The furnishings of the Castle rooms are from various periods starting in the 1470 period and running into the 19C. We found there porcelain heating stoves of the 17C housed in many of the rooms. The only time we have ever seen such large appliances before was one from the same period standing in the main central area on the first floor near the da Vinci staircase of the Chambord Castle, installed there in 1748 by Maurice de Saxe (or Herman Moritz Graf von Sachen) who was then the owner of Chambord and the builder of the enormous equerries behind the chateau. On the ground floor was the kitchen.
There are various interior decorations to see. There are large rooms at the end of each floor. On the second floor is the Banqueting Hall and next to it is a hunting room. The Knights' Hall is the long room on the first floor. Each room contains 15-17C furnishings and 20C simulations of older frescos no longer extant.
There is a well in the inner courtyard that is 62m deep and covered with an old covering that has classic Gothic sculptures at its corners. Inside there as a spiral stairwell that leads to the first level of rooms.
The castle occupies the flat top of a broad plateau where in the mid 15C it was essentially destroyed. In 1479 it was rebuilt. From then on it added artillery structure by the Counts of Theirstein and others until 1633 when the invading Swedes destroyed it again. The castle continued to deteriorate even after it was transferred to Germany in 1871 until William II decided to rebuild it after 1900 by Bodo Ebhardt, essentially completing it in 1908 with much Neo-Gothic work and period furnishings. It was returned to France in 1918. There is an entry that once had a draw bridge and now rises to a small interior courtyard, deep well and kitchen.
On the way up, and down, from the castle through the steeply wooded pathway, and from the heights of the castle itself, panoramic and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside are visible at every step.
It is difficult to keep track of the many lives of this amazing castle that still dominates the landscape of the Alsatian plain.
Its origins date from the 12th Century; occupied by members of the Hapsburg regime during the 15th C. in1479 it was rebuilt in order to match its defences to the warfare of the time.
It was again reconstructed in the early 1900's - this time by Willhelm 2nd of Hohenzollern and now contains many examples of armoury and furniture from the 15th - 17th C - and my favourite pieces - the ceramic stoves.
Whenever I visit ancient castles, palaces and mansions I wonder - How on earth did people keep warm in those days!
Well if you were one of the lucky ones that could stay close to one of the beautiful ceramic tiled stoves, found in so many rooms of the castle - you would have been OK.
Notice the beautiful decoration surrounding the stoves on walls and ceilings.
We were fascinated to see that similar stoves of this style can still be bought in larger stores for modern homes and for conversions of older buildings.
The Haut-Kœnigsbourg is seen from far away in the Alsace plain, then, no wonder that the sight is wide!
The first photo is the northeastwards view. It shows Sélestat in the middle and Ebersheim on the left. Only a tiny part of
Kintzheim shows out of the mountain on the far left.
The second photo is the eastwards view. Sélestat and Ebersheim are on the far left while in front, Orschwiller can be seen on the right.
The third photo is the southeastwards view. It shows the villages of Saint Hippolyte, and Hintengarten.
We soon saw among the trees the silhouette of a ruin (first photo).
When we were closer (second photo), the ruin looked more imposing though roofless.
The third photo shows that the rocks that were standing on top of the spur have been left and used to strengthen the walls.
I found later that this castle was named either Petit-Koenigsbourg (small Koenigsbourg) or Œdenbourg castle (desert castle). It is the little brother of the Haut-Kœnigsbourg. Their history are tightly linked. It was built in the XIIth and seems to have been abandoned in the XVth. It is forbidden to go inside as there are archeological diggings taking place.
When we left the Haut-Koenigsbourg, we found that besides the path that went down to where we had parked the car, there was another path that we had not noticed and that climbed gently. A sign said that there was another castle at 5 minutes. We had enough time to have a look and went on the upper path.
The main bastion stands south to the entrance and protects the castle from any attack from the other end of the rocky spur.
The first photo shows the main wall.
The second photo shows the corner of the main wall, topped by a turret.
The third photo shows the full south side of the castle with its two strong towers.
At first, I felt that this was a perfect example of “oeil-de-boeuf” (bull’s eye) as it actually looks much alike a bull’s eye but soon realized that it could not be named that way : a bull’s eye is a round window. This should be then a machicolation of a special shape. There are several example of the same in Haut-Kœnigsbourg but I had never seen any elsewhere.
In the center of the main yard stands a fountain. It gets its water from a spring but as we visited in winter, in order to avoid icing, the people in charge had diverted the water and nothing was flowing out of the mouth of the grotesques!
The first photo shows the tower that makes the entrance into the inner castle and the Thierstein home.
The second photo shows the mill that allowed to ground wheat and make bread. The wings of the mill can be seen on top.
The third photo shows better the mill itself, a small wooden structure on top the roof.
On the left, a low wooden door is strengthened with imposing iron bars. Two tiny holes secured with strong grids allow to check who was coming. That must have been a servant’s back door but nevertheless, it is not really welcoming and unfriendly visitors, if ever they had reached this point, were very unlikely to be admitted inside.
On top, a laying dog is carved with something in its mouth.