We were fortunate to visit many memorable castles during our travels around Europe, and one of our favorites was Burg Eltz. Although it was located in the Mosel River Valley, it was not situated directly on the river like many of its neighbors. Instead, it is perched in a valley upon a 70-meter-tall rock surrounded on three sides by the Eltzbach, a tributary of the Mosel. Nonetheless, it serves as a classic example of medieval architecture, and is striking from many angles.
It's also significant that the castle has remained a possession of the Eltz family for over 850 years, and it was never destroyed. The structure has grown over the years, and once housed three branches of the Eltz family. More details of the castle's history can be found on the official Burg Eltz website, along with many more photos. We toured part of the castle, but were not allowed to take photos inside, so the interior photos on the official website are helpful in appreciating the beauty of the structure.
On the tour, we learned the real reason why this feature was added to the home. The oriel window houses the private chapel connected to the upper hall or bedchamber of this section of the house. Since it was not deemed appropriate to have any part of your home above the chapel, the oriel window allows the chapel to have its own roof which is not covered by any other roof of the castle. Evidently the importance of having a private chapel attached to your personal chambers was worth the effort apparent in this impressive architectural element.