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Home >  Castles and Monuments of the Northern Part of the Alsatian Wineroad of the Lower-Rhine (67)  Retour


The 2 castles of " Ottrott " 

11th century. Only one fortress dated from the first third of the century occupied the site. A fragment on enclosure, northern side, made of large blocks, dry assembled and not squared.
13th century. Three castles were built on top of each other, before the division was carried out towards the middle of the century.

Ch$ateau du Lutzelbourg Ottrott Copyright ARdVThe castle of " Lutzelbourg "
Castle on the eastern part of the site was at the beginning a castle of siege.
13th century. Construction of the pentagonal enclosure, with spur in embossings opposite the ancient castle, dated about the middle of the century.
14th century. Rebuilding of the cylindrical keep on the top of the stone hill and addition of a semicircular tower on the face opposed, to defend the access door.
1400. Rebuilding of a beautiful seigneurial palate with rectangular windows with mullions (indexed as being oldest of Alsace of Renaissance style ) and crowned of false-machicolations.
14th century. One notes an unquestionable similarity between the two castles. Their defense is enforced by the addition of a semicircular flanking, and of an angular weephole, in replacement of the destruction undergone during the Hundred-Years War.

The " Rathsamhausen " castle

13th century. The " Rathsamhausen ", castle located in the western part of the site, re-uses a Roman keep-palate, built at the beginning of the century, according to plans coming from Sicily where the knights of Ottrott had fought about 1196. About the middle of the century, addition of a cylindrical keep-belfry in embossings.
14th century. Rebuilding of the surrrounding wall.
1400. Addition of an astonishing weephole, having the probably oldest drain-holes known in Alsace.

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The castle of " Landsberg "

Castle built out of sandstone, dominating on one side the town of Barr and Heiligenstein on the other one.
1197. Construction of the castle of " Landsberg " by Conrad of Landsberg to improve the defenses of the abbeys of Hohenbourg (today Mont Sainte Odile), Niedermünster and Andlau.
1230. The Landsberg enters to the service of the bishopric of Strasbourg.
1413. The castle of " Landsberg " is given to the Counts of Palatine.
1504. It is confiscated by the emperor Maximilian .
1632. The castle of " Landsberg " was probably devastated by the Swedes, during the Thirty Years War.
Today private property.


The castle of " Andlau "

Granite castle opposite the town of Barr, its superb silhouette similar to none is dominating Mittelbergheim and the plain of Alsace.
1250 to 1264. Construction of the castle by Eberhardt von Andlau.


The castle of " Haut Andlau "

1344. Construction of the castle by Rodolphe d'Andlau who gives it in stronghold to the church of Strasbourg.
1438. The militia of Obernai enters by force into the castle, in order to get hold of Antoine Lambrecht, lord of the manor at that time.
1632. The castle " Andlau " is occupied by the Swedes.
1673. New occupation by a small garrison belonging to the Magistrate of Strasbourg.
1678. Destruction of the castle by the Marshal of Crequi.
1806. The castle is sold like national property.

The Castle of " Spesbourg "

Built out of granite, on the headland of the " Rothmannsberg ", at 451 meters of altitude, the " Spesbourg " dominates the valley of Andlau.
1246 to 1250. They are the years appointed by the historians like dates of construction of the castle .
Le Spesbourg Copyright ARdV1322. First formal mention of the castle.
1353. The emperor Charles IV nominates as assistant to Gauthier of Dicka, hereditary solicitor of the abbey of Andlau, the vidame Rodolphe of Andlau, Pierre and Henri of Andlau, specifying that Gauthier de Dicka will be allowed to transmit its rights and strongholds to Andlau if he would suddenly die without leaving any male successor.
1383. Gauthier de Dicka declares the lords of Andlau as successors of the " Spesbourg ".
1386. Gauthier de Dicka dies during the battle of Sempach (Switzerland) not leaving any male heir. The castle then becomes the residence of relatives of the Family of Andlau.
1431. Etienne, duke of Bavaria, invest the " Spesbourg " without defense. But the castle will be taken again the same year by the lords of Andlau, leading a armed force of 2000 men.
16th century. In reprisals of the mistreatment that a noble would have inflicted to one them, the middle-class people of Barr attack and set fire to the " Spesbourg ".
1830 - 1840. The counts of Andlau recover their property and sell the ruin to the Baron of Empire Hallez.
1890. The widow of the Baron of Empire Hallez sells the castle to the Doctor Alexis Stoltz.
1904. The doctor bequeaths by will the " Spesbourg " to the town of Andlau.
1964 to 1965. Realization of excavations and various works of consolidation.
1967. The " Spesbourg " is registered with the Inventory of Historic Buildings.
Property of the City of Andlau.

