Guirbaden Castle

Guirbaden Castle, locally known as Château de Guirbaden, lies on a mountain south west of the village of Mollkirch, in the Bas-Rhin department in France. This area is also known as the Northern Alsace or the Middle Vosges.

Guirbaden Castle is actually a complex of 3 separate castles, stretching from east to west.

The oldest one is the one centered around the ruined keep, built on a rocky outcrop, at the eastern end of the complex. It is thought to have been founded by Hugues III of Éguisheim in the 10th century to protect property of the Altorf Abbey.  It was however only first mentioned in 1137 during the consecration of the chapel in the western end of the complex. In 1162 the castle was burned by Frederick I Barbarossa in retaliation for the destruction of the castle of Horbourg caused by his faithful servant Hugues IX despite an imperial ban. Probably after that the castle was rebuilt and enlarged with a palas, the middle 'castle' of the complex.

The youngest castle of the complex, at its western end, was built between 1218 and 1225 by the Emperor Frederick II. It was built around the 12th century chapel and was separated from the earlier castle by a dry moat cut out of the rock. It was called 'Nouveau-Guirbaden' and it had its own keep. That keep survived to the present day and was called the 'Hunger Tower'.

Then the last descendant of the Eguisheim family died and Guirbaden Castle went to the Bishop of Strasbourg. Successive bishops then gave the castle as a fief to various vassal families.

In 1633, during the Thirty Years' War, Guirbaden Castle was burned down. Several years later it was restored only to be burned down again in 1652. What was left of the castle was razed by the French in 1657 after which it remained a ruin.

At the end of the 1960's the castle ruin was acquired by a local entrepeneur. He started works to restore it but in the course demolished several parts. The works stopped only a few years after they had started, leaving the castle in the state we see today. Since 2015 Guirbaden is in the hands of an association of volunteers who aim to consolidate it.

At present Guirbaden Castle can freely be visited, although part of it was fenced off when I visited. A nice large castle ruin. It will take a hike of some 45 min over forest paths to get to it.


Gallery

Guirbaden Castle

Guirbaden Castle, locally known as Château de Guirbaden, lies on a mountain south west of the village of Mollkirch, in the Bas-Rhin department in France. This area is also known as the Northern Alsace or the Middle Vosges.

Guirbaden Castle is actually a complex of 3 separate castles, stretching from east to west.

The oldest one is the one centered around the ruined keep, built on a rocky outcrop, at the eastern end of the complex. It is thought to have been founded by Hugues III of Éguisheim in the 10th century to protect property of the Altorf Abbey.  It was however only first mentioned in 1137 during the consecration of the chapel in the western end of the complex. In 1162 the castle was burned by Frederick I Barbarossa in retaliation for the destruction of the castle of Horbourg caused by his faithful servant Hugues IX despite an imperial ban. Probably after that the castle was rebuilt and enlarged with a palas, the middle 'castle' of the complex.

The youngest castle of the complex, at its western end, was built between 1218 and 1225 by the Emperor Frederick II. It was built around the 12th century chapel and was separated from the earlier castle by a dry moat cut out of the rock. It was called 'Nouveau-Guirbaden' and it had its own keep. That keep survived to the present day and was called the 'Hunger Tower'.

Then the last descendant of the Eguisheim family died and Guirbaden Castle went to the Bishop of Strasbourg. Successive bishops then gave the castle as a fief to various vassal families.

In 1633, during the Thirty Years' War, Guirbaden Castle was burned down. Several years later it was restored only to be burned down again in 1652. What was left of the castle was razed by the French in 1657 after which it remained a ruin.

At the end of the 1960's the castle ruin was acquired by a local entrepeneur. He started works to restore it but in the course demolished several parts. The works stopped only a few years after they had started, leaving the castle in the state we see today. Since 2015 Guirbaden is in the hands of an association of volunteers who aim to consolidate it.

At present Guirbaden Castle can freely be visited, although part of it was fenced off when I visited. A nice large castle ruin. It will take a hike of some 45 min over forest paths to get to it.


Gallery