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Pfalzgrafenstein: the castle in the middle of the Rhine

The fortress castle Pfalzgrafenstein, the 'Pfalz im Rhein', is an extraordinary stronghold in the middle of the Rhine, across from the little town of Kaub. It has a six-cornered ring wall and covered battlements and is protected by a falling barred gate. It was built in 1326-1327 by King Ludwig von Bayern for the sole purpose of collecting the taxes of Rhine shipping and is comparable to similar establishments such as the Mäuseturm ("Mice Tower") a few kilometers up the river at Bingen. The taxes brought considerable income and to assure it, the fortress of Gutenfels was built above Kaub.

Today, the 'Pfalz am Rhein' is a special attraction of every Romantic Rhine cruise between Bingen and Koblenz. There was nothing of this romance in medieval times, though, when the boats were towed upstream by horses and the trip downstream was difficult and dangerous. No sooner did one pass successfully through the customs post at Kaub, when the hostile narrows at the rock of Loreley needed to be dealt with. Just one kilometer further on was the next customs post at St. Goar, where there was a perfect barrier of three fortresses, so that the powerful of that time again could fill their coffers.

Pfalzgrafenstein: the castle in the middle of the Rhine from West (Rhine Valley)
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