Castles - Palaces - Manor Houses

Trifels Castle

by Bert Schwarz

Trifels Castle was not just a simple knight's castle, but an imperial castle, the favorite castle of Emperor Barbarossa. The most distinguished royal fortress of the Staufer period stands on the highest of the three conical castle mountains above Annweiler, the Sonnenberg hill.

Trifels Castle

Story, Camera, Editor : Bert Schwarz

© travel-magazine TV 2020

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The castle is 494 m high, 310 m above Annweiler, on a triple-split rock, which is 145 m long, 40 m wide and 50 m high. This is the origin of the name "Tri - fels", which means triple rock. The sun-mountain should have carried a ring-wall originally. Through the Salier, it got a wood and stone-castle. Only the Staufer extended it to the state imperial castle. It became the treasure chamber of the empire and place of storage of the imperial treasures (imperial crown, imperial cross and sword), the highest symbols of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Today the replicas of the imperial regalia are exhibited here. Trifels was also an important state prison, the most famous prisoner was the English King Richard the Lionheart (1193/94).

Burg Trifels © Bert Schwarz
Burg Trifels © Bert Schwarz

King Richard I Lionheart

To this day, the name Richard the Lionheart is linked with the legendary and transfigured idea of the ideal knight and energetic king. How does this myth come about? What is it that distinguishes the figure of the Lionheart that has served for centuries as a projection screen for chivalry and daring?

At Trifels Castle, Richard was confronted with a long list of accusations in a kind of show trial as a prisoner of the Staufer Emperor Heinrich VI on March 22, 1193. The English ruler spent more than a year in captivity - here at the castle, in the imperial palace in today's Alsatian Hagenau, and in Speyer, Worms and Mainz, the important cities on the Upper Rhine. A ransom of unprecedented proportions was demanded for his release: 100,000 marks, which corresponded to 23 tons of pure silver.