Learn the tales behind this mysterious medieval fortress overlooking Lahnstein, Germany

Above the mouth of the Lahn River where it flows into the Rhine, the legendary Lahneck Castle resides. The castle itself has played witness to centuries of captivating history, while its very walls have served as the setting for many a fascinating story. Many AmaWaterways itineraries along the Rhine River visit this captivating castle. What makes this medieval fortress such an intriguing destination to explore?

The Fortress’s History

Founded in the early 13th century, Lahneck Castle is one of the earliest German buildings to feature Gothic elements in its architecture. The Archbishop of Mainz, Siegfried III of Eppstein, ordered the construction of this elevated castle to collect tolls along the Rhine River, as well as to protect the territory and the silver mine that was located within its borders.

Over the centuries, Lahneck Castle changed hands multiple times and underwent various modifications. In the 14th century, the Archbishop of Mainz at the time strengthened the castle complex with two outer walls following a conflict with a rival archbishop. Despite the defensive enhancements, the medieval fortress was still heavily damaged during the 30 Years’ War. In 1850, the castle was purchased by Edward Moriarty, a director of Rhenish Railway Company, and it has remained privately owned ever since, undergoing renovations to restore the fortress to its previous medieval glory.

Legends of Lahneck Castle

Since its inception, Lahneck Castle has accumulated a plethora of local legends, creating a fascinating backstory for this curious medieval fortress.

One such legend involves the mysterious Knights Templar. After Pope Clement V ordered this military order to disband, the last 12 knights supposedly found refuge in Lahneck Castle, swearing an oath not to leave the castle alive. These knights were said to have perished during a heroic fight against the forces of Mainz Archbishop Peter of Aspelt.

The most famous story surrounding Lahneck Castle is the tragic tale of Idilia Dubb, a Scottish girl whose family was visiting the region on holiday in 1851. Looking for a vantage point to sketch the surrounding area, she ascended the stairwell to the castle’s keep, only for the rotting wood to break behind her once she reached the top of the tower. No one heard her cries for help, and her body was discovered in 1860 along with her diary. In Idilia’s diary, her last words read: All I know is that there is no hope for me. My death is certain. Father in heaven, have mercy on my soul. During your tour, you can see the stairwell up to the keep where Idilia spent her final days.

An Exclusive Experience

Led by an experienced and knowledgeable local guide, explore the castle grounds where these legends come to life. See the stairwell that Idilia climbed before her final days. Gaze out of the castle’s windows at the view of the river and town below – a vantage point that the Knights Templar may have looked out over as they defended the fortress. Walk among historic weapons and antique furniture, appreciating heirlooms such as the doll house that the current owner played with as a child growing up in the castle.

On itineraries that tour Lahneck Castle after dark, you can take in all the fortress’s splendor illuminated solely by candlelight, similar to how past inhabitants explored these stone halls at night. This fascinating destination is a delight for those interested in both the tangible remnants of the past and the tales that have been woven around them.

Experience this exclusive excursion on our Enchanting Rhine, Rhine & Moselle Splendors, Rhine & Moselle Fairytales, Treasures of the Main & Rhine, Vineyards of the Main & Rhine, and Grand Rhine & Dutch Canals (Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands direction) itineraries.

Contact your preferred travel advisor and start planning your Rhine River cruise journey today!

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