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The castle of " Bernstein "

Built at an alitude of 552 meters , on a rock piton.

11th century. First mention of this castle, built out of granite, property of the Counts of Dabo
1225. Disappearance of the Dabo Family. The troops of the bishop of Strasbourg besiege the castle and take it with the count of Linange.
1580. The castle is abandoned until the beginning of the 17th century.
17th century. The castle of the " Bernstein " is ruined during the Thirty Years War.
1789. The castle of the " Bernstein " is dismantled during the french Revolution.
1835. It is bought by Felix of Darstein, who made there built a house with dependences.
1932. Inscription at the Inventory of the Historic Buildings.
One still finds there a 18 meters high pentagonal keep, a main seigneurial hexagonal building, bored loopholes at the ground floor level and windows in full-arch on the first storey, and a square tower sheltering a castrale vault.


Le Ramstein Copyright ARdVThe " Ramstein "

The ruin of the " Ramstein ", located on a rock peak, defends the access to the " Ortenbourg ". It is a so called country house, other denomination for a tower of siege.

The " Ortenbourg "

Granite castle, dominating Scherwiller and the plain of Alsace. Very military structure with a splendid pentagonal keep offering an acute angle, used to deviate the projectiles of the attackers on the side of possible attacks.

1000. It is around the year 1000 that the count Werner of Ortenberg built the first castle, made out of wood or stone? Who knows...
1261. Construction of the " Ortenbourg " by Rodolphe of Habsbourg, future king of Germany, in order to control the valley of Villé.
1293. The baillif of Alsace, Otton of Ochsenstein, allied to Adolphe ofe Nassau, emperor of Germany, besieges the " Ortenbourg ".
L'Ortenbourg Copyright ARdV1314 - 1469. The Mullenheim, powerful family of Strasbourg, take possession of the castle.
1470 - 1474. Pierre of Hagenbach, baillif, to the service of Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, becomes Master of the " Ortenbourg " on December 21st, 1470.
1475 - 1535. The Mullenheim take again possesion of their good lost during the 15th century. The " Ortenbourg " given up by its owners at the end of the century, becomes an haunt of robbers.
1633. The Thirty Years War leads to the destruction of the " Ortenbourg " by the Swedes, on April 1st, 1633.
1648. After the Treaty of Westphalia, Louis XIV becomes the new Master of the seigniory.
1681. The seigniory is given in stronghold by Louis XIV.
19th century. The Faviers Family become owners of the castle.
1920. June 11, the Baron Faviers makes gift of the castle to the City of Scherwiller.
1979 - 1980. Heavy restoration works, in particular the keep, and walls, are made with the financial assistance of the " Region Alsace ".

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Castle " Haut - Koenigsbourg " 

The castle is located at 757 m of altitude, from where it dominates the plain of Alsace.

The following history is a courtesy of Dominique Harster, drawn from his book "Origin of the Castle".

