Castle Rolandseck was build in 1122 by Archbishop Friedrich I of Cologne, however, there may have been fortifications on this 155m high hill overlooking the Rhine river since 1040. The castle was build simultaneously to the close by abbey of Nonnenwerth. Its founding legend includes the knight Roland, who returned from his fight with the Moors to find his wife having entered the abbey as a nun (click here for the full legend).
The castle was destroyed in Burgundian War in 1475 and again heavily damaged during the 30 Years’ War. In 1673 an earthquake finally flattened the rest of the castle, leaving only one window frame, the famous Rolandsbogen, where Roland is said to have stood and watched his wife turned nun until they both died. The arch collapsed in 1839 but was restored thanks to an appeal for private donations.
Since 1894 there have been various refreshment pavilions on top of the hill, catering to tourists who came to see the Rolandsbogen, which became a symbol of the Rhine-Romantic area. In 1903 Konrad Adenauer, later the first chancellor of West-Germany, got engaged here and Gerhard Schröder welcomed Bill Clinton for dinner during the G8 summit of 1999.
In 2001 a fire destroyed the restaurant and it looked to close permanently in 2007, but in 2009 it was bought by a large catering company and completely renovated, re-opening in 2013. During the early part of the 21st century, a number of foundations of the original castle were also excavated and restored.
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