|Location||Orschwiller, Alsace, France (Google Maps Location)|
|Open for Visitors||Yes|
|Owned by||Conseil Général du Bas-Rhin|
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg, located in the Bas-Rhin department of France, is one of the most visited attractions in France. It was originally built in the 12th century and renovated in the 20th century. Over the years, it belonged to several illustrious owners and witnessed European conflicts, proving that Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg’s history is deep. With the overall medieval vibes, this chateau also offers an outstanding view. Its deep history, medieval architecture, and fantastic panorama attract more than 550,000 visitors yearly.
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg History
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg was built in the 12th century by Hohenstaufens. Initially, this chateau was named Staufenberg. Its primary purpose was to watch the main roads of the region. In 1192, its name was changed to Koenigsbourg, meaning royal castle.
In the early 13th century, the chateau was passed from the Hohenstaufen family to the Dukes of Lorraine. They entrusted the chateau to the Lords of Hohenstein and Rathsamhausen’s knightly family. They held it till the 15th century. The Hohenstein family allowed some robber barons to use the chateau as a hideout, exasperating the neighbouring rulers. As a result, the chateau was occupied by Elector Palatine Frederick I in 1452. In 1462, it was set ablaze by the unified forces of Basel, Colmar, and Strasbourg.
In 1479, Frederick III, the current owner of the chateau, granted the ruined castle as a fief to the Courts of Thierstein. They rebuilt their defensive system to make the chateau suitable for new artillery needs. In 1517, the last Thierstein died, and It became a reverted fief. Maximilian I got its possession. The chateau stayed with his family for over a century.
In 1633, during the Thirty Years’ war, the castle was besieged by Protestant Swedish forces. After 52 days, it was burned and looted by Swedish troops. It was left unused for several years. In 1862, the castle’s ruins were listed as a monument historique of the Second French Empire. Three years later, it was purchased by the township of Schlettstadt to rebuild it. In 1871, the castle within the region of Alsace was annexed by Prussia. In 1899, it was offered to Emperor William II.
William II decided to rebuild Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg to mark the western border of his empire. He commissioned the architect Bodo Ebhart to handle the chateau restoration, which took eight years to complete; the work was completed between 1900 and 1908. The era of knights was re-established, and the medieval museum was housed within its walls. This castle became the hotspot of tourism in Alsace.
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg Architecture
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg has the shape of a rocky outcrop. It is surrounded by rampart walls and measures 270 metres in length and 40 metres in width. Most of the Haut Koenigsbourg chateau architecture we see today dates back to the 19th century. Kaiser Wilhelm II extensively restored it at that time.
The chateau has medieval architecture with a dramatic keep, drawbridge, wooden galleries, and a grand bastion artillery platform. It has an impressive view of the Vosges Mountains, the black forest region of Germany, and the Swiss Alps.
Inside Haut Koenigsbourg Castle
When you enter the Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg, you become a part of a journey back into the medieval era. The entire décor and Courtyard, mill, spiral staircases, arms rooms, keep, and cannons will give you a constant reminder about the original purpose of this chateau. Its unique atmosphere has also fascinated various filmmakers. Several blockbusters, including La Grande Illusion and Agent Trouble, were shot here.
Must-Visit parts of Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg:
- Lower Courtyard
- Great Bastion
- Inner Courtyard and the main staircase
- The Drawbridge of Lion’s Door
- Logis and Keep
- Inner Garden
- Medieval Garden
- Star-Shaped Bastion
Visit Haut Koenigsbourg Castle
Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg is located about 34 miles southwest of Strasbourg in Alsace, France. Between March and December, Shuttle buses run from Selestat train station to the chateau. You can catch the shuttle and reach the chateau easily. You can even visit it via your car.
The chateau is open for visitors the entire year. July and August are the busiest months of the year. If you want to avoid the crowd, arrive by 8 am or after 3 pm.
- Adults: 9€
- Groups and Students: 7€
- Children (16-17 years of age): 5€
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the castle of Haut Koenigsbourg located?
Castle of Haut Koenigsbourg is located in the commune of Orschwiller in the Bas-Rhin department, Alsace in France. It is situated in the Vosges Mountains, overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain.
Who built the Château du Haut Koenigsbourg?
Architect Bodo Ebhart built Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg under the order of William II. His goal was to restore the ruined chateau and strengthen his power on the country’s Western borders.
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