Chateau de Haut Koenigsbourg: France

in Pinmapple8 months ago (edited)

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Back in August of 2021 my wife and I traveled through Bavaria and the Black Forest regions of Germany and on our way back home we spent some time in the Alsace department of France. The Alsace is a small historic region of the country that is one of my favorite places that we have been to. Its located close to the German border in the current Grand Est region of the country. It's made up of several historic and colorful cities and towns that are worth visiting but the two most prominent and recognizable would be Strasbourg and Colmar.

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Our first stop in the area though was to Chateau de Haut Koenigsbourg, which is a large medeival castle built within the Vosges mountain range.

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It sits up on a mountain peak overlooking the plains. As an added bonus the plains happen to be mostly wine country, which is just one more reason to love the area.

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The pictures of this post are of the exterior of the castle and the wooded area surrounding it. My wife and I and our dog went hiking there early in the morning of our arrival, before we went on to check out some of the other small towns close by.

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This was another one of those castles that we regretably didn't go into. I don't think that they allow dogs on the property or maybe it just seemed to be too busy for us to bother? Regardless of the reason, I don't have any photos of the interior but if you have been to the site and want to share your experience, please feel free to comment or post photos in that section.

History of the Castle


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Throughout its history the Alsace region was under the control of both France and Germany and driving through the area you get a sense that it was a highly contested spot of landscape for quite some time.

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Not only is it beautiful there, nearly every hilltop contains a castle or the ruins of an ancient one. There might have even been a bit of rivalry between lords going on as well. Some castle building competition perhaps?

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The ruins in the photos aren't one of the castles that I'm referring to, they are just some ruins that we stumbled upon during our walk in the forest. I don't know what they are exactly but I'm guessing they're remnants of a previous version of koenigsbourg.

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The first record of a castle being built on the site was in 1147. At that time it was called Castrum Estuphin but later changed to Koenigsbourg (Royal Castle) in 1157.

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Being situated at above 700 meters elevation, it was an ideal observation spot and was well placed as a strategic and defensive fall back point.

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The castle was costly and difficult to maintain and was eventually destroyed by citizens of the region in 1462.

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It was later rebuilt even larger than it was before, with a new defensive system that had the ability to withstand artillery fire.

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The castle is quite massive and you really get a sense for how big it is when you walk around its perimeter.

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It's outer wall stands tall and gives you a sense of how difficult it would have been to penetrate during an attack.

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The castle was beseiged again though during the Thirty Years War and despite its new improvements it was once again destroyed.

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That was in the year 1633. From there it was left abandoned for the next 200 years.

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The ruins became a monument in 1862.

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In 1899 the castle ruins came under the domain of Kaiser Wilheim II of Germany and in 1900-1908 he commissioned the complete restoration of the Chateau and transformed it into what you see there today.

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Here is a model of the castle that can be seen outside of one of the castles gates.

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The castle as it is today was built by an architect by the name of Bodo Ebhardt and it was designed to look as it did in 1479. It's basically a medeival castle that was actually built in modern times.

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After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the castle once again became the property of France.

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It became a historical monument in 1993.

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Today over 500 thousand guests visit the castle each year, making it a popular tourist attraction within the region.

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It was getting pretty busy by the time we left. The street was lined on both sides of the castle with cars and busses filled with tourists from both France and Germany and even North America. I noticed quite a few people speaking English that day.

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This is one of those places that you probably want to visit early in order to avoid the crowds.

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We probably spent about 45 minutes to an hour walking around the castle and exploring the surrounding woods before heading out to our next destination. You could easily spend a few hours on site if you did both the interior and exterior though.

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Chateau de Haut Koenigsbourg is definitely a good place to spend part of the day in the Alsace and I would recommend it as a destination in the region.

Well that's it for this tour of Chateau de Haut Koenigsbourg. For more on our trip to the Alsace region of France stay tuned, there's more to come. Until then, thanks for stopping by!

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The colours of the moss, the trees and leaves and in between the ruins looks great! Unfortunately, there were always conflicts between the rulers back then, but the construction of the castles is fascinating. The fact that the castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years' War despite the new defence system is impressive.

Yeah so many conflicts throughout history. The same can be said almost anywhere in Europe it seems and the world for that matter. Humans have always been good at fighting each other lol

The tip is good that you should be there earlier before too many tourists arrive. I wouldn't have thought that even visitors from North America would visit it, but it also looks really magnificent. It's exciting to read the story behind it and the conflicts. Then I'm looking forward to the next post to the French region of Elass!

