Ruine Alt-Dahn Travel Guide

  • Ruine Altdahn, one of the rock castles
    Ruine Altdahn, one of the rock castles
    by Trekki
  • Not that bad?
    Not that bad?
    by Trekki
  • Medieval table - ready to have dinner :-)
    Medieval table - ready to have dinner...
    by Trekki

Ruine Alt-Dahn Things to Do

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 12, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When we were on Altdahn Castles in July 2011, a medieval market was going on. Although I know the Italian historical festivals and events quite good by now (for a non Italian), I have never been on a German medieval market before. So it was most natural that I wanted to see it and luckily my dear Australian companion was thrilled to experience one as well. When we were there I was astonished to see people in several different historic dresses, from B.C. times to late medieval, as opposed to Italy, where each historical festival is strictly reliving a specific event, hence being strict with the time period and the dresses. So I asked some attendants about the “time frame” and was told that there is simply none. Each of the attendants has chosen his or her time and dresses appropriately. There were even Vikings’ and Eurasian nomads’ dresses among the many people on the castle.
    The market was a lot of fun, there were many stalls where people practised and showed old skills like forging iron, woodworking, making arrows for longbows, several stalls where soap or incense was sold. Tucked behind the stalls was a place where kids of all ages could practise their skills in longbow shooting. Of course I wanted to try it out! It was easier than I had imagined. My dear companion took photos of me (see photo inside) and I will send it to my balestrieri in Gubbio, maybe one day they will change their statutes and allow also female balestriere? Haha, hope never dies.... :)

    The best of the whole market were the performances of the several medieval groups, especially the musicians and the singer. The musicians, a group called Rittersporn, played medieval instruments, handmade according to the old descriptions: the man played a hurdy gurdy and the women shawm and drum. I looked up the group in internet and learned that the man and the drummer woman are music therapists, which explains their passion for this kind of music, or the passion explains their jobs. It was also fascinating to watch the singer Theolonius Dilldapp. His singing passion is extraordinary and he really draw us spectators into the old times!
    Two videos to get an idea of the music:
    Theolonius Dilldapp
    Rittersporn musicians.
    I also found sixteen video clips in youtube, made by a passionate medieval market fan, but I will link them in my separate album.

    The medieval market on Altdahn Castles took place July 9 and 10, 2011. I assume that it is a yearly event, on the second weekend in July. Entrance fee was 4 Euro.

    Location of Altdahn Castles on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., July 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    continue with next review => extended family households in Medieval times

    Rittersporn musicians - fascinating! Theolonius Dilldapp - fun to listen and watch! Some future balestriera? (photo taken by L.) Not that bad? Medieval table - ready to have dinner :-)
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 12, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Among the countless castles carved into the pink sandstone rocks in Palatinate Forest and northern part of French Vosges, Altdahn Castles stand out because it is not only one but three castles. It is a paradise for kids of all ages who always dreamt of being a knight or a damsel in a castle. The majority of the castles buildings are long gone; they were destroyed and rebuilt in the past, but after the last destruction during the War of Succession in 1689 they were left in ruins. Nevertheless it is possible to visit the ruins. At least some of the towers are still there as well is of course the whole rock “interior” like the stairs, the rooms and the platforms. The biggest and oldest of the three castles is Altdahn with the watchtower. From the big round tower we walked up through the rock, on the old carved stairs. It was indeed a magic feeling because it is still almost like it was in the days when the Counts of Dahn lived up here. From the platforms on the top we had wonderful views across this part of Palatinate Forest and I remembered again that it is almost like a wilderness here. However, be careful when you want to go up to the highest platform on the tower: two steep iron ladders lead up there. From the top we also had a view to the other two castles, although it is really different to distinguish them all. They look like one, but are three separate ones. Near the big round tower is a small descriptive exhibition about castle building in medieval times. It is fascinating to read how the builders managed to erect castles in these times. I have a very high respect for them, especially since they didn’t have any of the “modern” instruments and machines our architects have today. Moreover, I doubt that architects nowadays could build anything the masters of the past achieved. This is not meant as an insult, it is just my personal feeling.

