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After learning about the Heunesäulen in Mainz, Hubby and I returned to Miltenberg to see a similar column from the original 42 piece set. While the Heunesäulen is old, just how old and what it was built for still is up for debate. In Mainz, we mistakenly believe the column was from Roman times; however, further review and assistance from local girl and VTer Trekki, we have come to the conclusion that it is not a Roman column.
What is it? Well, that answer is still very much in debate. What we do know is that this column, along with an original 41 others, came from the town of Miltenberg. There are only a few remaining, which today are on display in Mainz, Munich and Nüremberg. The columns, each weighing around 145 tons, are believed to have been quarried and made in Miltenberg and were to be shipped to Mainz as part of an 11th century reconstruction project for the cathedral, which had suffered destruction from a fire. However, the columns were never used and only a handful of them exist today.
While this is the current thought about the columns, others believe that they could be from an earlier medieval period, based on a similar stone in Trier that was quarried from the Odenwald (not far from Miltenberg). And some still believe that they are possibly from an even earlier time period dating back to Constantine.
The Miltenberg Heunesäulen is in a less prominent spot than the Mainz one (which is located in the center of the Domplatz and central market square) – it is on the waterfront between the Main River and a parking lot. Only a small sign at the floral base of the column gives a clue to its origins (and then, only if you can read German). It is a rather pretty display and worth a look at if you are down by the river.
Written Oct 17, 2012
Climbing towers – it’s what we do! Hubby loves to climb towers; the more steps the better. And so, never one to miss a tower if it is there (and open for climbing), we headed back to Schloss Mildenberg. The first time we were here, the castle was closed as they prepared for a wedding. But this time around, it was open for visitors. There is a museum in the castle keep, but we only wanted to explore the keep and the tower on this visit. It was just starting to rain a bit, but that did not deter us from our mission.
Upon entrance to the castle, there is a ticket counter on the right – from here we paid a one euro admission (price is only for keep and tower – not for museum which is an added fee). After wandering a bit in the keep, we located the steps that led us up along the castle wall to a bridge leading to the tower entrance.
We’ve been in much taller towers, but the Mildenberg tower was still very unique. It was square and the wooden steps were very well done. Oftentimes it seems that any piece of rough wood is nailed into place for steps or handrails. But the Mildenberg steps and handrails were smoothed and stylish; it was pleasing to see some love and care put into the old tower. There were only about 200 steps up (not including the castle wall steps) and they were not a claustrophobic spiral staircase in a corner, but rather the open steps went up along the sides of the tower’s interior.
Upon first entering, there is a window in the floor that allows you to see down the tower, giving you the idea that the tower is really much bigger than just the part you are visiting. There are a couple levels as you make the climb. One has the remains of a fireplace – look up it and you can see the light from outside. Another level has a wonderful Romanesque arch in it. We studied this for a bit – judging from the change in the stones, my guess is that it used to be the top level and then another level was built on top of it. Once you reach the top, you can walk outside for a beautiful 360-degree view of the town, the river Main, and the castle.
Climbing the tower isn’t too difficult and even small children could do it rather easily and safely. I recommend it when visiting Schloss Mildenberg.
Written Oct 17, 2012
On my third visit to Miltenberg, Hubby and I found a new pathway from the pedestrian area that led us up to the pathway that would eventually get us to the castle. Along this path, we found some cute houses and then happened upon an old Jewish cemetery that dates back to the 15th century. New graves are no longer placed within this cemetery (the sign says this stopped in 1904). The cemetery was just outside the town wall as you can still see the ruins of the wall next to it, and we crossed through one of the gates along the pathway.
But the area had an abandoned, romantic look about it (although probably a bit eerie at night). The headstones were carved in Hebrew and the grounds were a bit wild looking due to lack of a recent mowing. It didn't appear to have been visited by anyone lately as I didn't see the usual memorials of stones and notes on the gravestones. This was an interesting place to stop and take photos before continuing up to the castle.
Written Oct 15, 2012
While Hubby walked trance-like into an ice cream shop, I noticed a statue under a grove of trees near the center of town. Having been to Miltenberg twice before, typically this area is full of tables and people sitting around them, which is why I probably never noticed it before.
