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The original Carolingian building of the Kaiserpfalz in Ingelheim was not fortified. Nor was it built on a naturally protected site, which was usually necessary and customary when building castles. Archaeological investigations have shown that the cutting of a V-shaped trench and the strengthening of the outside walls were first carried out in the high Middle Ages. The extension of a castle-like fortification was done during the Staufer period. The oldest parts of the visible defensive wall in the Saal area date back to the 12th century.

According to Rahewin († before 1177) the building of a fortification and the extension of the site was commissioned by Frederick I Barbarossa, who had found the Pfalz in a desolate state “neglectu et vetustate“. In this way the Pfalz in Ingelheim underwent drastic changes to its function. The representative palace of the Carolingians and Ottonians developed into an imperial castle, which served to secure the territorial politics of the Staufer. How effective the fortifications were is evidenced by the siege in 1249. William, the Count of Holland, needed more than a month to capture the place, which was called in this context the Castrum regium.

The “Saal“ in the lower part of the town is still marked by parts of the 270-metre-long defensive wall. The height of the remaining wall is 10.5 metres. Striking features are the strengthened footing on the inside of the wall and the supports above. The alurewas presumably roofed and accessible by wooden catwalks and stairs. Outside the wall was a defensive trench, remnants of which can still be seen as marks in the ground in front of the Heidesheimer Tor . At Karolingerstraße 5 it is possible to walk along the defensive wall and it offers a splendid view over the Saal area.

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The 'Solidus Karls des Großen': Front- and back of the gold coin

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