Philippsburg, situated close to the southern exit from Braubach, was built between 1568 and 1571 by the Hessian architect Anton Dauer for Landgraf Philipp II of Hessen-Rheinfels to be left in his will to his wife Anna Elisabeth, Countess Palatine of the Rhine. The defiant bulk of the Marksburg did not seem the ideal residence for this purpose. Philippsburg, the first Renaissance palace in the central Rhine area, and Rheinfels castle, St. Goar, which Philipp extended, were the Landgrave’s occasional residences.
The decorative Rhine façade of the three-storey main building was built against the mediaval town wall.
In front of it, on the bank of the Rhine, Philipp II had a new stronghold built which was designed to withstand artillery bombardment. It had two strong round towers linked by a curtain wall with gun-loops.
Landgräfin Anna Elisabeth lived here from 1583 to 1602, Johann von Hessen-Braubach, nicknamed the Warlike, from 1642 to 1651.
Hessian forces succeeded in defending Rheinfels and saving Marksburg and Philippsburg from destruction between 1682 and 1689.
When Philippsburg lost its function as a residence the main building in particular fell into disrepair. A renovation in 1804/05 necessitated removal of the steeply pitched roof and the dormers with their decorative gables and demolition of the entire third storey. The state of Nassau sold the site to the entrepreneur Johann Christian Heberlein in 1822 who made further changes which left the building in its present modest state. When the railway was built in 1861 Braubach’s town defences lost their southern fortified forebuilding with the southernmost tower (the ‘Muckenturm’) and the early Renaissance fortification along the Rhine. However, despite all the radical changes to the castle complex it still shows evidence of its former importance to the small state of Hessen-Rheinfels and the town of Braubach. This is a unique example on the Rhine of the residential function developing from a mediaval castle built on a hilltop to an early Renaissance palace in a nearby valley location.
In 1997 the Deutsche Burgenvereinigung had the great good fortune to acquire the Philippsburg to house the Europäisches Burgeninstitut, the European Castles Institute (EBI). After renovation and conversion of the main building the EBI was able to open its doors here in 1999, thus finally reuniting under the same ownership the two originally linked castles of Marksburg and Philippsburg. For its acquisition of Philippsburg the DBV received financial assistance from the Stiftung Rheinland-Pfalz für Kultur (Rhineland-Palatinate Foundation for Culture) while the interior fittings and furnishings were financially supported by the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Cultural Foundation of the German States), Berlin. A legacy from the Hanika family also considerably contributed to the purchase of the Philippsburg. In their honour the institute building is known as the Hanika-Haus.
The courtyard of the Philippsburg is also used for musical events and visitors can sample the local wines in summer and autumn. The other buildings have been turned into apartments.