The statue, a man leaning onto a podium with a book and feather pen in hand, is of Joseph Martin Kraus. Kraus was born in Miltenberg and was a composer in the 1700s, serving as Kapellmeister to King Gustav III in Sweden. The king paid for Kraus to go on a five year educational tour of European cities, after which Kraus returned to Stockholm to use this newfound knowledge in the king’s service.
Kraus was a rather prolific composer, especially considering that he died at the relatively young age of 36 in Stockholm. He is often referred to as “the Swedish Mozart.”
Written Oct 15, 2012
We saw the castle on the hill while we were walking in the town. From the Marktplatz, we followed the trail that led through the gated tower uphill towards a road that would lead us to the castle. Once we passed through the tower, we immediately went left uphill to an area that gave us a good view of the castle before we started walking along the road, through an arched gateway, and on to the castle. The road wasn’t used much and was rather quiet. We passed only a car and a handful of other people.
The castle was a medieval fortress that was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The front is obviously different from the back of this castle.
After reaching the castle, we walked around it and took in the view of the river and Miltenberg from the vantage point on the hill. You can go into the castle from April-October (closed Mondays), but unfortunately on the day we were visiting, they were setting up for a wedding and the castle was closed. We were able to walk around the outside before heading back to town. We’ll have to head back another time to go into the castle where I read that there is a unique carved stone monument from early Germanic times (called the Teutonenstein).
Update: We returned to Miltenberg in October 2012 to revist Schloß Mildenburg, hoping that it would be open this time. We were not disappointed. Prior to our visit, we had also learned that there was a tower in the castle, something that I did not remember seeing on our earlier visit (how can you miss a tower?). We were not disappointed.
The castle was indeed open as well as the museum within the castle grounds. We were not interested in touring the museum at this time, so we only paid €1 each to visit the keep and the tower. The inner courtyard of the castle is an interesting mix of old and new. I prefer the old castles of stone, which is visible once you are inside (from the outside is the newer updated castle look). There is the old wall around the castle, which has steps built in leading you up to the tower.
An added bonus: the ticket counter also serves as a refreshment stand. On our visit, wonderful smells of cake and pretzels were coming from the building and we indulged in a German pretzel before we left the castle. There is also a bathroom (clean and free) next to the ticket office.
Updated Oct 15, 2012
We happened to be at Miltenberg on a Saturday, when the market's are held.
It was bad luck we were too early, as the Stall's were only being set up on the lawn by the River Main. There were many stall's, and I believe it is a mix of old and new for sale.
Written Jan 3, 2012
Address: Main river bank @ Miltenberg
Built in the 13th by the Archbishops of Mainz, Mildenburg Castle, located on the northern edge of Greinburg Hill, was used as defense for the Town. The tower is the oldest part of the Castle.
The castle was extended several times, some being rebuilt after the destruction during the Margrave war. From 1807-1979, the Castle was privately owned, and since 1979 is owned by the Town of Miltenburg.
There are wonderful view's from the Castle terrace's of the city and the "main Valley," and also from the Tower, if open.
The Castle is also a Museum.
Updated Jan 3, 2012
This road leads alongside St Johannes Kirche. As it was halfway up the hill, I decided to walk along this road, and go back down a different way. I found a walkway to the bottom that took me through and arch and into the Hauptstrasse.
Well, I was glad I did this walk, as I saw the Burg's, but not only that, the Old Town Wall's and magnificent view's to Miltenberg, the River Main and further afield.
Updated Jan 3, 2012
Franziskaner Kirche, what a pity the Door's weren't open.
When I walked in from the Main Bridge entry to the old Town, this brought me to the Engel platz and the Church. Alongside the Church is a nice row of trimmed tree's, and even though the Church was closed, beside the door was a notice containing info on the Church.
It said it was baroque inside, and has lavish decoration around the pulpit from the 17th century.
I hope you have luck, and can visit!
Written Jan 3, 2012
The Protestant St. Johannes Kirche tower's above the Town. It is a beautiful neo-Gothic sandstone church right on the Engelplatz, up the steep path, on the right side of the road.
Luckily for me, this Church opens it doors daily from 9am, so I was able to venture inside, to a rather dark interior. I took a couple of photo's of the stained glass window's, other than that, it was quite plain.
Located outside, was the cemetery, which was overgrown with grass, and the Old Town Wall's.
Written Jan 3, 2012
Address: Upper Street Walldürner 1