Frankenstein Castle is a very old and spooky place in Germany. It inspired a famous writer, Mary Shelley, to create her scary story about Frankenstein’s monster. Frankenstein Castle (German: Burg Frankenstein) has earned the reputation as Germany’s most ominous castle due to its location and the way it looks. Now in shambles, the castle once was the source for many legends, myths and stories that continue to intrigue the visitors even today. The castle is on top of a mountain and is 400 meters high above a valley. People go there for fun and to be a little scared, especially during Halloween. It’s like stepping into a mysterious and thrilling world full of surprises.
Frankenstein Castle History
The name Frankenstein originates from the ancient Germanic tribe “Frank” and the word “Stein,” meaning stone. While several places in Germany bear this name, the one most famously linked to Mary Shelley’s novel is Castle Frankenstein. Located on the top of a hill, overlooking the city of Darmstadt, this 13th-century castle has long been the source of many legends and mythology.
Before 1250, Lord Conrad II Reiz of Breuberg constructed Frankenstein Castle and then adopted the name “von und zu Frankenstein.” In 1292, the Frankensteins granted the castle to the counts of Katzenelnbogen and established an alliance with them. By 1363, the castle was divided into two portions, each owned by different families of the lords and knights of Frankenstein. In the early 15th century, the castle went through expansion and modernization.
For many years, the castle served as a refuge and hospital, but it got into a bad condition during the 18th century. The two iconic towers seen today are the result of a historically inaccurate restoration performed in the mid-19th century.
Today, the castle is a popular tourist destination, attracting thrill-seekers and enthusiasts of the supernatural. It has become famous for hosting Halloween parties, adding to its attraction.
Frankenstein Castle Inside
The Castle Frankenstein today is not in the best of its condition as some of the other castles in Germany are. With only two towers, a restaurant boasting a vegan and kid-friendly menu, and a chapel surviving the ravages of time, there are limited touristy things to do, but the castle still attracts a lot of visitors due to its rich history and legendary status.
The castle’s descent into ruin began in the 1700s. However, in the mid-19th century, it underwent a restoration. During this period, the two distinctive pointed towers got a Romantic-inspired Gothic architectural style, which was fashionable at the time.
However, remnants of the original drawbridge and the lower walls’ stones continue to be popular attractions. The forests surrounding the castle are well-marked and offer ample inspiration for local folklore and legends.
Frankenstein Castle Interesting Facts
No other castle in Germany, or probably across the world is so etched in legend as is the Frankenstein Castle. Source of many stories of legends, spooky alchemists doing scary experiments, monsters, dragons, fountain of youth, and whatnot, there is a whole aspect of this castle that makes it one of the most interesting visits in the whole of Germany.
Legend has it that a dragon used to live in the castle and ate the villagers and their children at night. One day, Lord George visited the town and upon hearing the dragon stories, got into a fierce battle with the dragon, eventually killing it with his sword.
Another legend says that there is a fountain of youth in the castle. On the first full moon night following Walpurgis Night, elderly women from nearby villages faced tests of bravery. The one who won would return to the age she was on her wedding night. It remains uncertain whether this tradition continues today.
In the 18th century, a rumour came about that there was a gold rush in the castle, forcing the nearby villagers to hoard the castle and dig through it. Unfortunately, no gold was found.
Compasses behave erratically in the forest behind the castle due to naturally occurring magnetic stone formations. Local nature enthusiasts and practitioners of witchcraft are believed to conduct rituals at these magnetic sites.
Frankenstein Castle Nearby Places to Stay
Located in the southern part of Hesse, Germany, on the slopes of the Odenwald mountain range, Frankenstein Castle is one of numerous historical castles situated along the Hessian Bergstraße Route, popular for its vineyards and temperate climate. Thus there are plenty of accommodation options around the castle including homestays, hotels, heritage buildings and more. Some of these include Bed and Breakfast de la Mar, Halbersbacher Hotel Annaberg, Hampton By Hilton Kaiserslautern, Gartenhotel Heusser, Hotel Ketschauer Hof and many others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns the Frankenstein Castle?
The state of Rhineland-Palatinate currently owns the Frankenstein Castle. Originally, the castle was commissioned by Lord Conrad II Reiz of Breuberg in 1250.
Where is the Frankenstein Castle located?
Located at an elevation of 370 meters near the southern outskirts of Darmstadt, Frankenstein Castle is situated in the southern Hesse region of Germany, on the spurs of the Odenwald mountain range. It is part of the Hessian Bergstraße Route, renowned for its historic castles, vineyards, and pleasant climate.