16. Rheinstein Castle — Burg Rheinstein Built on a rocky cliff above the Rhine, this castle of the XIII century is considered one of the main symbols of the Rhine romance and is a World Heritage Site. It was badly damaged in the XVIII century.
Later came into the possession of the Prussian Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, and was rebuilt in the style of historicism. In 1975 the castle was bought opera singer Herman Heher, then invested substantial funds for its repair.
The castle was constructed in about 1316/1317. Rheinstein Castle was important for its strategic location. By 1344, the castle was in decline. By the time of the Palatine War of Succession, the castle was very dilapidated. During the romantic period in the 19th century, Prince Frederick of Prussia (1794–1863) bought the castle and it was rebuilt.
Burg Rheinstein possesses a working drawbridge and portcullis, which are typical of medieval castle architecture and defences. The castle is open to the public. Just past the gift shop near the entrance is an opening on the left to the courtyard, which offers a spectacular view of the Rhine. Rheinstein’s courtyard is known as the Burgundy Garden after the Burgundy grape vine growing there. The vine, which is approximately 500 years old, still produces grapes.
From the garden, steps lead down to the castle chapel. In the centre of the Gothic altar piece of the chapel there is a woodcarving depicting Jesus at the Last Supper. Between the rock and chapel, additional steps lead down to the royal crypt of Prince Frederick William Louis’s family.