus in28.htm88[1].jpg (156620 bytes) Bacharach, we stopped at a little tavern just below the castle in the village.  It was 11:30 p.m. when we made our way to the road leading up the castle heights.  A two mile road that is.   Needless to say, there we were, on our own with only a flashlight to guide us up the historic trial to the gate towers.  No lights, no people, only the history, stories, and legends of those days gone by.  Please be patient when viewing this page.  I will be continuing to work on modified this document into separate pages in order to help it work faster. In the meantime you should be able to do some reading while the photos are loading. If you find that the images are not loading, you may need to use your "reload" button on your browser a couple of times. The images are hefty in size in some places and some are on the large size, so as to show you the details of our visit. Again, please be patient.

We would like to thank you for visiting one of our very special places. Best wishes on a safe and memorable journey.

Tim Vogel

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

bulletIntroduction
bulletThe History of Reichenstein
bulletThe Robber Knights Nest
bulletCollapse and New Beginnings
bulletReichenstein an Inhabited Castle: the era Kirsch-Puricelli
bulletUsage of the Castle Today
bulletThe Castle Layout
bulletThe Castle Museum
bulletThe Courtyard
bulletEntrance Hall With Castle Sentry
bulletThe Stone Collection
bulletThe Castle Dome (arch)
bulletThe Chapel
bulletKnights Hall - Ancestors Gallery: "Jäger aus Krupfalz"
bulletSide Passage off the First Floor
bulletSmall Living Room - "The Card Room"
bulletThe Music Room
bulletThe Corner Room - First Floor
bulletThe Weapons Chamber
bulletThe Library
bulletThe Iron Room
bulletStaircase to the Third Floor
bulletThe Third Floor
bulletFamous Personalities
bulletSagas and Stories Around Reichenstein
bulletThe Wrong Bridal Suitor
bulletThe Man Without a Head - The Ghost of Reichenstein?
bulletThe St. Clement Chapel
bulletThe Mysterious Tomb Plate
bulletThe Castle Brochure
bulletBurghotel
bulletBurg Reichenstein ist zu erreichen

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Additional Links of Interest:

ONLINE RESERVATIONS AND HOTEL/RESTAURANT DETAILS

bulletHotel Burg Reichenstein
HOME PAGE - The official home page for Hotel Reichenstein.
bulletInformation Castle Hotel Burg Reichenstein, Germany - Online form for reservation information.
bulletOnline-Reservation Castle Hotel Burg Reichenstein, Germany - Online reservation form for bookings.
bulletThe German American Meeting Point
bulletCastles Along the Rhein River
bulletSchloss Reichenstein
bulletThe Castles of Germany
bulletBacharach am Rhein
bulletBingen am Rhein
bulletHerzlich willkommen in Bühlertann
bulletWelcome to Ellwangen - Stadtspaziergang Ellwangen Jagst
bulletWelcome to the the Rheinland-Pfalz Castle Site

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INTRODUCTION

The Rhine Valley between Bingen and Koblenz, who does not think of sagas and legends, knights and robbers, ghosts, fortresses and castles?

Hardly another region in Germany is so rich in history and shows so many "witnesses" of the past. One of the most remarkable and largest castles high up is Reichenstein, situated in the wine producing village of Trechtingshausen, which can be reached from Bingen by car, boat or rail, a mere 5 km away. The almost 1000 year old history of the castle and the magnificent collections of the many and unique museum artifacts have made Reichenstein a tourist magnet. This guide presents the history of Reichenstein and of its inhabitants, shows the fate of the old defense and living quarters and offers review on the rich content of the castle museum. It provides the visitor with a lasting impression of the culture and history in the Rhineland, of the robber knights via the "hunter of Kurpfalz" to the heyday of the Hunsrücker iron dynasty.

