Medieval castle ruin Löwenburg, Siebengebirge, Bad Honnef
Medieval castle ruin Löwenburg

You have to climb a bit at the end of the walk up Mount Löwenburg (455 m), but it’s worth all your efforts. From up here, you have a wonderful view over the Rhine Valley and the the other hills. See the fog lifting up there on the Löwenburg, and the splendor of dandelions and other flowers in summer. You can visit the ruin of the medieval castle on the top, also named Löwenburg.

The Löwenburg castle was built around 1200 by the Counts of Sayn. Together with the Castle of Blankenberg high above the valley of river Sieg it secured their territory. Back then, the sudden dead of Henry VI had left to the Empire in chaos, even anarchy. His young son Frederick was only two years old, his widow Constance had broken with the Hohenstaufen and the Empire. Soon, a civil war broke out in Germany between Otto IV of the Guelphs family and Philip of Swabia from the Hohenstaufen family, and the Rhineland was devastated. An embittered feud raved between the Counts of Sayn, supporters of the Guelphs, and Dietrich of Landsberg, a supporter of the Hohenstaufen. Only the marriage between Count Henry III of Sayn and Mechthild of Landsberg ended the feud.

When it seemed that Philip had won and the war was over, he was assassinated in 1208. During the following years, Otto reigned as king and from 1209 on as emperor. But when Otto resumed the Hohenstaufens’ policy and went for Southern Italy and Sicily, the Pope broke with him and now supported Frederick of Hohenstaufen who lived since his childhood in Sicily. Again, a civil war broke out. For some years, neither Otto nor Frederick II won. Finally, Otto supported his uncle John Lackland of England in his battle against the king of France, and suffered a crucial defeat in the battle of Bouvines in 1214. Soon, the way for Frederick was open. In 1215, he was crowned King in Aachen, in 1220 Emperor in Rome. Count Henry III of Sayn, who had been loyal to Otto as long as he fought for the crown, now made peace with Frederick II and became a loyal ally. He was a highly respected noble and a courageous man, and yet he was accused of the heresy 1233 and almost was burned on the stake.

In the second half of the 13th century the old keep was torn down. Only then the castle whose ruins we see today was built. In the late Middle Ages the Löwenburg went through an eventful history until it fell to the Counts of Berg in 1484. It was destroyed in the Thirty Years War.

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