Falkenstein Castle

Falkenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Falkenstein, lies east of the town of Pfronten, in the Bavaria region in Germany.

Falkenstein Castle, located on a 1268 m high mountain only some 200 m from the border with Austria, was founded in 1280 on the order of Meinhard II, Count of Gorizia and Tyrol. It was meant to serve as a threatening symbol of his power to the neighboring Duchy of Bavaria.

Already in 1290 the castle was handed over to Wolfhard von Rath, Bishop of Augsburg. At that time it was called Pfronten Castle. Its present name, meaning 'Falcon Rock', only came into use from the 15th century on.

Until 1582 the castle was the seat of a castellan, appointed by the bishop. But because of its exposed location it was of limited use as a fortification and not a comfortable place to reside, especially during winter. So that year the castellan moved to the valley below.

In 1646, at the end of the Thirty Years' War, the Protestant Swedish army was on its way to the region. To prevent it from falling into their hands intact, the Tyrolean government decided to abandon the castle. It was then cleared out and set on fire, reducing it to a ruin. The same was done with the neighboring castle group of Eisenberg and Hohenfreyberg Castle. However, shortly after the destruction the Swedish army changed its course and never reached the area, making the destruction meaningless.

In 1883 the ruin of Falkenstein Castle was acquired by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He had already built Neuschwanstein Castle and intended to rebuild the ruin in a similar, albeit smaller, fairy-tale castle. As Ludwig drowned in 1886 these plans were never carried out, although preparations had started.

At present Falkenstein Castle can freely be visited. And although the castle remains themselves may not merit a visit, the views certainly do!


Gallery

Falkenstein Castle

Falkenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Falkenstein, lies east of the town of Pfronten, in the Bavaria region in Germany.

Falkenstein Castle, located on a 1268 m high mountain only some 200 m from the border with Austria, was founded in 1280 on the order of Meinhard II, Count of Gorizia and Tyrol. It was meant to serve as a threatening symbol of his power to the neighboring Duchy of Bavaria.

Already in 1290 the castle was handed over to Wolfhard von Rath, Bishop of Augsburg. At that time it was called Pfronten Castle. Its present name, meaning 'Falcon Rock', only came into use from the 15th century on.

Until 1582 the castle was the seat of a castellan, appointed by the bishop. But because of its exposed location it was of limited use as a fortification and not a comfortable place to reside, especially during winter. So that year the castellan moved to the valley below.

In 1646, at the end of the Thirty Years' War, the Protestant Swedish army was on its way to the region. To prevent it from falling into their hands intact, the Tyrolean government decided to abandon the castle. It was then cleared out and set on fire, reducing it to a ruin. The same was done with the neighboring castle group of Eisenberg and Hohenfreyberg Castle. However, shortly after the destruction the Swedish army changed its course and never reached the area, making the destruction meaningless.

In 1883 the ruin of Falkenstein Castle was acquired by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He had already built Neuschwanstein Castle and intended to rebuild the ruin in a similar, albeit smaller, fairy-tale castle. As Ludwig drowned in 1886 these plans were never carried out, although preparations had started.

At present Falkenstein Castle can freely be visited. And although the castle remains themselves may not merit a visit, the views certainly do!


Gallery