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The History of Reichenstein

The Robber Knights Nest

It is difficult to say exactly how old Reichenstein really is. The oldest building indications date the foundations from the early 11th century: Reichenstein is almost 1,000 years old. At that time the region belonged to the distant abbey "Kornelimünster" near Aachen which was received as a gift from Ludwig, the Pios. The Abbey appointed bailiffs for the administration and for the safeguard of its rights. One of these bailiffs for was the knight Rheinbodo (1151-1196) and his descendants. Gerhard of Rheinbodo who resided in the castle raged as robber-knight through the region and demanded goods violently from the travelers and shipmen. In 1213, he was disposed of. The first documentary writings of the castle originate from that year. Knight Philipp became his successor. He came from the powerful family "von Bolanden." In 1218 his son Werner took the name "von Reichenstein," but since he died without an heir, the castle feared robber-knights of his time. He did not follow the instructions of his feudal lords in Kornelimünster and overpowered more and more tradesmen who were traveling the Rhine River Valley.

In 1253, the archbishop of Mainz and the army of the town association conquered and destroyed Reichenstein. Philipp von Hohenfels had surrendered and promised good conduct so that he could live. He used the following period to rebuild Reichenstein stronger and more defensive than ever before. He carried on with robbing during these politically unstable times and ascended to the high office of Imperial Vicar and began to steal church property. As a consequence the Archbishop of Mainz banned him from the church. All this happened during the times of "Interregnum," and came to an end when the imperial power was once again strengthened. The times of robber knights on the Rhine was over.

In 1282 the new king besieged the castle. Nevertheless he did not succeed to storm the stronghold, but forced the garrison to surrender by means of starvation. These battles were better fights, raging during the 13th century around Reichenstein. Many arrow points have been found on the castle grounds and can be seen in the museum.

Contrary to the legend, Dietrich of Hohenfels was not decapitated, but actually escaped. His companions were hung on the trees in the valley by order of Rudolf von Habsburg. The castle was burnt down in 1290. The king had forbidden that Reichenstein and the neighboring fortress (also a nest of robber knights) be rebuilt, but both were restored.

Reichenstein was know property of the Count Palatines, who quarreled over the rights with the Archbishop of Mainz. IN 1344, the emperor Ludwig IV awarded the castle to Mainz. Mainz leased the castle several times until 1361, also to Kuno von Falkenstein, a successor of those gentlemen von Bolanden who 150 years before had been bailiffs there. Restless time followed in 1396, when Gottfried von Leiningen, the contra-bishop, found refuge in the castle and also had it granted by the bailiff Nikelaus von Stein. Only after long negotiations it was achieved that Gottfried resigned, and further battles for Reichenstein were avoided.

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Collapse and New Beginnings

The short Mainz period lasted to the end of the 19th century. The old castle, originally built as a defense structure, lost more and more of its military value after the invention and development of firearms. It started to deteriorate. The cathedral chapter leased it to 4 families in Trechtingshausen, including the right to grow wine grapes on the surrounding plots. These families later became proprietors of the ruins. It was only a question of time until the old walls would be overgrown and collapse. But the 19th century was a turning point, seen from the background of the cultural tendencies of that time: the epoch of romanticism lead to a new interest in the middle ages, gothic churches and cloisters, old castles. The life of the knights inspired the imagination of educated circles of the nobility and the middle classes. In this way, General Baron Franz Wilhelm von Barfuss became interested. He bought the ruin and began restoring it. He discovered several nesting towerfalcons in the walls and therefore named the castle "Falkenburg." This old name appears sometimes in the old descriptions of those days. An heir of General Barfuss, the baron von Rehfuss, bought the castle in 1877 and installed a small flat there. IN 1899, there followed another proprietor, the Mexican Consul Chosodowsky. The decisive step for the castle, as it stand today, was taken in 1899, when a new buyer appeared: the Rheinböller Ironindustrialist Nicolaus Kirsch-Puricelli, whose wife is a direct descendant of the famous "hunter from Kurpfalz."

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Reichenstein an Inhabited Castle: the era Kirsch-Puricelli

The family Puricelli (Olga Kirsch-Puricelli's family) owned the "Rheinböller Hütte" since the 18th century, one of the biggest and oldest ironworks of the Hunsrück. Olga's great Grandfather, Giacomo Antonio Puricelli, born in 1917, had come from lake Como in Italy to Germany. His son, Carl Anton Puricelli married Margarethe Utsch, daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Utsch, who owned the works and who was renowned to be the famous "Jäger aus Kurpfalz." Through this marriage the Rheinböller Ironworks came into the Puricelli family. They became one of Germany's richest families in the 19th century and donated a list of welfare institutions in the Rhine-Nahe region, such as the home for the blind in Bingen, a hospital in Bad Kreuznach and the orphanage in Rheinböllen.

