<p>Panoramic view of the three distinctive hills, visible from left to right: Scharfenberg, Anebos and Trifels (by Simone Vaccari, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)</p>
  • Europe /
  • Germany

An immersion in the 12th and 13th century CE in Annweiler

Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Castle's entrance gate
(Gerd Eichmann CC BY-SA 4.0, WikiCommons)
(Gerd Eichmann CC BY-SA 4.0, WikiCommons)

After steep rocks, we now have the imposing Trifels Castle clearly visible on the hilltop in front of us. 

This imperial castle has much better-documented history with no real connection to the previous ruins.

 The building’s greatest fame came between the 12th and 13th centuries, at a time when the Hohenstaufen family ruled the Holy Roman Empire. 

The castle housed the imperial crown jewels, one of the most valuable repositories of the kingdom. It was a pleasant and recurring destination for Frederick I Barbarossa, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Furthermore, the castle served as a prison, and it is known that a notable inmate was kept behind these walls: King Richard of England, known as “Lionheart”. 

He was captured near Vienna on his return from the Third Crusade by Duke Leopold V of Austria and handed over to his Richard’s enemy, Emperor Henry VI, and was then transported here within these walls. 

According to legend, the minstrel Blondel De Nesle, an acquaintance of the Lionheart, went looking for his king, visiting castle after castle, hoping to find him. It is said that Blondel sang a particular song under the walls of each castle that only Lionheart could recognise. After hearing that melody, the myth says that the king began to sing the second verse, allowing Blondel to identify the king’s captive location and organise his escape. 

However, apart from the legend, Lionheart’s whereabouts were already known, and his freedom was paid for a ransom of 150,000 marks of silver.

In 1219 the neighbouring town of Anweiler, visible from the top of the central keep, was granted the status of a free imperial town by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, allowing every citizen not to be under the rule of any knight or other feudal figure bringing even more attention and power to Trifels. 

However, in 1602 the castle was destroyed by a fire caused by lightning and was subsequently abandoned during the Black Death.

Today the ruin represents a beautiful example of a regal court with a unique chamber that conserves the royal imperial jewels.


1. A breathtaking view

2. Scharfenberg

3. Anebos

4. Trifels