"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad



The Fulbright people organized a private tour of the Marburg castle casemates. Have you ever heard of the word "casemates?" We sure hadn't. So we weren't quite sure what we would be visiting when we arrived for the tour.

Below is the castle perched on the hill. (We tried for a long time to get this picture of the castle from a distance. It's still not quite what we had in mind--the street lights kind of ruin it--but it's as good as it's going to get folks.)

Before we went down into the casemates we toured a small building that had been orginally constructed as part of the casemate stuff (I didn't really understand how), but it was used as a prison from around 1500-1800. It was really creepy being inside the four prison cells. Our tour guide pointed out some ingravings left by the prisoners. Below is one that we found of particular interest. If you look closely you can see two plants, a cross and some writing.

Because of the prisoner's writing ability (it is a plea to Mary for help) and his sketch of the potted plants (only seen in castles or in places belonging to people of great wealth), it is assumed the prisoner was a person of nobility or at least of the upper class. Wonder what crime he or she was accused of?

Here we are descending into one of the casemates. Now do you know what a casemate is? (Nope, not a fiery dungeon.)

And here we are inside the casemate. The light had a red film over it because of an event that was held there recently. (Not quite sure why anybody would want to spend much time in that dark, cold, wet place.)

The father posing by a replica of a cannon used in the casemate.

So, there you have it. A casemate is just a concealed, walled-in place (usually within the castle walls or surrounding hillside) where cannons or other artillery are fired when an enemy attacks. There were several unearthed around the Marburg castle, some connected by a tunnel system.

Carefully descending more stairs before entering the tunnel. (Penelope awoke from a nap while we were down there and was quite confused as to what was going on.)

Another casemate. The woman in red on the left was our tourguide. She's German, but did the tour in English. She was very conscientious of her English pronunciation, so she spoke painstakingly slow. It took forever.

Inside the courtyard of the castle. Thankful to be above ground again.

View of Marburg from the castle. This is also when we deserted the rest of the tour. One casemate too many.

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