Compare if you will.
A castle is a large building usually with high, thick walls and towers that was built in the past to protect against attack, or a large expensive house. (Merriam-Webster)
A mansion is a large and impressive house, or the large house of a wealthy person. (Merriam-Webster)
The eight-thousand acre Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina is considered the largest home in the United States. Its backyard is the Blue Ridge Mountains. (Biltmore.com)
Well, for this blog I’ll highlight a castle along the Rhine River in Germany.
I think there was a difference in the past concerning the security level of the German populace compared to the U.S. populace. Why else would there not be “castles” in the U.S.? Those wealthy enough in the U.S. apparently built for comfort and status as compared to a dwelling for defense and security in Europe. And – of course there is a difference in time too since the U.S. was formed much later.
It seems to me that the U.S. populace eventually relied more on government entities to establish forts and defensive structures to protect the populace as compared to individual families building a structure such as the castles in Europe.
However, I’m sure there are variances of opinion and this thought isn’t absolute.
The thoughts arose while visiting Burg Reichenstein in Germany. It was a very meaningful visit and I just felt taken back in time. My first impression was the “macho” feel instead of inside warmth. Corridors were adorned with relics of the hunt or warfare. But wasn’t that the lifestyle back then?
Regardless, walking through the castle was most intriguing as we reflected on the lifestyle of the era. Can you imagine waking up in the morning adorned with the ornate, masculine and in some places feminine surroundings?
Furnishings look fanciful and unique in an airy, open connecting room.
This blog can’t possibly highlight sufficiently the entire uniqueness, structure and furnishings of the Burg Reichenstein. The group tour was very enlightening and I could definitely stay there longer, just absorbing the surroundings.
From what I could determine the Burg Reichenstein was self-contained, including a worship chapel. I wonder how much interaction was made with the general citizens?
Practically every direction and angle you walk there is something that draws you.
Some of the structure has been rebuilt over the years from its early beginnings in the 11th century. The first documented mention of Reichenstein in 1213 names the archabbey of Komelimunster-Aachen as possessor of the castle.
According to the museum brochure the Rhenish League of Towns destroyed the castle in 1253 due to some opposition. After recon- struction the castle was sold to the archbishop of Mainz about 1270.
In 1282 there was opposition by the Mainz castellans and the castle was destroyed the second time.
In my humble opinion the threats seem to have come from within more than external for which the castle was built.
In 1934 the emperor decided that the castle belonged to the archbishop of Mainz.
Mainz remained the possessor until the end of the 18th century. After various changes of ownership the castle was passed to the Baron Kirsh-Puricelli family.
Several generations of the family restored the castle to its ancient form.
A separate blog will be dedicated to another castle along the Rhine River in Heidelberg. Guess which one that is?
By the way, some of the most prominent and beautiful castles in Germany are identified at http://www.touropia.com/castles-in-germany/.