The Klause Kastel
The Klause Kastel is carved out of the sandstone cliffs, on a plateau offering visitors an impressive view over the Saar valley. The niches hewn in the sandstone in the early Middle Ages can be visited. These rock chambers are understood to be replicas of the holy places on Mount Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre. A further highlight of the hermitage is the extension of the original chapel to create a funerary chapel, which was undertaken by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel on behalf of Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm.
The plateau was reinforced with ramparts as long ago as 400 BCE and was used as a staging post. The rock chambers of a Christian nature were followed in around 1600 by the construction of a two-storey hermit's chapel as a place of retreat. The Klause Kastel was used for prayer until it was besieged by the French, and then it fell into decline. The later King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm, was so impressed by the hermitage on his visit to the Rhineland in around 1833 that he gave instructions for it be converted into a grave chapel to hold the bones of the blind King Johann of Bohemia, whom he revered as an ancestor. The Gothic ribbed vaults were retained, but Karl Friedrich Schinkel also incorporated Romanesque elements and thus created an architectural highlight of German Romanticism.