Virtual offers – Digital museum visits and more
You can enjoy museum visits, wine tastings and music events in the Romantic Cities from the comfort of your own home. Our overview gives you information on upcoming events.
What a view!
From the viewing platform at the top of the castle keep of Alt-Dahn Castle, your eyes sweep across tree-covered hills. They shimmer in countless shades of green, reflecting the golden sunshine, or dark and foreboding in the wind and the rain. The forest is beautiful in all weathers. And at all times of year.
Here and there, you can glimpse the red sandstone cliffs amongst the treetops. They give the region around the little town of Dahn its nickname of Dahner Felsenland, literally ‘Dahn cliff country’.
It is difficult to imagine that it was all desert 250 million years ago. Sand and dust and mud have been formed into bizarre rock formations and baroque towers by millions of years of raging waters. They are real natural works of art.
The red sandstone cliffs were also a gift from nature to our forefathers, and formed the foundations for their castles.
One of the largest groups of castles in the Palatinate sits on five clifftops that are an average of 30 metres wide: the clifftop castles of Alt-Dahn, Grafendahn und Tanstein.
They were laboriously carved into the unfinished rock in the 12th and 13th centuries. The castles have changed hands over the years and been destroyed in various wars, before finally being blasted to ruins during the Nine Years’ War in 1689.
But what amazing ruins they are!
“There are very few castles with such an exemplary symbiosis of cliff and man-made walls,” explains Peter Blank, the tenant of Alt-Dahn castle, with a smile.
Where do the cliffs hewn by nature end? Where do the castle walls chiselled by human hand begin? The staircases and corridors, cisterns and fountains, chambers and towers are the perfect combination of nature and medieval architecture.
Peter Blank is responsible for the maintenance of the castles. He makes sure that visitors can make their way safely through the narrow corridors and chambers, scramble safely up the steep staircases and fearlessly breathe in the aromatic air of the Palatinate Forest from the platforms.
The castles are owned by the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Rhineland‑Palatinate, which looks after historical and cultural sites of this kind and makes them accessible to all.
A visit to the Dahn clifftop mountains is an adventure. A journey back through history, a test of courage for those who are not great with heights and a search for evidence for scientists of all ages.
Storms have turned the cliffs into a giant honeycomb or sponge structure. The stone is red from the iron oxide it contains. Sandstone is a very popular building material across the whole region. Many churches, bridges and even farmyards in the wine-making villages boast the warm yellow and red tones.
The evening sun reflected on the red cliffs and the walls of the Dahn clifftop castles is a desperately romantic sight.
Peter Blank and his wife have lived at Alt-Dahn for many years. They run a little restaurant serving little Palatinate specialities. “Living in a castle is really special. I grew up here. My parents had a restaurant here. I feel free here and hope I can stay for a long time,” reports Peter Blank.
On some summer evenings, the ruins serve as a venue for cultural events. So there can be a moment when the visitors high up on the clifftop castles come close to the stars.