The imposing backdrop of the castle towers high above the Eifel village of Mürlenbach. Charlemagne's great-grandmother is considered the founder of the castle, and he himself is said to have been born there. The castle is inhabited today and can therefore only be visited at certain times and in parts.
Did the Romans already appreciate the strategically favourable location of Bertrada Castle? Did Bertrada the Elder, the founder of Prüm Abbey, or her granddaughter, Bertrada with the Big Foot (the Younger and mother of Charlemagne), already reside in picturesque Mürlenbach in the early Middle Ages? And was the stately castle in the Kyll valley even Charlemagne's birthplace?
A whole world of legends, handed down for centuries, has grown up around Bertrada Castle. And even if not everything has been proven with historical facts, there is always at least a grain of truth hidden in such stories.
Follow us on the trail of the Carolingians in the Eifel - the heart of the Frankish Empire.
Bertrada Castle is said to have predecessors reaching far into the past. It is said that a Roman fort once stood on the very spot where the castle was later built. It is said that the fort served to protect the nearby Roman road Via Agrippa, which led from Cologne to Trier. Whatever the case may be, there are numerous traces of Roman settlement in Mürlenbach itself, and remains of the Via Agrippa can be seen near the nearby village of Weißenseifen. Today, this is largely overgrown by forest.
Architecture and living comfort
Regardless of how far its history reaches into the past, Bertrada Castle undoubtedly deserves far more attention than it has received to date. It is considered one of the oldest buildings of its kind in the Eifel - it was probably founded at the end of the 13th century under Abbot Heinrich von Prüm. The castle was first mentioned in a document in 1331. Bertrada Castle has a polygonal ground plan with corner towers and is dominated by the enormous double tower gate. A wall with three shuttering towers, two of which are still preserved today, once enclosed the castle courtyard, which had another entrance in addition to the double tower gate in the north gate. But it is not only the architecture of the complex that can be described as extremely sophisticated. The living comfort for the inhabitants is also considered to be advanced for the time - all rooms of the gate castle, for example, were equipped with fireplaces.
You can find more information about the history of Bertrada Castle HERE.