October 24, 2016

2838 GERMANY (Hesse) - Braunfels Castle

Lying at a height of some 100m above the valley of the River Lahn, an eastern tributary of the Rhine River, Braunfels is considered in nowadays a climatic spa. The history of the town is closely linked with the history of the castle erected on the crest of a basalt rock, which has been (and still is) the home of the Counts and Princes of Solms-Braunfels for more than 800 years. It seems that the house of Solms has its roots in the 8th century, but the first Lord of Solms appeared in a document in 1129.

Mentioned in 1246 as castellum brunenvelz, the castle was already in the possession of the Counts of Solms, who were resident in the area of the Lahn valley. In place of today's castle there first was only a watchtower, which served as border guards against the Count of Nassau in the West. This was expanded and by a (residential) Palas and supplemented by another tower, and these three buildings were surrounded by a wall. Over the following centuries, the castle has been extended and remodelled many times.

After Solms Castle had been destroyed by the Rhenish League of Towns in 1384, Braunfels Castle became the seat of the Counts of Solms. The town and the castle were severely damaged by fire in 1679, and after that both were rebuilt in Baroque style. Starting 1845, Ferdinand the "Hunting Prince" rebuilded the castle in Neo-Gothic style on the well-kept foundation of the original castle and reconstructed the knight's hall from historical records.

After the year 1880, Prince Georg gave the castle its unmistakable silhouette, with its many picturesque towers and oriels. Preferably Romanesque and Gothic style elements and also some of the Renaissance have been cited in the style of Historicism. The princely House of Solms-Braunfels became extinct with Georg Friedrich Victor in 1970, and the castle was inherited by the last Prince's son-in-law, the Count of Oppersdorff, who changed the family name in 1969 to Oppersdorff-Solms-Braunfels.

About the stamps
The first stamp, showing the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, is a variable value stamp, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp, Star of Bethlehem, designed by Kitty Kahane, was issued on November 2, 2013 with the occasion of the Christmas. The stamp was traditionally introduced by German Post with a sign of charity: five dots forming a plus next to the motto “doing good - help with stamps”. organizations. It reminds of the three kings, named Caspar, Melchior and Balthazarwere, who worshiped of the newborn in the Christmas Night.

Braunfels Castle - Official website
Braunfels -Wikipedia
Stadt Braunfels - Official website

Sender: Friedhelm / eyselbaer (postcrossing) DE-5654108
Sent from Bad Nauheim (Hesse / Germany), on 20.10.2016
Photo: S. Cordes

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