Le Haut - Koenigsbourg Copyright ARdV774. Charlemagne makes gift of the "Stophanberch" or "Staufenberg" and of the contiguous grounds  to the abbey of Liepvre dependent on that of Saint-Denis, which will remain owner until the arrival of the Hohenstaufen.
1147. Construction of the first castle on the top of the mountain called " Castrum Estufinum " or " Castle of Staufen ".
1192. The appelation " Koenigsbourg " replaces that of " Staufenberg ". There are then two turns located at the two ends of the top, one pertaining to Conrad III, the other to its nephew Frederic III, future Frederic I of Hohenstaufen, known as Barbarossa.
1200. At the beginning of the century the field is given in stronghold by the dukes of Lorraine to the Counts of Werde, dukes of Alsace.
1250. It is given in stronghold to Cuno of Bergheim.
1267. Part of the castle is given to the stronghold in Ratsamhausen which occupy it until the beginning of 13th century.
1276. The " Koenigsbourg " is given in stronghold to the Hohenstein who occupy it until the beginning of the 15th century.
1359. The suzerainty of the dukes of Lorraine not being effective anymore, the duke of Alsace at that time also Count of Oettingen, sells the castle to the bishopric of Strasbourg.
1417. Mention of a "deserted castle" or " Oedenburg ": it is about the second castle located at the other end of the peak ?
1422. " Koenigsbourg " is always occupied by Hohenstein.
Orschwiller :le Haut Koenigsbourg Copyright ARdV1453. " Koenigsbourg " becomes " Haut-Koenigsbourg " to distinguish it from the borough located underneath, at that time named " Niederkunighsheim " known as Kintzheim today.
1454. Siege of the castle, overtaken by the Elector of Palatine Frederic the Victorious, then occupied by the brothers Jacques and Antoine of Hohenstein and Hans de Westernach. The castle was however not occupied by Frederic.
1455 to 1462. Inhabited by relatives of the Hohenstein, the brothers Henri and Regnard of Lambsheim, knights brigands who hold the plain of the higher Rhine to ransom.
1462. The castle is taken and destroyed by the army raised by the towns of Strasbourg, Colmar and Basle joined together to put an end to these plunderings. Still currently visible Roman parts come from this castle dating from the 12th century.
1474. The house of Lorraine gives up definitively its rights of taking advantage on the castle.
1479. The ruins of the castle are given in stronghold by the Emperor Frederic II (The kings or emperors from Germany becoming again of the immediate suzerains of the castle) with Oswald of Thierstein (died in 1488), Count of Switzerland and with his brother Guillaume.
1481. The Thierstein rebuild the castle then equipped with works required by the art of warfare of that time (Large bastion, small bastion, three enclosures) and at the beginning of the 16th century the " Haut Koenigsbourg " was the most significant amongst the strengthened castles of the Vosges. The period of the Thierstein will remain the nicest of the history of the castle.
1517. The last of the Thierstein, collapsing under the debts, dies out. The family not having any heir, Maximilien I takes again possession of the castle, which returns thus to the Imperial House of Habsbourg.
1519 to 1533. The castle is controlled and maintained by the military intendants of the Habsbourg (execution of works of defense - Bastion of star).
1533. The castle is been mortaged by the Family of Sickingen who places there a provost to keep the castle.
1596. The pledge is sold to Rodolphe of Bollwiller (deceased in 1616).
1616. Jean Ernst Fugger of Augsburg succeeds his father-in-law, Rodolphe of Bollwiller.
1633. The Thirty Years War : The Swedes, in war with Austria, devastate Alsace. The castle, defended  by Philippe of Lichtenau (provost assigned to keep the castle), is taken by the Swedes on September 7, 1633, after 52 days of siege and then burnt. It will remain then with the state of ruin.
1648. Louis XIV, sovereign of the province of Alsace (by the Treaty of Wesyphalia) becomes owner of the territory.
1672. Louis XIV takes back the castle ruins from the Fugger of Augsburg and gives it back to the Sickingen who owned it in 1533.
1770. The ruin of the castle is sold by the Sickingen to the Lord of Boug, president of the Sovereign Council of Alsace, whose descendants kept it until 1825, although it was declared quite national during the Revolution.
1825 to 1865. The ruin belonged afterwards to various owners successively. 1862. The ruin of the castle of " Haut-Koenigsbourg " is classified Historic Building and of works of consolidation and of safeguarding were undertaken by the Company for the Conservation of Historic Buildings of Alsace.
1865. The surrounding ruin and forests are acquired by the City of Selestat.
1871. Alsace becomes German. For the Kaiser, the castle is the unique occasion to mark as symbol, the western border of the empire.
1899. The town of Selestat offers the ruin to the emperor Guillaume II.
1900. The 9th of august, the rebuilding began with the keep.
1904. The association of " Haut Koenigsbourg " buys collections of fabrics, of weapons, of furniture, as well as objects having a relationship with the history of the castle, Alsace and Lorraine, to furnish the castle with pieces of furniture of 12th to the 17th centuries as of the medieval weapons or Renaissance, with the acknowledged aim to make the castle a museum.
1901 to 1908. Restoration of the castle by the architect Bodo Ebhardt. True witness of the influence of architects, such Viollet-Le-Duc and Bodo Ebhardt, both of large sensitivity and scholarship.
1908, on May 13th, Guillaume II is present for the inauguration of the castle.
1918. November 20th, 1918 the French soldiers occupy the castle of " Haut-Koenigsbourg ".
1919. The castle is classified National Palais (Article 56 of the Treaty of Versailles - Giving back to France the previously by the German crown owned properties).
1940 to 1944. During the occupation of WW II, the castle was used as place of fold for the collections of the Museum of Colmar, in particular for the world known Altar of Issenheim by Mathias Grünewald, as well as the tapestries of the Cathedral, the Town hall and the Museums of Strasbourg.
1944. November 28, 1944, an American troop arriving by the mountain from West, occupied the castle until the release of Colmar, which was used as a significant American and French observation post.