    At the bottom part of Altdahn Castle is a small museum, but we simply forgot to go inside, since it started to rain at a point in time and we wanted to visit another castle, Berwartstein to be precise. The museum is open upon request, so I don’t even know anything about regular opening hours. I have read that the history of the three castles is being described inside and some findings are exhibited.

    I can only highly recommend Altdahn Castle for kids of all ages, especially during the weekend of the Medieval Market early July (see next tip).
    The castle is open all year long, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter and until 6 p.m. in summer. The entrance to the castle ground is free of charge.
    For a nice aerial view, have a look at the slide show photos on Dahn Rock Country’s website. And in case you want to visit, download the flyer. In the website section below I have added a short youtube video of the castle, with a morning mist atmosphere (not my video of course).

    Location of Altdahn Castles on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., July 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    continue with next review => Medieval market on Altdahn Castle

    .

    View from the top of the tower, the other castles Big round tower of Altdahn Treadwheel to lift up weight Ladder up to the highest tower point Another view of the castles
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ruine Alt-Dahn Hotels

    0 Hotels in Ruine Alt-Dahn

Ruine Alt-Dahn Transportation

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Feb 24, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The castle ruins Altdahn are situated in the eastern part of Dahn village. Parking spaces are available at the end of Schloss-Strasse, near the school. From there it is only a short 10 minute walk up to the castle ground, mostly shaded by the big trees.
    It is also easy to reach Dahn by public transportation. From Landau at the southern Palatinate Wineroad, there are frequent trains either directly to Dahn (approx. 50 minutes) or with changing trains in Hinterweidenthal (approx. 1 hour).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    This is the end of my description of Altdahn Castle and surroundings. Thanks for having followed my tour. If you wish, please return to my => Intro page

    Marvellous Palatinate Forest :-)
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Budget Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

Ruine Alt-Dahn Warnings and Dangers

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Feb 24, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Please, no matter how fun-looking these castles might seem to be, bring appropriate shoes with good grip on the soles. There is no warning sign at the entrance to the castles’ grounds (at least I didn’t see any) but climbing on the ruins is on one’s own risk. Especially the stairs which are carved into the sandstone rock can be dangerous at times, since they are very much worn out. There is no handrail at the stairs. Also the two metal ladders up to the watchtower can be tricky. They are easy to climb but not good for people with fear of heights. The viewing platforms are secured by a railing though.

    Please make sure that you have at least appropriate footwear!

    © Ingrid D., July 2011.

    continue with next review => how to reach Altdahn Castles

    One of the ladders to the watchtower
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Ruine Alt-Dahn Favorites

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 12, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: When I did further reading about Altdahn Castles and thought about the extension of the three castles, I was not really astonished to learn that it was not only inhabited by one family but by several ones. This principle is called Ganerbschaft, in French cohéritiers. There seems to be no proper English term for it although I am sure it must because this wasn’t limited to French and German castles. The term coheirs is the closest; it means that a castle is being shared by several families of an entire lineage. In case of the three Altdahn Castles Altdahn, Grafendahn and Tanstein it were the families of the Dahn knights’ clan. They were given the ground as fiefdom by the bishops of Speyer in approx. 13th century. The best example of the same principle is famous and magnificent Burg Eltz, near Moselle river, southeast of Koblenz.

    Have a look at the other photos: one shows a lifting tong, one of the medieval instruments to lift up weights. The other two are especially interesting for those who would like to know why pink sandstone formations are ideal to carve fortresses and castles. The formation is consisting of pink (well, red to be precise) and white sandstone, left from Germanic Trias (part of Triassic, approx. 250 mio years ago). The white one is more subjected to erosion, as it can be seen in photos 3 and 4. This honeycomb structure is special and not seen everywhere.

    © Ingrid D., July 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    continue with next review => careful when climbing ladders

    Altdahn Castle, fortress in rocks Lifting tong for the rocks Pink sandstone, erosion Pink sandstone, erosion
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Ruine Alt-Dahn

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

103 travelers online now

Comments

Ruine Alt-Dahn Travel Guide
Map of Ruine Alt-Dahn

View all Ruine Alt-Dahn hotels