Wildenstein Castle

Wildenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Wildenstein, is a hill top castle above the hamlet of the same name, in the Bavaria region in Germany.

Wildenstein Castle was probably built around 1230/50 by the Counts of Rieneck to protects their lands from the nearby territories of the Electorate of Mainz. It was first mentioned in 1260 when a temporary peace was concluded between the Electorate of Mainz and the Counts of Rieneck, after Wildenstein had been taken by the archdiocese during a feud. The counts of Rieneck were then forced to recognize the Mainz rights and had to promise not to build a castle in the Spessart area anymore.

Nevertheless the counts started to built a new castle at Eschau, to which the archbishop obviously protested again. A new peace was concluded in 1261; the counts were forbidden to build any fortification and the newly built castle at Eschau was destroyed by the archdiocese. After that the archbishop himself started to built a new castle near Eschau. The counts protested and started to restore Wildenstein Castle.

In 1266 a new peace was concluded in which the counts were forced to mortgage Wildenstein Castle to the archdiocese. From then on the castle stayed a fief of the Counts of Rieneck and was managed by bailiffs.

In 1520 the Von Rieneck family died out and the castle went to the Electorate of the Palatinate, who handed it to the Count of Erbach. This count didn't have any interest in it and the castle fell into decay. The last recorded bailiff died in the dilapidated castle in 1689. After that the castle fell to ruin.

The ruins of Wildenstein Castle are said to have been used by shepherds until the 19th century.

At the end of March 1945 the castle lay in the frontline of a battle between Allied and German forces. Around 100 locals then hid in the cellars of the ruined castle to seek shelter from Allied shelling. Amongst them were a few German soldiers, who were overlooked by the American soldiers who entered the cellars afterwards.

At present Wildenstein Castle is freely accessible. At least, that was when I visited. There are archaeological excavations and some rebuilding going on, so that might restrict access. A nice quiet little ruin.


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Wildenstein Castle

Wildenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Wildenstein, is a hill top castle above the hamlet of the same name, in the Bavaria region in Germany.

Wildenstein Castle was probably built around 1230/50 by the Counts of Rieneck to protects their lands from the nearby territories of the Electorate of Mainz. It was first mentioned in 1260 when a temporary peace was concluded between the Electorate of Mainz and the Counts of Rieneck, after Wildenstein had been taken by the archdiocese during a feud. The counts of Rieneck were then forced to recognize the Mainz rights and had to promise not to build a castle in the Spessart area anymore.

Nevertheless the counts started to built a new castle at Eschau, to which the archbishop obviously protested again. A new peace was concluded in 1261; the counts were forbidden to build any fortification and the newly built castle at Eschau was destroyed by the archdiocese. After that the archbishop himself started to built a new castle near Eschau. The counts protested and started to restore Wildenstein Castle.

In 1266 a new peace was concluded in which the counts were forced to mortgage Wildenstein Castle to the archdiocese. From then on the castle stayed a fief of the Counts of Rieneck and was managed by bailiffs.

In 1520 the Von Rieneck family died out and the castle went to the Electorate of the Palatinate, who handed it to the Count of Erbach. This count didn't have any interest in it and the castle fell into decay. The last recorded bailiff died in the dilapidated castle in 1689. After that the castle fell to ruin.

The ruins of Wildenstein Castle are said to have been used by shepherds until the 19th century.

At the end of March 1945 the castle lay in the frontline of a battle between Allied and German forces. Around 100 locals then hid in the cellars of the ruined castle to seek shelter from Allied shelling. Amongst them were a few German soldiers, who were overlooked by the American soldiers who entered the cellars afterwards.

At present Wildenstein Castle is freely accessible. At least, that was when I visited. There are archaeological excavations and some rebuilding going on, so that might restrict access. A nice quiet little ruin.


Gallery