Castle Gutenfels in the German province of Rhineland-Palatinate towers at 110m over the small town of Kaub, which originally lend its name to the stronghold: Castle Kaub. It was build around 1220 and after an unsuccessful siege by Wilhelm of Holland in 1252 was handed over to the Lords of Falkenberg in 1277.
The castle saw extensive improvement works in the 14th century and was besieged again in 1504 for 39 days by Wilhelm of Hesse. It is this siege that led to its renaming to ‘Castle Gutenfels’ (good rock) although a local legend suggests this happened much earlier in the 13th century (read The Legend of the Unknown Knight).
The castle was conquered and occupied several times during the 30 Years’ War and was used as hospital during the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon himself eventually ordered it demolished in 1806. In 1833 Friedrich Gustaf Habel bought the castle and thus saving it from being dismantled and the 19th century saw a restoration of the castle although the romantic notion of a ruined castle was largely kept. Further restoration work was completed in the early 21st century and 2006 castle Gutenfels became a hotel and popular attraction along the Rhine river as part of the UNESCO protected region.
The castle also features in Wilhelm Camphausen’s painting ‘Blüchers Rheinübergang bei Kaub’ from 1860, showing the Rhine crossing of the 1814 campaign.
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