Nicolaus Kirsch-Puricelli, himself originating from Luxemborg and the Luxemborg's Ambassador in the German Reich started to re-build castle Reichenstein with the help of his wife Olga, between 1899 and 1902. The Regensburger architect Strebel, who was in charge of the restoration, based his ideas on old foundation drawings and on views of the castle form the 17th and 18th centuries. In this way, the reconstruction of the main building was authentic. Nicolaus and Olga Kirsch-Puricelli had the necessary historical and artistic interest. Without their enthusiasm, the castle would and it complete museum collection would be non existent. Baroness Olga collected paintings, engravings, sculptures, vases, furniture and musical instruments. She herself was a musician and painted a few pictures which are exhibited in the museum. Many of the art objects originate from Italy, the family origin of Puricelli. Beside being a brother of Baron Nicolaus, the teacher Paul Kirsch was Prelate for many years at the Holy Chair in Rome. He often brought gifts back form Italy when he visited the Reichenstein family. Slowly the family collected almost 200 cast iron oven and Takenplates and established one of the biggest collections of this king in Germany, including plates spanning 4 centuries.

Baron Nicolaus' passion for hunting led to a collection of 1200 hunting trophies from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Amongst them are numerous rare pieces, such as hart with three horns, mooses with mighty antlers, Asian Axi's and Sika hart - antlers, etc. Weapons as well as amour were also collected.

When Baron Nicolaus died in 1936 (his wife Olga died the previous year), the living quarters were given up by their children; it had become too expensive to keep 40 servants at times (coachmen, stable boys, gardeners, kitchen staff, chambermaids, etc.). The heir Baron Dr. Paul Kirsch-Puricelli, kept the castle open as a museum. His nephew, Baron con Schorlemer-Lieser followed his footsteps. Only at the beginning of 1987, after almost 90 years in the family, the castle received a new proprietor with gastroname "Egon Schmitz."

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Usage of the Castle Today

In the outer castle there is a hotel with 50 beds, which enables the "normal citizen" accommodations within the castle walls. Also in the outer castle there are various Restaurants: the "Ritterstube" as a middle class restaurant for all the family, the Gourmet-Restaurant "Jägerstube" and the rustical beerbar "Pferdestall."

The cafe-terrace offers you a leisurely afternoon with historic views of the Rhine. Around the castle there is a beergarden from which a magnificent view over the Rhine and Morgenbach valley can be enjoyed. For bigger events a marquee for several hundred persons can be easily erected on the "Tunierplatz," just above the castle. In this way one has created an economically sound basis around the center piece of the building which is the museum. So it has been made possible to enjoy the collections and art treasures as well as benefit the public.

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The Castle Layout

If one walks from Trechtingshausen up to the castle, one leaves behind the last houses of the town and sees two mighty gate towers: the entrance of Reichenstein. These towers belong to the outer fortification which had been built during the reconstruction at the turn of the century. Today it is still named "Falkenburg."

When we visited the castle in September, 1993, we were surprised to find that on our walk up to the castle, in the dead of the night, we were the only two people in the entire castle. In the darkness of the night, lit by only one flashlight, we made our way past the towers and finally found the outer castle entrance way to the dining rooms. The staff and management had left for the day. As we made our way past several 6 foot tall knights in full armor, I could not help but feel we were being watched. For when we checked in earlier in the day, we were instructed "not to disturb the ghost." This comment was not made in jest. It was a serious one. More on the castle ghost in awhile.

Finally we made our way through the huge rooms to find the large oak doors that would open (which made the sounds one would associate with a spooky monster movie) to the stairway where we finally found a light switch. We finally made it too our room and fell asleep very easily.

Underneath the towers there are cellars hewn from the rock. The main building joins the structure which is now the hotel and restaurant. At the time when Reichenstein still was inhabited there were large stables on the ground floor and on the first floor flats for the staff. The outer castle is a wonderful addition to the other mediaeval parts: large quarry gables mark the character. Further up thehill we find observation tower, also made from quarry stone called the "Königstein." Up to it we pass some small towers and gangways as well as enclosed the "Tunierplatz," situated half way up on the slope. Enormous chestnut trees grow there. We enjoy a wonderful view over the Rhine and Morgenbach valley.

