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Château de Greifenstein

 

Location: Griffon Mais Forest, Saverne, Bas- Rhin department  Map

 

Description of Château de Greifenstein

Château de Greifenstein is a medieval castle situated in the Griffon Mais Forest on the outskirt of a small French town of Saverne in Bas- Rhin department of France. Château de Greifenstein is open to the public. In order to get here town of Saverne is the closest option. You can take D132 road toward Lutzelbourg, turn right towards the Ramsthal lae and then follow the Club Vosgien road. Direction to Château de Greifenstein is marked by blue rectangle.
 
Château de Greifenstein is made up of two parts. The smaller part of castle is known as Petit- Greifenstein (small Greinfenstein). It was constructed in the end of the 13th century. While large portion of the castle is known as Grand- Greifenstein. It was built in the early 12th century by the knight Meribodo de Greifenstein who was related to Ochsenstein. After Greifenstein family was extinguished, the bishop of Strasbourg took control of the citadel. In 1450 Greifenstein Castle was sold to Hohenbourg and then in 1482 to Kirchheim. After the Thirty Years War (1618- 48) Greifenstein Castle was abandoned. The site was used a quarry for the palace of Cardinal Bishop Francois Egon Furstenberg in Saverne.
 
Two portions of the castles are divided by a large defensive moat. Grand- Greifenstein being the larger and more impressive of the two citadels draws most of tourists. From here you can see a panorama of Saverne, Valley of the Zorn and several medieval castles nearby.

 

Reconstruction of Château de Greifenstein and its layout Map

Restoration of Château de Greifenstein

Château de Greifenstein Layout Map

History

The Grand-Greifenstein was undoubtedly founded in the first half of the 12th century by the knight Meribodo of Greifenstein who has close links with the Ochsenstein family. The Petit-Greifenstein dates from the end of the 13th century or the beginning of the 14th century.

 

Special features still visible

There are two castles separated by a wide moat. The oldest has the largest keep in Alsace with its thirteen meter side. A renovated tower stands between the two dungeons in the middle of the structure. It was probably attached to the Grand-Greifenstein. From its terrace there is a breathtaking view of Saverne, Haut-Barr, Grand-Geroldseck, the Zorn valley and the Saint-Vit chapel.

 

Legends

The castle is said to be haunted by a white lady who transforms every Friday into a particularly hideous toad with a golden key in her mouth. This specter would be that of a very stingy young woman. She is doomed to haunt the ruins until a young man kisses her and grabs the key in her mouth, a key that would give access to the wealth amassed by the lady during her lifetime.

 

Access

On leaving Saverne towards Lutzelbourg by the D 132, take the road on the right towards the Ramsthal. Then follow the Club Vosgien trail marked by a blue rectangle.