sooneck
Admission: 2,60 €
Guided tour: entrance only possible in combination with a guided tour
Hotel: no
Café/Restaurant: yes
Information: all you get is a small page torn from a book, which describes very briefly the interior decoration of the castle´s rooms open to public. Nothing about the history of the castle
Souvenirs: none

Location: on the left bank of the Rhine right before Niederheimbach, ca
11 km from Bingen
Approach: a rather steep drive through vineyards and forest until you reach the parking lot. From there it´s a 5 minutes walk uphill

The guided tour takes about 20 to 30 minutes and was held by a nice young man, who lacked in true enthusiasm though, and deals solely with the private rooms of the Prussian royal prince Friedrich Wilhelm who had the castle ruin converted into a hunting seat.
The interior furniture is not the original one though but from the period, for the most part from Schloss Stolzenfels. Apart from the furniture there´s quite a large collection of paintings, mostly from the 19th century.
The fact that you have to slide on funny felt slippers in the interior rooms provides eternal kids like myself with quite some fun. You have to wear them over your regular shoes so there´s no way you´re able to move more elegantly than Quasimodo.

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sooneck
After the guided tour you are free to stay in the castle as long as you want, climb the small tower, walk through the terraced rose garden or sit in the castle yard enjoying the view.
Yet the accessible area is not that big; you rather have the impression of being in a romantic pleasure seat than in a fortified castle.
But the view up to the main building towering high above you is quite im- pressive. It´s a pity that there's a quarry right beside the castle, better avoid looking in that direction.
When I left the castle at 18 o´clock, I was asked by the gardener if I could give him a lift with my car downhill because he had to catch his train to Koblenz. "yeah sure" I said, "and just for the record I got a knife with me and the brown belt in judo (anyway, I had been close to achieving the yel- low one...).
After that, we got along fine, although I´m afraid he found my remark "what a dream job, working at a castle every day" rather naive. Probably so.
At departing he kissed my hand and I drove home with a nice feeling.

Résumé: Anyone being interested in the art and history of the 19th cen- tury will enjoy this trip immensely.
Anyone loving the slightly artificial atmosphere of the rhenish Prussian kitsch will do so as well.
No doubt a nice trip, which would be improved were the castle tavern o- pen.

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sooneck
History: Burg Soneck was built in the 13th century by the Edelfreien (Baronets) von Bolanden-Hohenfels. Like the adjoining Burg Reichenstein the castle served as a robberknight-nest and was likewise destroyed in 1282.
Roman emperor of German nation Rudolf von Habsburg forbade the castle to be rebuilt. In 1344 Burg Sooneck came (just like Burg Reichernstein) into the possession of the archbishop of Mainz and was rebuilt by the Lords von Waldeck.
During the Palatine War of Succession Burg Sooneck was destroyed und remained a ruin until it was bought in 1834 by four royal Prussian princes. From 1842 until 1861 the castle was converted into a hunting seat. The original furniture of that time got lost. All rooms in Burg Sooneck were re-equipped with pieces from the neo-gothic and the biedermeier area which came from the former Prussian castles Koblenz and Stolzenfels. The castle nowadays belongs to the Land Rheinland Pfalz.

Links: http://www.niederheimbach.de/die_burg_sooneck.htm http://www.burgen-rlp.de/burgen/2_soone/main_b2.htm

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