The gate to the castle interior lies behind a draw bridge made of wide planks, next to a broad tower crowned with battlements. Adjoining on the right hand side is the sentry wall, built in 1253, over 15m high and 8m thick at the base. Through the gate we reach the courtyard and through another gate the beergarden. On the left we can enjoy a magnificent view, once again, especially in Springtime over the flowering fruit trees right down the hill to the road in the valley. On your right rises the living quarters of the old castle whose many towers, alcoves and walls are covered with thick ivy. The foundation and arch of the living area originates from the 11th century. The reconstruction of the years 1899 to 1902 adapted itself strictly to the old shapes and forms. Caslte Reichenstein is worth a visit alone for its impressive and extensive exterior and presents a typical example of a Rhinecastle in a wild romantic region at the exit of the Morgenbach valley.

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The Castle Museum

The castle museum (containing almost exclusive collections and household equipment of the family Kirsch-Puricelli) begins in the courtyard and continues into the cellars behind the iron entrance gate of the living quarters, also on three further floors. Reichenstein is one of the most interesting and largest museums on the Mittelrhine. The castle is open seven days a week from nine o'clock in the morning till six o'clock in the evening (9.00h - 18.00h) from the 15th or March till the 15th of November.

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The Courtyard

First stop on a castle tour is the courtyard. On the left you will see six French cannons which fell into German hands after the of 1870/71. One can read the engraved writing on them, showing that it concerns arms of the 7th company on the fortification Metz. Underneath the year 1888 is stated. On the right, directly by the living quarters stand two large iron and iron ornamental fountains, tow typical products form the Rheinböller Ironworks in the 19th century.

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Entrance Hall With Castle Sentry

Directly behind the entrance is an old "fire engine" form before the first world war. You will spot objects form the two most significant collection groups: hunting trophies of European origin. You will see the skulls of two North American Wapiti harts, above the skull of an African water buffalo with mighty black horns. The cast iron plates have two categories: ovenplates which covered old stoves and the so called "Takenplates" which were placed between two rooms and which radiated the warmth of the fire in one room also into the other. You will come across these two types of plates quite often in the Reichenstein museum. On the plates of the 16th and 17th century religious motive are mainly apparent (scenes from the Bible, pictures of Saints). On plates of more recent times you will spot coat of arms of emperors and figures from ancient sagas. Behind the iron banister above the entrance hall lies the "Burgwache" (sentry) whose large fire place is decorated with two armors of the 19th century. These are valuable reproductions of armors from the 16th century. They were made in the last century when a romantic ware for the forgotten world of knights swept the country. They show a lovely, etched-decor.

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The Stone Collection

From the entrance hall the path leads via the stairs to the stone collection, presented in several large vitrines. These stones come from various continents. Amongst others you will find fragments of Hunsrücker-slate with fossils, as well as crystals, ore and semi-precious gems. On the left side wall there is a specially rare hunting trophy: a hart with three horns. There are quite a few rare and strange shapes of antlers and horns.

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The Castle Dome (arch)

From the stone collection we go through a wrought iron gate and reach the oldest part of the castle: the castle dome with its gigantic center pillar dates back to the 11th century. Here hangs a total of 16 wooden models which served the production of cast iron plates: they were pressed into sand or plasterform. With older model the relief was carved too, with later pieces it was struck on. On the rear wall you will see 20 Rheinböller stoves of the 19th century. They were a proof of the very important industry of the Rheinböller ironworks which was spread all over the Rhineland. In an alcove next to the stove collection you will see two money trunks, predecessors of the modern safe. They have a complicated locking system and were protected with iron tin inside and outside to guard against fire.

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The Chapel

  From the castle arch we reach the chapel, which was constructed as a private chapel for the family living here at the time. Today it houses many valuable and sacred objects from earlier times. On the gallery in the chapel entrance hall there are three carved and printed figures of Saints from the 18th century: on the left St. Paul, on the right St. Peter with sword and in the middle Mary, the virgin Mary, is presented in an unusual way: standing on the globe, pushing a lance into the throat of a snake, the symbol of evil.

