Sausenburg Castle

Sausenburg Castle



Location: North of Kandern Map

Constructed: 1246 by Counts von Hachberg


Description of Sausenburg Castle

Sausenburg Castle located in the heart of the Black Forest, North of Kandern in the region of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Sausenburg Castle was constructed in 1246 by Counts von Hachberg. Today this ruined citadel still stands despite years of negligence. In 1315 the noble family have died out after death of Liuthold II of Roetteln and it was transferred to the counts of Hachberg- Sausenberg. Medieval military fortifications of Sausenburg Castle could keep up with technological advances until Franco- Dutch War when in 1678 the fortress was largely destroyed by the army of French Marshall Creque.


Geographical location
The ruins of the Höhenburg are about 1.3 km east of the Kandern district of Sitzenkirch and 3.3 km northeast of the Kandern town center, at 665 m above sea level. NHN high Sausenberg - an offshoot of the high blue. To the east of this is the municipality of Malsburg-Marzell, district of Malsburg. The ruins can be easily reached via the Lindenbückle via the village of Vogelbach in the northeast, which belongs to Malsburg. 1.6 kilometers to the north-west is Schloss Bürgeln, separated by the Lippisbachtal, and 4.5 kilometers to the north-east of the Hochblauen.

In 1125 the lords of Kaltenbach (from the town of Kaltenbach near Malsburg-Marzell) donated land to the St. Blasien monastery. It is assumed that the Sausenberg also belonged to these lands, but this cannot be proven. In any case, the St. Blasien monastery built provosts in the immediate vicinity in Bürgeln and Sitzenkirch, as well as in Weitenau. The Bailiwick of these provosts was exercised by the Zähringer and after their death passed to the Margraves of Hachberg.

In 1232 they acquired the Sausenberg from the St. Blasien Monastery. It remains unclear whether the Sausenberg was already built on at that time or earlier. In the literature, the possibility of an early wooden earth castle was considered or an early refuge in times of war was assumed. A document from 1240 names the Sausenberg as the exhibition site, which at best indicates a castle - a document from 1246 explicitly mentions a castri Susenberk, although it is unclear whether the keep also existed. Based on this knowledge, it is assumed that a castle was built by the Margraves of Hachberg in the years 1232 to 1246.

1306 took place between the third Hachberg margrave Heinrich III. (1290–1330) and his brother Rudolf I (1290–1313) shared an inheritance - Hachberg with the city of Emmendingen was transferred to Heinrich. Rudolf received the rule of Sausenberg with the Sausenburg and the Landgraviate in Breisgau. Rudolf received the bailiwick of the priests Bürgeln, Sitzenkirch and Weitenau of the St. Blasien monastery.

Rudolf was married to Agnes von Rötteln, who, together with her husband, inherited half of the Rötteln rule from her brother Walter von Rötteln in 1310. Rudolf died in 1313, but in 1315 his son Heinrich received the other half of the Röttler rule from Lüthold II von Rötteln - Agnes' uncle and the last male representative of his family. Margrave Heinrich was now the sole ruler of the Rötteln rule and the Landgraviate of Sausenberg. For the Sausenbergers, the Röttler legacy meant a significant increase in power, which probably tripled their area of ​​rule. Probably before 1317, the Sausenbergers moved to Rötteln Castle, and the name of the castle and lordship they inherited was included in the names of the margraves. After Heinrich's early death (1318), his younger brothers Rudolf and Otto jointly took over the reign. In 1318 Rudolf II pledged the Landgraviate in Breisgau to the Counts of Freiburg, whereby the Landgrave rights over the area around the Sausenburg were excluded. The Hachberg-Sausenberger line and therefore called the area controlled by it Landgraviate Sausenberg. A donation from the last Count of Freiburg, Johann, gave the Badenweiler rule in 1444 to the Margraviate of Hachberg-Sausenberg, which thus comprised the three components of the later so-called “Markgräflerland” (Landgraviate Sausenberg, Dominion Rötteln, Dominion Badenweiler). From then on, Sausenburg largely shared the fate of its sister castles in Rötteln and Badenweiler. After Rudolf II's death, his brother Otto initially took over the reign of the underage Rudolf III. Later both ruled together, with Otto focusing on the Sausenburg near which - in the church of Sitzenkirch - he was buried. After that, no margrave seems to have resided at Sausenburg.

