Location: On the right bank of the Rhine a short distance from from Rü- desheim
Approach: You park in Rüdesheim and walk ca 3 km through the vine- yards
No, this castle is not exactly easy to visit. The paved path is not too steep but in spite of my long legs it took me half an hour to get there.
Is it worthwhile?
On 364 day of the year (I know, 2004 is a leap-year. So: In leap-years on 365 days of the year) rather not, unless you´re taking a walk in the vine- yards anyway. On the second weekend of September however the Euro- pean "day of the open monument" takes place and on this day Burg Ehren- fels is opened to public.
Some eating and drinking booths, some chicken scraping in the earth and the personal in medieval clothes. Not too spectacular; the impression upon entering the ruin is nevertheless convincing at first sight. A colourful bustle, squalling voices, a lot of people; all this noise gets caught in the ruin and before you start noticing details and sort your impression you feel for just one moment like having travelled in time.
Over a self supporting modern iron stair ( probably more likely to be alu- minium or steel - who cares) from which you have a cool view on the scenery below you reach the keep. The staircase of the tower is dark and only lit by a few flickering lanterns. In the tower room is a fake knight´s rest.
If you don´t mind a slippery gravel slope you can walk around the castle; from the "garden" you have a quite lovely view of Bingen and the Mäuse- turm in the Rhine.
Then you sit down with a tumbler of wine on one of the benches in the ruin feeling slightly exhausted from the long walk. (Being a single female tra- veller means the seats next to you stay empty surprisingly long; families rather squeeze into another place...).
The impression is somehow good, but do all these kids really have to be here?
I DON´T MIND KIDS. But why are they here the only target group? I would also have liked to try the knight´s chain shirt on, but pushing the fidgeting shorties away and screaming "me too!"???
Why aren´t there any events like this entertaining grown ups as well? (Nooooooooooooooo, for once I don´t mean fetish-parties...).
But with the castle just being open one day of the year they could have prepared a more various programme.
Résumé: All the same. It was good fun. If you don´t have plans for the second Sunday of September you probably won´t make a mistake visiting the ruin.
It´s strange. Burg Ehrenfels is neither the biggest nor the best preserved and most certainly not the most entertaining castle at the Rhine. Nevertheless though, it never fails to fascinate me more than some of the more "fascinating" castles whenever I drive by. I hope it does with you as well.
History: Burg Ehrenfels was built at the beginning of the 13th century on behalf of the archbishop of Mainz to protect the Rheingau against attacks from the north.
Since the 14th century Burg Ehrenfels served as a custom castle being part of a toll collecting site for the arch bishopric of Mainz together with a -now vanished - toll bastion at the bank of the Rhine and the Mäuseturm built in the middle of the river.
During the Palatine War of Succession the castle was destroyed in 1689.
As late as 1990 the ruin was secured and partly rebuilt, while the Mäuseturm had already been reconstructed in the middle of the 19th century by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia.
The former toll bastion at the foot of the vineyards had to give way to the construction of the by-pass road built in the 20th century.