The walls of the entrance hall are decorated with oil paintings and ironplates, showing various religious motives. In the middle of the room stands an old font. On the west wall a "sacrament: house cut from a massive block of sandstone; an old and very impressive witness of sculpture art of the middle Rhine region. The three winged altar in the actual chapel originates from the 16th century and is of late gothic style.

Here the relics of St. Sebastian and St. Clement (not legible) are embedded, the chapel itself is the St. Sebastian chapel. Further relics are to be seen in frames on the walls. The certificates of the Vatican which confirm the authenticity of these relics, are kept in these castle archives. On the altar lies a missal printed in Latin, richly illustrated and dating back to 1651. It is the second oldest book in the castle.

On the walls hangs chasubles, decorated with brocade from the 18th century. On the floor in front of the altar is a mosaic which depicts the "ship" of the church with Christian Knights, monks and the Pope as he is pestered by evil, the mosaics next to it represent the symbols of the four evangelists John, Mark, Luke, and Matthew.

The organ is in the gallery, coated by wood in new gothic style. Next to the entrance you will see two wrought iron chandeliers. Fine art of a spiders web has been worked into them, an example of this highly developed craft.

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Knights Hall - Ancestors Gallery: "Jäger aus Krupfalz"

From the chapel we go back through the castle and turn left into the knights hall with the gallery of the ancestors. This room belongs to the medieval building period of the castle. It was covered with richly decorated wooden panels after the restoration period and furnished as a gallery of the ancestors.

On the left wall we see pictures of the Puricelli family from the 18th and 19th century. The young gentleman in blue and gold morning suit in the lowest line (second from the left) is Friedrich Wilhelm Utsch (1732-1795). This is the famous "Jäger aus Kurpfalz." The gentleman on the right is his, already mentioned, son-in-law Carl Puricelli (1766-1805). The lady (in a light blue dress) his daughter Margarethe Utsch (1766-1860). From this marriage to the latter, the Rheinböller Ironworks came into the Puricelli family.

On the right wall the picture above shows Baron Dr. Paul Kirsch-Puricelli (1896-1974). He was the man who made the castle accessible to the public. In the under line we see on the left, his father, Dr. Nicolaus Kirsch-Puricelli. He re-built the castle. In the lower line on the left is his wife (in lacy dress), the painter and art collector Olga Kirsch-Puricelli (1857-1935). The large painting shows the death of the Swedish King Gustaf Adolf in the battle of Lützen during the thirty years war.

The cupboard underneath contains a collection of genuine "Meissner" china from 1890. The chandelier on the ceiling in the Knights hall is made out of an old clock face with Roman numbers. On the right from the door sand two large and beautifully painted Faynee vases: wine containers, made in the 19th century in Savona, Italy.

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Side Passage of the First Floor

From the Knights hall a staircase leads to a passage on the first floor. Here are some remarkable hunting trophies: on the left a Canadian thickhorn sheep, on the right a typical Hunsrück-wild boar with strong tucks, and in the middle a hart who was shot in Karpaten. Up in the middle you see one of the largest trophies, hart antlers from the Rocky Mountains in North America on a prepared skull. Underneath there is an engraved silver plate explaining in English that this hart was shot by Adolf Busch in October 1858 in the Rocky Mountains. It was then given in 1901 as a present to Carl Puricelli in the occasion of his visit to America. Adolf Busch was a citizen from Bad Kreuznach (not far from Reichenstein). He emigrated to America in the last century where he went on to found in St. Louis, Missouri, the Anhäuser Busch-Brewery," today the largest brewery in the USA.

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Small Living Room - "The Card Room"

From the side passage one reaches a hall leading to three beautifully furnished living rooms. It becomes apparent here how wealthy life once was in Reichenstein. On the left, a small living room ("the card room"). There are pieces of furniture from the 17th and 18th century, pieces with beautiful turnings - and marquetry works. On the dressing table you will see an Italian set of clocks and two vases in alabaster. On the right wall are a magnificent container of brown alabaster and antique statues on carved wooden pillars. Above it hangs a painting showing the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II.

