Within ten years of construction, in 1245, the fortress was subjected to its first test. For a year, it withstood a siege before the attacking forces gave up. In the centuries that followed, it gained importance as a customs castle, reaping the benefits of tolls, taxes and duties of those passing this treacherous part of the Rhine River. The wealth, power and strategic location of the castle proved it to be a prized possession of the counts, nobles and landgraves, and ultimately it become one of the strongest fortresses in Germany.
In 1692, Louis XIV sent a powerful army to try and take the
castle. He too was unsuccessful. The turbulent history of the castle came to an end in 1794, when it was handed over - without a struggle - to the Revolutionary French army. Sadly the walls and inner castle were destroyed by the French and rocks carted off for projects elsewhere. A hotel, museum and a few other sundry shops now occupy portions of this grand structure.
St. Goar is the small town that lies at the foot of the castle and is a
key stopping point for cruise boats going up and down the Rhine. We made it a day with about 15 other couples taking in a relaxing Rhine cruise past the fabled Loreley. Arendje took advantage of the extra people to get a picture. She said she wanted a bear hug and I was nowhere around. I was looking at cuckoo clocks.
On the boat we were serenaded by a throng of German tourists, doing what good Germans do, celebrating a beautiful day in their beautiful country, by singing songs and otherwise having a good time.