Burg Rieneck

Burg Rieneck


Location: 80 km (50 mi) East of Frankfurt Map

Constructed: 1151 by Ludwig I, Count of Loon and Rieneck

Open: 7:30am- 1pm Mon- Fri

8am- 12pm Sat, Sun

Tel. 09354 902317


Description of Rieneck Castle

Rieneck Castle is located 80 km (50 mi) East of Frankfurt in Bavaria region of Germany. Rieneck Castle was found in 1151 by Ludwig I, Count of Loon and Rieneck. This stronghold was mostly occupied by a small garrison of soldiers. Most of the residents didn't live here due to its cramped conditions. However in a time of war all the residents in the surrounding lands would flee here. Today the stronghold is managed by German Christian Guide and Scout Association as a scouting facility. There is a small campground available just next to Rieneck Castle.


Ludwig I, Count of Loon and Rieneck, had the so-called castrum Rinecke built around 1150 on the northeastern border of the County of Rieneck in order to protect his sphere of influence against the interests of the surrounding territories of Kurmainz, the Würzburg monastery and the Fulda monastery. The small hill in the Sinntal offered excellent conditions for this due to natural obstacles: the castle only had to be secured in one direction by creating a weir ditch and the smallest possible attack surface on this side.

Building stock
This can be clearly seen in the floor plan of the keep, the 19 m high thick tower, which on the outside represents an irregular heptagon, one point of which points towards the nearby hill. The castle complex initially only consisted of the castle courtyard and keep with its four to eight meter thick walls surrounded by fortification walls. Half-timbered buildings were also built within the castle walls, as well as residential buildings, warehouses and stables, of which essentially only the castle's vaulted cellar remains.

Since living in the tower of the castle was relatively uncomfortable, people only lived here in times of war. There was no entrance on the ground floor (today's entrance dates from the 19th century), but there were two entrances on higher floors, to which wooden stairs on the outer wall that could be removed quickly led. The access at the level of the second floor opened up the main room of the tower, the Count's hall. Equipped with a stove, sink and a secret place (toilet), it was very comfortably furnished for the time. The third floor, with its own entrance, housed the bower, in which the countess and her entourage were safely and warmly housed during a siege - because of the fireplace in the count's hall. The tower chapel, which is unique in mainland Europe, is also located on this floor. It is completely embedded in the outer wall of the tower, which must have presented the builder with a great challenge at the time. The few remaining stone carvings on the walls still give an impression of the formerly magnificent furnishings.

Around the year 1200 the castle complex was strengthened and the now 29 m high octagonal thin tower was built to secure a larger castle crew. Originally, it too had no windows and no level access. Inside the tower, all traces of the former furnishings have now been blurred and its exterior has also been significantly changed. The sixth floor of the eagle's nest and the current roof of the tower were not added until the 20th century.

In the course of expanding the fortifications, the Romanesque court chapel was also built. Only parts of the portal remain from the gable wall. The origin and meaning of the two figure panels on the outer facade, dating from around 1300, have not been clarified. So it is uncertain whether they originally belonged to the castle or were only used in the 19th century.

The castle was a magnet for the local population. This contributed to the growth of the town of Rieneck, which lies below the castle hill and has been called a town since the beginning of the 13th century. There are two different representations in the literature about the transition from the castle to a condominium shared between Kurmainz (¾) and the Hanauers (¼):
When the Rieneck-Rothenfels line expired in 1333, Ulrich II. Von Hanau inherited ¼ of the town and castle of Rieneck through his mother, Elisabeth von Rieneck-Rothenfels, and Kurmainz kept the rest himself.
The house of Rieneck died with Count Philipp III. from Rieneck on September 3, 1559. He had close with Philip III. von Hanau-Münzenberg worked together. When it was foreseeable that Count Philip III. von Rieneck would die without a male heir, the two agreed to appoint the Hanauer Count as heir. The project failed due to a formal error. (For details see here.) There was a dispute between Kurmainz and Hanau over the inheritance. This was finally resolved to the effect that a condominium was formed, which was due to ¾ Kurmainz and ¼ Hanau-Münzenberg.


Since the castle was now in strange hands, it was unsuitable as a residence for the Counts of Rieneck and they moved to Lohr am Main. The castle retained its strategic importance as it controlled Birkenhainer Straße, the most important medieval traffic route in the region. This use was also given up in the 16th century and the castle fell into disrepair.

The Mainz share was bought in 1673 by Johann Hartwig Graf von Nostitz, who thereby secured the status of an imperial count with a seat and vote in the Reichstag. This share was sold to Counts Colloredo and Mansfeld in 1803. In 1806 Rieneck was mediatized and added to the Principality of Aschaffenburg. With him it fell to the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt and with the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 to the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Around 1860 Prof. Dr. Franz von Rinecker bought the castle because he believed that it was closely related to the Rienecker Grafhaus. He used his fortune for extensive restoration and conversion measures in the neo-Gothic style, so that today it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the medieval building fabric and the structural changes of the 19th century.

In the 1920s, the castle was owned by the poet and writer Walter Bloem. In 1929 a massive renovation was carried out: Windows were broken in the thin tower, the connecting wing between the two towers was built and the roof received the first larger dormers. After that, Rieneck Castle was first used as a children's holiday home, then as an SA sports school, as a military hospital, as a prison of war and finally as a hospital.

The castle today as a boy scout castle
The Rieneck Boy Scout Castle is today one of the federal centers of the Association of Christian Scouts and Boy Scouts (VCP) as the legal successor to the CPD and is its international training and meeting center. In addition to conferences and training courses, the VCP also hosts musical offers here, including the International Musische Werkstatt (IMWe), an annual multi-day international music and creative training course for scouts aged 17 and over, each with around 100 participants.

In 1959, the castle was built by a legally competent association, Erholungs- und Bildungswerk der Christliche Pfadfinderschaft Deutschlands e. V. initially leased and acquired in 1967. The association was intended to ensure economic independence, but above all to protect the scout association from the risks arising from maintenance and operation. Since the merger of the evangelical scout associations (CPD, EMP and BCP) to form the Association of Christian Scouts and Scouts (VCP), the association has been called the education and recreation center Burg Rieneck e. V. of the Association of Christian Scouts and Boy Scouts - BEW for short (change on May 5, 1973).

In 1976, with the construction of the hall building, the structural scope of the castle was expanded. After a general renovation of the hall wing by May 2003, another attic was built. In the years 2017 to 2019, as part of the "Energetic renovation of a historical monument" project, the previously oil-powered heating was replaced by a multi-stage system (solar thermal, heat pump, pellet), the fire protection upgraded, the kitchen expanded with an extension in the courtyard and thus achieved the current structural condition.

The castle has 134 beds as well as several conference rooms with modern conference technology. In addition, there has been a boy scout campground for around 100 people at the foot of the castle since 1998, on which there has also been a permanent sanitary building since 2003. There has been a permanently installed high ropes course there since 2006.

In 2020, financial profitability issues were announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.