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Ruins with a panoramic view

Perched high up on the second highest mountain in the Siebengebirge range, a paradoxical scene reveals itself to visitors: although the Löwenburg (Lion’s Castle) is marked by ruin and destruction, it radiates sheer irrepressible beauty. All that is left of the once impressive structure are a few wall remains that have formed a harmonious symbiosis with nature over the years.

Heinrich II did not, however, have Löwenburg Castle built on this exposed site from 1180 onwards just because of its idyllic surroundings. As a representative of the dynasty of the Counts of Sayn, he was probably pursuing more power-political goals: the castle was intended to protect the borders of his territory against the neighbouring Electorate of Cologne. Heinrich II’s hand was probably forced after Drachenfels and Wolkenburg castles had been built by the latter. Incidentally, the structure owes its name to the lion that can be seen on the coat of arms of the Counts of Sayn.

From heyday to ruin

The castle first appears in a written document after the death of Henry III in 1247. This document stated that his wife Mechthild should use the building as a widow’s residence. As she had no sons, the castle later passed to her nephews, Counts Heinrich and Johannes von Sponheim-Heinsberg. After several changes of ownership, the building came into the possession of the Duchy of Jülich-Berg in 1484 and from then on functioned as the official residence of the “Amtmann”, who’s office was akin to that of a bailiff. After this heyday, the castle deteriorated for many decades until it became uninhabitable in the second half of the 16th century. In the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648) it finally faced complete destruction. Some of the castle’s foundation walls were uncovered in the 1980s, so visitors today can imagine what it must have looked like here in the Middle Ages.

Spectacular view

Unlike many other medieval buildings, Löwenburg Castle in Bad Honnef is not steeped in mysterious tales and legends, but the listed ruins offer a spectacular panoramic view of the Siebengebirge mountain range and the Rhine. After all, the mountain of the same name, on which Löwenburg Castle was built, stands 455 metres tall. The pictures that passionate photographers take here are just as captivating. If you want to visit the ruins, be aware that the mountain top can only be reached on foot. But rest assured: it’s well worth it.

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