Marksburg Castle is a splendid fortress that sits above the town of Braubach in Germany's Middle Rhine region. One of the main sites that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Rhine Gorge, this castle is interesting for a few different reasons at least. For starters, it is the only castle in the region that has never been destroyed, and it doesn't hurt that it has more than 700 years of history to share. Of course, the scenic nature of this structure is reason enough to venture by for some sightseeing bliss.
The history of Marksburg Castle extends back to the year 1231, at least in terms of when it was first referenced explicitly. Some scholars believe that the lower keep may have been constructed as early as 1117, with the Noble Freemen of Brubach serving as the founders. Next came the Lords of Eppstein, who constructed a Romanesque complex that had a triangle-shaped layout, though this was not to be the final renovation project. In 1283, Count Eberhard II of Katzenelnbogen purchased Marksburg Castle in Germany. The Counts of Katzenelnbogen went on to build Gothic additions in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, but when the last of these counts passed away in 1479, ownership of the fortress was turned over to the Count of Hessen and the Landgraves of Hesse. These owners had intentions of fortifying the castle, and among other things, they put artillery batteries in place and constructed ramparts.
Following the breakup of the old German empire in the early 1800s, Marksburg Castle fell under the ownership of the Duchy of Nassau. This Napoleonic period saw the fortress being used primarily as a prison and a place for disabled soldiers to live. Prussia took over control of the complex in 1866 as a result of the Austro-Prussian War, though this ownership period did not last very long. In 1900, the German Castle Association purchased Marksburg Castle in Germany for a symbolic fee of 1000 Gold Marks. This association has maintained its head office at the site since 1931, and they also work to preserve other castles in Germany.
As is true of Heidelberg Castle and other castles in Germany, Marksburg Castle accepts visitors and can make a fine attraction to spend some time at. It is open daily throughout the year, and guided tours that last about an hour are available in English, with summer being the period when these tours are most available. Should shopping be an activity that you wish to indulge in during your Germany vacation, your trip to Marksburg Castle can involve a visit to the onsite gift shop. You can also get something to eat during your visit, thanks to the onsite restaurant, and worth noting is the fact that fun events such as knight's banquets are held at the castle from time to time. The knight's banquets see the staff dressing in medieval costumes. It is also possible to arrange your own events in advance if you are interested.
As a side note, you might take a cruise on the Rhine river and savor a variety of wonderful sights as you make your way along this famous waterway. It should also be noted that a ticket for Marksburg Castle will get you into a number of other castles in the area as well. These castles include Castle Sooneck and Castle Rheinstein, to name just a couple. As far as major cities that can be found in the area, Frankfurt isn't very far off to the southeast and can make for a good entry point via plane, train, or bus.