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St. Goarshausen

The town closest to the famous Loreley rock, pretty St. Goarshausen even calls itself Die Loreleystadt (Loreley City), and it's a popular destination for Rhineland travelers, especially during the Weinwoche (Wine Week festival), which leads up to the third weekend in September.

Overlooking the town are two 14th-century castles whose names, Katz (Cat) and Maus (Mouse), reflect but one of the many power plays on the Rhine in the Middle Ages. Territorial supremacy and the privilege of collecting tolls fueled the fires of rivalry. In response to the construction of Burg Rheinfels, the archbishop of Trier erected a small castle north of St. Goarshausen to protect his interests. In turn, the masters of Rheinfels, the counts of Katzenelnbogen, built a bigger castle directly above the town. Its name was shortened to Katz, and its smaller neighbor was scornfully referred to as Maus. Neither castle is open to the public.

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