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8-08-2015, 16:14

The Village of Kaub and the Pfalz

At the foot of the mountain, beside the river, the village of Kaub was once the toll collection point and a river pilot station. Today it is a picturesque wine town. The most distinctive building of this complex is the Pfalzgrafenstein (usually shortened to “the Pfalz”). In 1326–27 Ludwig of Bavaria built a small fortress on a rock in midstream in order to control shipping on the river and also to help break up the winter ice. At first the river castle consisted of a five-sided tower six stories high. In 1338–42 a six-sided turreted outer wall was added. (The curving roof is a Baroque addition.) The castle continued in government use into the nineteenth century and still works as a breakwater. Since it can be reached only by boat, it never became a restaurant—the fate of many German castles— and in 1967–75 it was restored to its original brilliant white plaster and red stained wood. The castles of the Rhine helped inspire the romantic revival and the creation of a German identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today they are an important part of Germany’s tourist industry.