Medieval castle ruin
Medieval castle ruin

Mount Rosenau stands in the middle of the Siebengebirge between the mountains Nonnenstromberg and Ölberg.

Coming on the hiking trail that goes all around Mount Ölberg (Ölbergringweg), a path leads to the Rosenau with the ruin of a small medieval castle. You will see the signpost “Aufstieg zur Rosenau”, ascent to Rosenau.

A small medieval castle ruin

A narrow, winding path takes you up to the ruins of the medieval castle of the same name. After taking a breath, you can walk up the stairs and enjoy the view of Mount Ölberg and down across the Rhine Valley.

However, you may not feel like the lord or lady of the castle there. The ruins you see are all that has remained of the small castle. As beautiful as the medieval brickwork in the middle of the forest looks today, we see that the stone blocks (trachyte) were only roughly hewn and used immediately. Obviously, Rosenau castle was built in great haste within a few years.

Dietrich von Rosenouwe

Since 1222, Dietrich von Dorndorf, a lower nobleman, called himself Dietrich von Rosenouwe, i.e., Lord of Rosenouwe Castle, that is the medieval spelling. Let’s go back to the High Middle Age. In the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick II ruled from his homeland Sicily. Our region had just found some peace after years of wars for the throne and also the archbishop’s chair. In the Siebengebirge, the archbishops of Cologne held the castles Drachenfels and Wolkenburg, the Counts of Sayn held the castle Löwenburg.

Now what did this Dietrich want here, and whose liegeman was he? Unfortunately, we can only speculate. He died in 1243, and in the same year his family sold the castle to the nearby Heisterbach Abbey. The Cistercian monks of Heisterbach had it torn down around 1250. The motives for that have remained in the dark until today.

Rosenau Castle
Rosenau Caste

Once there stood a hotel

Centuries later, in the time of the German Empire, a hotel stood on the levelled hilltop. A Siebengebirge guide from that time highlights especially the “good food, the beautiful hall, the lodging rooms, especially the large terrace”. Nothing has remained of this hotel. Today we can rest a little on a bench or in the refuge below the castle ruins.

What the historians leave in the dark, the bards light up in their own way. A legend tells us about a Maiden of Rosenau, who had been cursed in the Middle Ages and has been languishing beneath the soil ever since. When it is all quiet in the woods around the Rosenau, so the legend goes on, you can still her sighs. Other legends, however, tell us that this maiden could well help herself.

The Rosenau in the middle of the Siebengebirge is one of my favorite places. It is beautiful up here throughout the year.

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