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The Music Room

Even more magnificent is the adjoining music room. The two cupboards on the left with their valuable wooden marquetry are full of music for the various musical instruments to be seen everywhere in this room. In front of the window there is a spinet from the 18th century, next to two harps. Then there is a Bechstein - grand piano and on the right wall an original "Biedermeier" piano.

One sees many different wood and brass wind instruments. Old engravings hang on the walls with motives form Venice. The table in the foreground was made in Italy in the last century and has a plate with "Pietra-dura" work: this is stone marquetry of highest completion showing a flower picture with birds.

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The Corner Room - First Floor

Next to the music room is another room furnished as combined living and bedroom (bedsitter) and decorated with old engravings and oil paintings. The bedroom furniture is an excellent example of the "Biedermeier" style around 1820. The table and chairs are of Renaissance style, some of those old chairs and the small cupboards in the windows alcove are over 350 years old. In front of the window on the back wall of the room ivy climbs up.

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The Weapons Chamber

The Weapons Room On the front wall are four lansquent armors from the 15th and early 16th centuries. The armor on the left is typical of the Spanish soldiers (mercenaries) who conquered South America after 1500. On the right you also see a Knight's helmet from the "Thirty Years War" called "zichagge" (after the riders from Pappenheim). On the left wall of the weapon chamber one sees cuirasses, helmets and sables of Napoleon's III bodyguard (the last French Emperor). A picture also shows these French cuirassiers in full action. The gun-stand in the middle of the room houses 17 guns and is the center piece of the firearm collection of Reichenstein.

Via staircase, we reach the second floor with its weapons chamber. Here weapons and original armor are exhibited. Directly next to the entrance we see a Japanese Samurai's armor. In contrast to European armor, it is not made of chain mail mesh, but of thousands of small metallamella, the mask with the bushy mustache was supposed to frighten the enemy. Then there is a Samurai sword with a sharp blade: the Japanese swords were renowned to be the best in the world, and often used in legends…

Amongst them you will find a "Luntenschloss" gun from the Thirty Year War and also an English weapon decorated with ebony marquetry. All these guns are muzzle loaders. Who knows: one of these guns belonged perhaps to the famous "Jäger aus Kurpfalz," and he was shooting deer, as it says in the: "das Wild daher…"

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The Library

The Weapons Room The ceiling, with its massive oak beams, is impressive. The walls have fitted bookshelves. These and the cabinets contain 4,000 books, mainly from the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries. On the table lies the oldest book of the castle; "Xenophon," printed in 1572 in Basle, after the antic General and author. It was printed at the time in Old Greek and Latin, the skull beside it is supposedly to be of the last robber knight of Reichenstein.

In a glass cabinet a collection of original porcelain figures are being kept. From the Rokoko period. Just on the right next to the entrance is the oldest cupboard of the castle, a so called "Cologne cabinet" from 1567. The painting on the left door comes from a Dutch master, from the time 1680 and a work from the school of VanDyck. We also find Chinese porcelain, some magnificent pots of marble and bronze, models of armor, hunting trophies and old framed maps.

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The Iron Room

The room next to the Weapon Chamber present the "connection" link between the castle Reichenstein and the Rheinböller dynasty, encouraged by the family Puricelli. Right opposite the entrance door there are six colored construction drawings of a planned furnace in Rheinböllen in 1830: documents of the early industrial history of the Rhine-Nahe area. On the right, some old photographs of the Rheinböller Ironworks, their workforce, their products: the view is from 1863, the picture of the workforce of 1839. And then there is a typical Rheinböller stove. Even parts of the firms archive can be seen in this room: bulky business books from the turn of the century. When an industrialist family with technical interest moves into a castle, technology moves in at the same time.

