The ruins of Thurant Castle (German: Burg Thurant, also Thurandt) stand on a wide hill spur made from slate above the villages of Alken on the Moselle in Germany. The castle is located within the county of Mayen-Koblenz in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate) and belongs to the spur castle type. Next to the castle which stands on a steep shoulder of the valley are vine gardens on the sunny side.
From the mid-13th century the archbishops of Cologne and Trier were joint owners of the site and had their respective property managed by burgraves. As a result, each half of the castle had its own bergfried, living and domestic buildings and a separate entrance.
From the early 16th century the double castle gradually fell into disrepair and was made a complete ruin during the destruction wrought by the War of the Palatine Succession. Robert Allmers (1872–1951) from Varel, co-found of the Hansa Automobil company and, from 1914, Director of Bremen's Hansa Lloyd factories, purchased the site in 1911 and had part of it rebuilt. The castle is still in private hands today, but may be visited from March to mid-November for a fee. According to the Heritage Monument Conservation Act of Rhineland-Palatinate, it is a protected monument which is incorporated into the state monument list. The entire site has been declared a protected zone. In addition Thurant Castle is a protected cultural object under the Hague Convention and displays the blue and white protection signs.
Pottery finds point to a Roman settlement on the hill spur, but the first record of the place dates to the year 1209.
Count Palatine Henry I the Tall from the House of Welf probably had a fortification built on the present site between 1198 and 1206 in order to secure the claims of his brother, Emperor Otto IV, in the Moselle region. According to tradition, he named the hill castle after Toron Castle near Tyros in present-day Lebanon, which he had besieged in vain during the Battle of Barbarossa during the Third Crusade. After Count Palatine Henry II the Younger died without male issue in 1214, Emperor Frederick II gave the castle and the village of Alken as an imperial fief together with the Palatinate to the House of Wittelsbach who were loyal to the Hohenstaufens.
As a result of its location in the land around Trier Thurant Castle was also, however, claimed by the archbishops of Cologne and Trier. In 1216 Engelbert I of Cologne succeeded in taking the castle by force. Although Pope Honorius III protested against this act, Engelbert retained possession of his prize until his death in November 1225, when the castle went back into the hands of the counts Palatine by Rhine. Following that, Duke Otto II of Bavaria appointed a knight, Berlewin, named Zurn, as the burgrave. Because Berlewin conducted himself as a robber baron and raided the Trier Land from his castle, Arnold II of Isenburg and Conrad of Hochstaden joined forces and besieged the castle in 1246 in the so-called Great Feud (Große Fehde). In 1248 the place was captured by them and, on 17 November that year, an expiatory treaty (Sühnevertrag) was signed that has survived to the present day and is thus one of the oldest German documents. In the treaty, Electoral Palatinate gives up possession of Thurant Castle and the associated estate of Alken in favour of the two archbishops.
The archbishops divided the site into a Trier and a Cologne half which were separated by a wall and each managed by a burgrave appointed by their respective primates. Each half had a separate entrance, its own residential and domestic buildings and a bergfried, today called the Trier Tower (Trierer Turm) and Cologne Tower (Kölner Turm). In the 14th and 15th centuries, both parts of the castle were not only Afterlehen fiefs, but also mortgaged properties (Pfandobjekte). Among the noble families who occupied the castle from the early 14th century were the families of von Schöneck, von Winningen, von Eltz and von der Reck. From 1495 the lords of Wiltberg were one of the vassals. They used the castle, which was becoming a ruin as early as 1542, as a stone quarry, in order to build a country house in Alken, the Wiltberg’sche Schloss or Wiltburg.
During the War of the Palatine Succession the castle suffered further destruction in 1689 at the hand of French troops and the castle finally became a ruin. Only the two bergfriede and a residential house from the 16th century were largely undamaged.
Geheimrat Robert Allmer purchased the site in 1911 and had several of its elements rebuilt in 1915/16. Since 1973 it has been a joint private residence of the Allmers and Wulf families.
- Klaus Freckmann: Einführung in die Geschichte der Burgen und Schlösser an der Mosel. In: Wartburg-Gesellschaft zur Erforschung von Burgen und Schlössern (publ.): Forschungen zu Burgen und Schlössern. Vol. 2. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich/Berlin, 1996, ISBN 3-422-06187-8, pp. 9–30.
- Martina Holdorf: Burgen und Schlösser am Mittelrhein (= Wegweiser Mittelrhein. Vol. 5). Görres, Koblenz, 1999, ISBN 3-920388-71-2, pp. 69–72.
- Gustav Schellack, Willi Wagner: Burgen und Schlösser in Hunsrück-, Nahe- und Moselland. Henn, Kastellaun, 1976, ISBN 3-450-19912-9, pp. 240–243.
- Gunther Seifert: Die Moselburgen - Zwischen Trier und Koblenz. Seifert, Overath, 1999, pp. 4–5.
- Stefan Ulrich: Arras, Beilstein, Bernkastel, Cochem und Thurandt. Beobachtungen an einigen Moselburgen. In: Burgen und Schlösser. Zeitschrift für Burgenforschung und Denkmalpflege. Jg. 49, 2008, No. 3, ISSN 0007-6201, pp. 154-160.
- Burg Thurant und Umgebung. Allmers, Varel, 1994.
- Source collection
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thurant Castle.|
- Official website of Thurant Castle
- Information and photographs of the castle
- Castle entry in the scientific castle data bank of the European Castle Institute (EBIDAT)
- Artist's reconstruction by Wolfgang Braun
- Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz (publ.): Nachrichtliches Verzeichnis der Kulturdenkmäler Kreis Mayen-Koblenz, Koblenz, 2013 (pdf; 1,7 MB).
- Eine schriftliche Überlieferung findet sich erst ab dem Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts in der Fremdenführerliteratur z. B. bei C. Rutsch Der Führer an der Mosel, Trier 1887. In den "Klassikern" der Moselliteratur von J. A. Klein 1831, K. v. Damitz 1838 oder O. v. Czarnowsky 1841 ist die Kreuzzugserinnerung als Namen der Burg nicht erwähnt. Ein Hinweis von Dr. Ludwig Mathar (um 1920) auf die Gesta Treverorum als Quelle ist nicht nachzuvollziehen. Dort zum Namen nur: Castrum aedificavit super Mosellam, quod Thurunum apellavit. Digitalisiertes Original, J. W. v. Goethe Universität Frankfurt a. M., S. 118.
- Paul-Georg Custodis: Die Entwicklung von Burg Thurant im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert – bisher unbekannte Fakten zum Wiederaufbau. In: Jens Friedhoff, Olaf Wagener (eds.): Romantik und Historismus an der Mosel. Michael Imhoff, Petersberg, 2009, ISBN 978-3-86568-518-6, p. 66. Möglich wäre aber auch die Namensgebung durch das moselromanische Wort turún, oder das vulgärlateinische turrÂne für Turm. Siehe dazu Historisches Ortslexikon des Instituts für Geschichtlichte Landeskunde der Universität Mainz.