Landskron Castle

Landskron Castle, locally known as Château de Landskron, lies on a hill south of the village of Leymen in the Haut-Rhin department in France. This area is also known as the Southern Alsace, the Alsatian Jura or the Sundgau.

Landskron Castle dates back to the decades before 1297. It was situated on a very strategic site; an elongated hill allowing control over the Eastern Sundgau, the elbow of the Rhine river and the city of Basel. Before the end of the 13th century the site was contested between the proposed successors of the Habsburg king of Germany, Rudolf I. In the end Landkron fell to the Lords of Münch who ceded it to the Lords of Rötteln. The other party held another castle on the same hill.

The 1356 Basel earthquake destroyed both castles after which Landskron was rebuilt by the Margraves of Hachberg-Sausenberg.

Around 1515 the castle was adapted to the use of firearms and turned into a border fortress on the order of the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I of Austria.

During the Thirty Years' War, in 1638, the castle was besieged and finally taken by Swedish troops. In 1648, by the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, the lands and lordships of the Habsburgs in Alsace, including Landskron Castle, passed into the hands of the King of France. Later that century Landskron was rebuilt into a military garrison by the famous military engineer Vauban. From 1690 on the castle also served as a state prison.

In 1769 Bernard Duvergier de Soubardon, a French courtier, was imprisoned here. Apparently because he had flirted with a lady in waiting at the court in Versailles who had been favored by a Minister. Duvergier was kept in solitary confinement until 1790. In that year he was discovered by revolutionaries looking for political prisoners, following the French Revolution. Weakened and having gone insane due to the prolonged confinement he died a few weeks later.

Landskron Castle was set on fire in 1814 by the Austrian and the Bavarian armies fighting Napoléon Bonaparte. It was destroyed as a result and remained a ruin since. During the rest of the 19th century it was used as a quarry by the locals.

Between 1970 and 1980 the castle was used to house a colony of Barbary macaques. An association aimed at consolidation of the castle acquired it in 1984. Since then it is being consolidated and partly restored.

At present Landskron Castle is freely accessible during daytime. A very nice castle ruin offering great views over the surrounding area. The castle is situated only some 100 m from the border with Switzerland and the city of Basel can easily be seen.


Gallery

Landskron Castle

Landskron Castle, locally known as Château de Landskron, lies on a hill south of the village of Leymen in the Haut-Rhin department in France. This area is also known as the Southern Alsace, the Alsatian Jura or the Sundgau.

Landskron Castle dates back to the decades before 1297. It was situated on a very strategic site; an elongated hill allowing control over the Eastern Sundgau, the elbow of the Rhine river and the city of Basel. Before the end of the 13th century the site was contested between the proposed successors of the Habsburg king of Germany, Rudolf I. In the end Landkron fell to the Lords of Münch who ceded it to the Lords of Rötteln. The other party held another castle on the same hill.

The 1356 Basel earthquake destroyed both castles after which Landskron was rebuilt by the Margraves of Hachberg-Sausenberg.

Around 1515 the castle was adapted to the use of firearms and turned into a border fortress on the order of the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I of Austria.

During the Thirty Years' War, in 1638, the castle was besieged and finally taken by Swedish troops. In 1648, by the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, the lands and lordships of the Habsburgs in Alsace, including Landskron Castle, passed into the hands of the King of France. Later that century Landskron was rebuilt into a military garrison by the famous military engineer Vauban. From 1690 on the castle also served as a state prison.

In 1769 Bernard Duvergier de Soubardon, a French courtier, was imprisoned here. Apparently because he had flirted with a lady in waiting at the court in Versailles who had been favored by a Minister. Duvergier was kept in solitary confinement until 1790. In that year he was discovered by revolutionaries looking for political prisoners, following the French Revolution. Weakened and having gone insane due to the prolonged confinement he died a few weeks later.

Landskron Castle was set on fire in 1814 by the Austrian and the Bavarian armies fighting Napoléon Bonaparte. It was destroyed as a result and remained a ruin since. During the rest of the 19th century it was used as a quarry by the locals.

Between 1970 and 1980 the castle was used to house a colony of Barbary macaques. An association aimed at consolidation of the castle acquired it in 1984. Since then it is being consolidated and partly restored.

At present Landskron Castle is freely accessible during daytime. A very nice castle ruin offering great views over the surrounding area. The castle is situated only some 100 m from the border with Switzerland and the city of Basel can easily be seen.


Gallery