In 1902, there already was a small hydropower station in the Morgenbach valley which produced electricity exclusively for Reichenstein. Some meters and instruments of this power station can still be seen in the "Iron Room." In those early years, radios and telephones belonged to the upper class household of Reichenstein. Some of the exhibited objects are already technical-historical attractions, such as a so called world receiver with a huge ariel from the year 1926. On the wall above is the first castle telephone in wooden finish. One discovers photographs everywhere and memorial leaflets of the family history, (Kirsch-Puricelli) and iron plates from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Staircase to the Third Floor

More weapons can be seen here. It is a collection of "cutting and stabbing" weapons with spears, swords, axes and morningstar. By the first step you can see a so called airgun from 1744 which was not fired with powder but air pressure: a malicious gun and therefore banned. Whoever used this gun was sure of losing his life, therefore this gun is camouflaged with a "Radschloßatrappe" and not to be recognized immediately as airgun. With such weapons the Tyrolean sherts were fighting Andreas Hofer at the beginning of the 19th century in their freedom battle against Napoleon.

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The Third Floor

The Third Floor is the last stop of the museum visit and is much brighter because of a skylight, so one can spot finesses easily on the iron plates. Opposite the stairs is a large picture showing all the living family embers Kirsch-Puricelli in 1922 on Reichenstein.

Olga Kirsch-Puricelli painted it herself. In the wall cupboard on the left of the entrance is a lovely collection of old glasses and stone jugs from various centuries. A glance through the shaft of the staircase shows once again the brilliant architectural achievement the castle was has undertaken. Reichenstein really offers a wonderful museum in a lovely building.

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Famous Personalities

Reichenstein has seen many personalities in its walls during the 1000 year history of the castle. People who played important roles in the political, scientific and cultural life of their times.

Rudolf von Habsburg visited Reichenstein with peaceful intentions. One of its proprietors of the 14th century, Count Ludwig bei Rhein and Duke of Bavaria, used Reichenstein as pawn for the election of the German King (1315), in order to buy Mainz votes. The French poet Victor Hugo visited the ruin Reichenstein in the 19th century and described it in details in his works "the Rhine" (1802-1885). During the era Kirsch-Puricelli many artists and teachers came to stay, among them, J. von Wilpert, one of the most famous explorers of early Christian art. A photograph of him with a dedication from 1909 hangs in the hall of the second floor.

These days many public figures, among them, members of parliament, ministers and delegations from home and abroad come here in order to see the treasures of the museum and to enjoy the caring hospitality. This historical place irresistibly invites you to stay.

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Sagas and Stories Around Reichenstein

The Wrong Bridal Suitor

Knight & LoveOnce upon a time a young knight lived on Reichenstein, and he was in love with a lady from the neighboring castle Rheinstein.

He brought her a magnificent white horse as a gift and went on frequent rides in the wooded countryside together.

Their love grew and they decided to marry.  But it was a custom at that time that a bridal suitor would first ask the bride's father for the hand of his daughter. 

Therefore, the Reichenstein Knight "employed" his uncle as bridal suitor and sent him to the castle Rheinstein.  When the uncle saw the pretty bride he wanted her for himself and succeeded in the father giving him the bride and not his nephew.

The girl cried and complained but her old father would not give in because the uncle seemed to be a much better catch than the young knight.

When the day of the wedding came, the bridal procession rode down to the Rhine and to the Clement Chapel. 

Suddenly a hornet stung the horse of the bridegrooms which shyed and upset the whole procession.  This was the opportunity the bride had waited for. She ran away on her horse.

The animal found the way up to Reichenstein, the gate close behind the bride and on the battlements the spears and lances of the alarmed guards sparkled and glistened in the early morning sunlight.

The bridegroom quickly called his escort and the Rheinstein men together and attacked the castle of his nephew. But the strong walls of Reichenstein were a very difficult obstacle and the uncle fell from his horse.  He was injured so badly that he later died shortly after his fall.

The bride's father gave in and recognized the true happiness in his daughter. Soon the wedding was celebrated and the bride lived very happily with her proud knight of Reichenstein.

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The Man Without a Head - The Ghost of Reichenstein?

History tells us that Rudolf von Habsburg had the Reichenstein robber knights hung in 1282 (on trees) and that their leader, Dietrich von Hohenfels even got away. But there is also a horrid saga which tells us otherwise. Dietrich von Hohenfels begged the King not to save his life but at least that of his nine sons who had learnt robbing, looting and murdering from their father. The King wanting to deter all robber knights in the countryside refused the request but he was prepared to let God judge.