According to Dominique Harster
Free translation by J.M. Morere

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Visits : 
Ticket desk opening hours

The castle is open every day :
 - In January, February, November and December from 9:30 A.M. to 12:00 A.M. and from 13:00 P.M. to 16:30 hours P.M.,
 - In March and October : from 9:30 A.M. to 17:00 hours P.M.
 - In April, May and September : from 9:15 A.M. to 17:15 hours P.M.
- In June, July and August : from 9:15 A.M. to 18:00 hours P.M.

The castle is closed on January 1st, May 1st, and on December 25th.
The cashier's desk closes 45 minutes prior the castle.
Visits for Schools and extracurricular groups and visitors with disabilities
Tours :
Guided tour in English : In July and August, everyday at 11.45 A.M..
Guided tours can be arranged for groups by prior appointment.
Information :

   - Conseil Général du Bas-Rhin
     Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg
     67600 ORSCHWILLER
     Phone : + 33 3 88 82 50 60
     Fax : + 33 3 88 82 50 61.
     E-Mail :


Castle of  " Kintzheim "

1227. Gothic castle already mentioned in this time, one of best preserved of Alsace.
13th century. Construction of the castle, stronghold of Empire, by the Rathsamhausen, later, becomes property of Rodolf of Habsbourg.
1298. Destruction by the troops of the bishop Conrad of Lichtenberg.
1492. Jean of Hattstatt sells the castle of " Kintzheim " to the City of Sélestat.
1632. It is partly devastated by the Swedes, during the Thirty Years War.
1649. Jean-Guillaume of Gollen rebuilds the ransacked parts and renovates the vault.
1789. With the abolition of the privileges, Kintzheim loses its title of feudal field.
1804. The castle of " Kintzheim " becomes private property.
1945. WW II affected the castle of " Kintzheim ": the after-effects are still seenable today, on the walls of the keep.
Imposing vestiges: keep, Roman and Gothic windows, chimneys and vault.

Today used for a bird presentation, ,also called Eagles' mountain.

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