Admission: 5,00 €
Guided tour: entrance to the castle only in combination with a guided tour. Tours are held at demand, at busy times about every 20 minutes
Café/Restaurant: the castle restaurant is reopened after the fire und rather nice - especially the view
Information: an information leaf for free, and various booklets and books
Souvenirs: large, well assorted shop
Location: On the right bank of the Rhine in Braubach, ca 53 km from Rü- desheim
Approach: a narrow road through the wood leads to a chargeable parking lot at the foot of the castle. From there it´s a 4 minutes walk uphill
The Marksburg is the only "hilltop castle" at the Rhine which was never de- stroyed and is thereby something quite special, as it offers a rather authen- tic insight into life in a medieval castle.
(Like the Marksburg, with white plastered-walls is how you must image all the Rhine castles. The light walls should distinguish the castle easily from the dark background of rocks and woods, demonstrate its power and make it visible from far away.)
The guided tour takes about an hour and is very interesting. It is being held by members of the "German Castles Association" (which has its headquar- ter at the Marksburg) and this is great because there is no question they can´t answer, no detail unknown to them.
The tour leads you through the outer castle area as well as numerous rooms, among them the blacksmith´s shop, the fabulous kitchen, the living room, the chapel and the knight´s hall with the toilet adjoining the dining- table.
(Toilet doors in castles weren´t lockable from the INSIDE but from the OUTSIDE. The latrine opening - usually into the castle garden - was a weak spot in the defensive system once the enemy forced their way into the inner castle yard. Easily they could climb up the shaft (hm...) and enter the living quarters. That´s why the bolt was on the outside, so there was at least some time left to call for reinforcements...)
While going through the castle, narrow stairs up, crooked corridors down, around draughty corners to suddenly end up in a small inner ward you really feel you can image how life in a castle must have been back then.
Finally you enter the torture chamber (which is not authentic though). You should not expect too much from this, if you are interested in these things you are far better off in the torture-museum in Rüdesheim (well, strange formulation...). But, yes, it´s ok and it rounds the tour off in the right spirit.
I could rave on enthusiastically if, well if there weren´t all the other peo- ple.
The groups are rather large, ca 40 people among them numerous lively children, all cramped up together. If you are at the end of the group you often miss the guide´s explanations, if you are at the front you can´t take one single picture without including the whole group.
That´s a pity; but there´s nothing to be done about it.
So I did the tour twice. Once for listening and once for looking.
Résumé: In spite of the too large groups a truly unique experience. Anyone being interested in real life in a castle really can´t afford to miss the Marksburg.
In my group was a young Ame- rican who was obviously swept off his feet (although he didn´t understand just one word of the guide´s comments..) and repeatedly murmured to himself like a mantra "amazing, absolutely fucking amazing". I don´t have anything more to add...
History: The beginnings of the Marksburg were founded in the 11th cen- tury. In 1283 the castle came into the possession of the counts of Katzen- elnbogen who essentially gave the castle its present appearance.
In the 15th century it fell to the landgraves of Hessen who built in the 16th century Schloss Philippsburg at the foot of the castle as their residence. Henceforth the Marksburg was used as a fortress and state prison.
In the 19th century the rather neglected castle passed to the dukedom of Nassau and finally to Prussia.
At the beginning of the 20th century it was bought by the "German Castles Association" which had it exemplarily restored, and keeps its headquarters their ever since.