56346 St. Goarshausen
The castle of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen, one of medieval Germany’s most powerful lineages, looks like a cat waiting to pounce on the Rhine Toll. It was built in about 1371. Napoleon was the first to destroy this imposing castle complex by blowing it up at the beginning of the 19th century. Only the keep was left intact. Today’s partially rebuilt residential castle has Japanese owners and is in private use.
The continuous conflict between the Electors of Trier and the counts of Katzenelbogen is exemplified by the “Cat“ Castle, which can only be visited from the outside, as much as by its counterpart, the “Mouse“ Castle. It was the local people who gave the name “Cat” to the castle in St. Goarshausen, which had actually originated as Neu-Katzenelnbogen Castle in 1371. With this castle, the counts of Katzenelbogen wanted to secure their possessions on the Rhine and especially the tollhouse in St. Goar, which lay opposite - as well as deliberately setting up a counterbalance to the Elector of Trier’s “Mouse” Castle, which threatened its customs clearance. As many of the Rhine castles, it was ultimately unable to withstand the French troops: the Castle was destroyed in 1806. It took nearly a century before a historicised reconstruction had the ruin transformed into a magnificent residence. Today in private ownership, the Castle is the central highlight once a year on the Rhine in Flames occasion when fireworks are shot out from here, and Bengal light bathes the Castle in red light.