Thursday, August 11, 2011


I mentioned in an earlier blog that we drove up the mountain to Haut-Koenigsbourg but found there was no parking and crowds of people. So this morning I woke up early and noted it was a nice day so we drove up there early in time for the opening at 9:15 am.

All was peaceful and quiet with just a few people about. When we came out of the castle about 90 minutes later, it was a mad house and the all the parking spaces were taken. If you come here, get there early.

The castle lies on a hill overlooking the plain that the Rhine runs though. It was a bit hazy so the view was limited but apparently on a clear day you can see the alps.

Apparently it's 2000 feet up from the plain. I would believe it based on the drive up. 

Although the castle was extensive renovated at the start of the 20th century they are still working on it. At the time, Alsace was part of Germany and Emperor Wilhelm II had the castle restored to demonstrate and reinforce the idea of German control of the area. The bulk of the restoration took only eight years and the Emperor visited the site every year to check on progress.

The path through the woods up to the ticket office and the entry to the castle. It cost 8 euros each which we thought was pretty inexpensive when we came out of the castle.

This is another marathon blog but this place is just so picturesque.

The tower above the entrance.

We liked the carving of the dog.

As you can see, turrets abound.

For firing arrows at attackers.

I'm not sure how this would have been used defensively, but it was right next to the keyhole slot in the photo above. You could put a five inch speaker in there and turn it into a horn loaded speaker.

Steps leading further up into the castle.

A large heavy door before you get to the drawbridge.

Yes, a drawbridge. This was the first of two.

The beams that lifted the bridge.

Looking down into the chasm below the bridge.

The counter weight.

Another big heavy door.

Well worn steps.

You come to a courtyard with this magnificent circular staircase that is magically lit with this warm yellow light.

A huge wine vat. These huge vats are common in the production of German white wine. Because the vat is so large, very little of the wood flavour gets into the wine.

Yes, 1670.

Going up the circular staircase.

Disney could not do a better job in terms of mysterious staircases, passages, doors and bridges.

We sat for a while on the seats by this window. It looked like an awful lot of people had sat there before us.

Detail of the roof opposite the window.


Then you arrive in this grand hall.

This is another benefit of arriving early. The hall was empty when we got there. Later in the day it would be packed. Essentially they have set up a guided path that everybody follows through the castle.

Spiffy chair back.

Fire spark inhibitor.

In this part of the castle there were quite a few of the very large ceramic radiant heat stoves that they use for heating. Apparently they are very efficient and a small fire will keep one of these stove warm for a long time.

Note the animals around the rim of the light fixture.

Not something I would want to meet live in the woods.

Another stove.

Detail of one of these stoves. This kind of stove is still used in the area. As we walked downtown in Selestat, we noticed one in an office.


Some serious antlers. Our local deer don't get this big.

They are big on big heavy doors in this castle. No wimpy doors here.

The armory.

There's enough sharp stuff in that armory to do serious damage.

Restoration work continues.

The stairway to the second draw bridge.

A copper roof for one of the towers.

Tiles on another tower. Note the gutter at the bottom that appears to be made out of some beaten metal, possible copper.

View from one of the towers.

You could pour boiling oil down here if necessary.

As you can see, it's a long way up. Taking some of these photos almost gave me vertigo.

They had dragged some of these sizable cannons up into one of the towers.

Including this monster.

This was one serious cannon with a bore of possibly 5 or 6 inches. I wonder if somebody has requested that his or her ashes be stuffed up the barrel like I have for the cannon in Maryborough. Take a look at this blog to see my cannon.

The tower with the green copper roof. It's roughly the same diameter as our round house.

The door has been reinforced with metal.

Ladder leading up to the peak of the roof. I could see no purpose for it.

The tour of the castle was essentially finished at this point and we descended to this path way to exit the castle.

A copper gargoyle.

A beaten metal pipe which I presume was copper.

The before and after photo shows the results of the restorations of over a century ago.

I was intrigued by the orange colour on the stone.

This castle was absolutely amazing. It's one of the major tourist attractions in the area and deservedly so. Just make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds.

1 comment:

  1. I really love the yellow light in the staircase. I suspect that the orange on the walls are lichen, a parasitic plant?/animal?. Again lovely photographs. Looks pretty high up to me!