Yeah the going early tip can pretty much be applied to any tourist site haha. They all get busier and busier as the day goes on.

I think the Americans love the old European buildings because their country is relatively young so doesn't have the rich historical architecture.

Were those buildings really made with clay? Or stones?

With stone. I don't know a whole lot about the specific building materials but I believe they were often built using different varieties of limestone.

Oh Okay. Thank you.

I think it's accurate to say that on pretty much every spot you stood, there once was a puddle of blood. It was indeed a highly contested area over the centuries, and hand to hand combat happened often around those castles. No wonder your doggy looks so displeased. Lol.

Haha yeah. That's probably true.
That's his normal face, he always looks displeased 😆.

If you ever wonder how to get in somewhere that doesn't allow dogs you could always stick him in your trouser pocket and hide him that way ;O)

Its an amazing castle!

Haha yeah. He's almost small enough. We have a dog backpack that we use and it actually sometimes allows him in to places.

I don't know why I liked that ruin so much. It almost feel like a miniature of the big one...Maybe it was an old chapel?

Great post dude!

Yeah a chaple is a good guess for the ruins. My money would be on that as well or some other remnants of the previous castle. I'm not sure if the new castle had a chaple built within the walls or not.

Beautiful photos, I love such old castles.
!invest_vote

Thanks!
😁

It does look more German, than French which is justified by its name too. A perfect combo of lush green forest and rosish brick. I like that the area around the castle is left untouched. Not too commercial.

Yes the entire region has a very strong German influence - the architecture, the language, and food...etc.

I remember once we were in the town on the border with Germany. I can't speak French and I needed to check something with the person in the shop. To my surprise, they could speak German! I only say 'surprise' because french are known for their 'love' for the French language.
So, does it mean accent is very different in that area?

I don't know about the accent really because I speak English and only a little French so I don't notice the subtleties of the language, but I noticed that everyone pretty much speaks German and French there from what I saw.

I miss those European forests. They are so beautiful. And the castles are incredible to visit.
I had view castle experiences when I lived in Poland and I really miss that.
Always wanted to take my boys there to show them.

Thank you for sharing and brining back memories.

Yeah the castles in Europe are really cool and there are so many of them all over the place, or at least ruins of them.

Hopefully you get a chance to go with your kids at some point.

That's one massive castle, I can imagine why it is too costly to maintain. The charm lies where nature envelops the entire property. Would love to explore the Alsace region more one day.

Yeah castles in general would be very costly and hard to maintain. Nowadays they require tourists to keep them running and probably government subsidies as well. Back then it would have been the lord taxing the people in the surrounding area to fund their up keep, I'm sure.

I have been always asking myself what would look like to live in a medieval castle... 😅
In general, I think I would love it but then in winter, I feel it would be a very cold place to live in 😂

I think you are right. Those old castles with all of the stone work would probably be very cold. I imagine them to be quite drafty as well lol. That's probably why they had so many tapestries on the walls. I'm sure they kept the heat better than the bare stone.

make some sort of game where you earn upvotes for going back to this castle in another hive blog , hide pieces of nfc scannable cards etc in between bricks etc lol for a crazy history art puzzle game

Haha yeah. That would be pretty neat. That would be quite the game.

Manually curated by ackhoo from the @qurator Team. Keep up the good work!

Thank you! I appreciate the support 😁

Thanks for this article. The pictures really highlight the beauty of the place and I enjoyed reading about the rich history with the destruction during the wars and the final restoration by Willhelm II.

I'm glad that you liked it. Yeah the history of the castle is quite interesting.

Thanks 😁

wow I loved the photos, nature gives it its touch, good post

Yeah the surrounding forest makes it a really nice location

I love the pictures and the history of the castle. Thank you for the tour!

You're welcome 😊

I loved the castle, the history and all the images of the post. very cool!

How i wish you made it into the building. Seeing and reading avout this iconic sight makes you to get the whole experience of an era and strech you imagination to experience it. Thank you for the wonderful post

Yeah I often try to imagine what it would be like to live in a place like that. It's too bad I didn't go inside to see the interior. I bet it's neat in there.

@cervisia denkt du hast ein Vote durch @investinthefutur verdient!
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Thanks for the support!

It was amazing to want to be in that place, what a beautiful sight.

I'm glad you liked it 😊

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