Compare if you will.

German castle overlooking the Rhine River.
German castle overlooking the Rhine River.

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)

Biltmore Estate in Ashville, Tennessee, USA. (photo from
Biltmore Estate in Ashville, Tennessee, USA. (photo from

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. (

Well, for this blog I’ll highlight a castle along the Rhine River in Germany.

Burg Reichenstein  Castle in Trechtingshausen dates back to the 11th century when people on the Rhine began to build fortified dwellings.  (

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.


Imagine waking in the morning and taking a peek through the steel and glass to see what’s happening on the Rhine River below.

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?


The music room and various other rooms for specific purposes were delightful to IMG_5209see and experience.  It seems like they were occupied only yesterday.














Guest House Falkenburg blends nicely with the rest of the architecture.IMG_5223

What a view overlooking the Rhine.

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.

The castle was rebuilt once again and was formally presented to the Counts of Palatine andIMG_5184 Dukes of Bavaria, who cast Reichenstein as a means of power in their dispute for the German imperial crown.


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

4 thoughts on “Is a Castle a Mansion?

  1. So amazing and beautiful. More than likely, I will never see this in person, so I thank you for posting. I will, on the other hand, make a trip to see The Biltmore now that I’m not that far away! Still not the same, though! 🙂

    1. Thank you. It’s like stepping back into history inside these old structures. I plan to post more from the visit to this region. I’ll think begin posting from some fun visits in the U.S. That’s the neat thing about the blogs is we get to visit worldwide through the eyes and minds of our sharing community.

  2. Castles in Germany don’t seem to be top ranked world tourist destinations, which is precisely why they could turn out to be so very interesting – just like this post. Thanks for sharing

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