An escort lead Dietrich von Hohenfels to the place of judgment which is today the place of St. Clement Chapel and placed all his sons in a row. The King said, "Look you murderer, here are all your sons. In a moment your head will roll into the sand, but should you manage to walk past your brood I will keep everyone of them alive whom you manage to pass." Dietrich von Hohenfels looked very firmly into their eyes, looked silently at the path which passed his sons.

In an instant, his head fell to the ground, one stroke by the executioner was enough. But something ominous occurred and a cold shower ran down the spine of all who were in attendance. The bleeding corpse did not collapse, he swayed a bit and then stalked towards the line of his sons. One, two, three, four, five sons he passed, then the sixth, seventh, eighth and finally the ninth son. Only now did the feared robber knight fall to the ground whereas a high fountain of blood shot into the air from his neck stump and sprayed the spectators. Rudolf von Habsburg almost fainted and granted the nine sons their lives. Then he left this bloody, strange place.

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The St. Clement Chapel

There are two stories about the chapel located just below the castle. One is closely linked with the period of the robber knights. The relations of the executed robber knight had erected the chapel after that bloody trial, in order to repent and to pray for the souls of their nearest. They also fetched a hermit who was to read Mass for the executed souls.

The other story tells that a Dutch rafter got into a terrible thunderstorm just below Bingen where his raft was thrown against the treacherous cliffs of the Rhine. Because his only fortune was the wood that he carried on the raft, he prayed to God and promised that he would build a chapel in the place where he would rediscover his lost raft. When the storm died down he found his raft undamaged on a flat sandbank just below Reichenstein. He was able to carry on with his journey. Upon returning the following year he built opposite the sandbank a chapel: the chapel of St. Clement.

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The Mysterious Tomb Plate

This is how the French poet Victor Hugo described his visit in the 19th century to ruin Reichenstein: "As I walked along my glance fell onto a corner of a gravestone which emerged from the rubble. Quickly I bent down. I removed the mud with hands and feet and in a few moments I had uncovered a very lovely tomb plate from the 14th century. It was made of red Heilbronn sandstone. On this plate lay a knight in armor who had no head. Underneath the feet of this man of stone the following words in Roman letters were written and clearly visible:

Of which person did these sad, barbaric verse speak of? Could one believe the second verse on the stone plate?"

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The Castle Brochure

Die tausendjährige Burg Reichenstein. The beginnings of Burg Reichenstein date back to the 8th century, when people of the Rhine began to build fortified dwelling-places. The first documentary mention of Reichenstein, in the year 1213, names the arch abbey of Kornelimünster-Aachen as possessor of the castle.

The castellans instituted by the arch-abbey gradually came into opposition to the Rhenish League of Towns, which destroyed the castle in 1253. After its reconstruction the castle was sold to the archbishop of Mainz about 1270. But the Mainz castellans rebelled against their masters and therefore a second destruction of the castle occurred by the work of the emperor Rudolf von Habsburg in 1282.

The castle being rebuilt once more, its wardens receive it as a fief but cede it to the Counts Palatine and Dukes of Bavaria, who cast Reichenstein in the scale as a means of power in their dispute for the German imperial crown.

In 1344, the emperor decided that the castle belonged to the archbishop of Mainz. Until the end of the 18th century, Mainz remains its unimpaired possessor. After various change of ownership the stronghold at last passes into the possession of the family of Baron Kirsch-Puricelli, who in the course of several generations restored the castle to its ancient forms. Under many great efforts and care to the castle they have given both a piece of German history and a cultural object back to their Rhenish native country.

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Burg hotel

Burg Reichenstein ist zu erreichen:

bulletÜber die B 9 bis Trechitinghausen
bulletA 61 aus Richtung Koblenz bis Abfahrt Stromberg, Bingerbrück, B 9
bulletA 61 aus Richtung Mainz/Frankfurt bis Bingen, Bingerbrück, B 9
bulletmit dem Schiff bis Bingen od. Trechtingshausen

Direction to Castle

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ONLINE RESERVATIONS AND HOTEL/RESTAURANT DETAILS

You can write to the folks at the Castle at the following address:

Hotel Burg Reichenstein
c/o Christoph und Simone Arenz
Im Burgweg 25
D-55413 Trechtingshausen am Rhein
Deutschland
 

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