Only fragments are known from the building history. After his father, Margrave Rudolf III. von Hachberg-Sausenberg had expanded Rötteln Castle, Wilhelm von Hachberg-Sausenberg devoted himself to expanding the Sausenburg. Despite a large burden of inherited debts, Wilhelm began in 1428 - the year his father died - with the roofing of the battlements, the construction of a guard room above the gate tower and the construction of two more rooms next to the tower.


After Margrave Philipp, the last male representative of the House of Hachberg-Sausenberg who was capable of succession, died in 1503, his margraviate - including Sausenburg - fell to the main line of the Margraves of Baden according to the inheritance contract ("Röttelsches Gemächte"). Margrave Christoph only succeeded in taking on the inheritance against the will of Philip's widow and daughter through the determined appearance of the "landscape", the representative of the peasantry that occupied the castles of Rötteln, Sausenburg and Badenweiler before the new bailiff appointed by the widow Castles could take over.

Occupation in the Peasants' War in 1525
The castle was also a scene of the Peasants' War. The lawyers of Margrave Ernst also accused the subjects of occupying Sausenburg and removing supplies and objects in their application. In their reply, the lawyers for the landscape confirmed the occupation, the occupation of the Sausenburg and the other margrave castles (Rötteln and Badenweiler), which had taken place in order to protect them from damage by other peasant groups - in particular by the Black Forest group under Hans Müller.

The peasantry saw the castles not only as margrave fortifications, but also as state fortresses. After the first serious defeats of neighboring peasant groups, the Markgräfler withdrew from northern Breisgau and were back in their villages on May 30th. On this date, the occupation of the castles that had started on May 14th or 15th was probably over.

Thirty Years' War
The castle was fought over in the Thirty Years War from 1633. On May 9th / May 19th, 1633 Badenweiler Castle was taken by the imperial troops from the Breisach Fortress and in the following days Rötteln Castle and the Sausenburg were also taken by the imperial troops of Count Montecuccoli and with the support of Margrave Hermann Fortunat of Baden-Rodemachern.

On June 23rd / July 3rd, 1633 the imperial garrison of Rötteln Castle capitulated to the Swedish troops of the Rhine Count Otto Ludwig. As a result, the Swedes also took the castle in Badenweiler "and other Orth with the entire upper lordship", which then also included the Sausenburg.

After the heavy losses in the Battle of Nördlingen in September 1634, the Swedes withdrew their garrisons from many fortified places. Rhine Count Otto Ludwig collected the associations near Strasbourg. The gun from the evacuated areas was brought to safety in the stronghold and in Strasbourg. The abandoned places - such as Rötteln Castle - were given imperial garrisons in February 1635 at the latest.

In 1638, however, the imperial troops were defeated by Duke Bernhard von Weimar in the battle of Rheinfelden and on March 18 / March 28, 1638 greg. the Duke was able to take Rötteln Castle by storm. Cattle and supplies were brought to Neuenburg am Rhein. The other castles - such as the Sausenburg - were taken by Weimar troops.

Destruction in the Dutch War
During the Dutch War, the southern Markgräflerland was again the scene of fighting. On June 18, 1678, the castle Rötteln was attacked by troops of the French generals Louis-François de Boufflers and Claude de Choiseul-Francières; she capitulated after three days. Rötteln went up in flames on the night of June 29th to June 30th under unexplained circumstances, but probably with destructive intent. The surrounding castles of Brombach, Sausenburg and Badenweiler also burned out.

There is a lack of architectural studies and improper restoration work has changed the building stock significantly.

The core or main castle fills the entire plateau of the castle hill, which has a size of about 30 by 50 meters. The plateau is surrounded by a ring trench up to 17 meters wide with a rampart in front. At the edge of the plateau runs the polygonal ring of which is still preserved and partially restored.


In the north is the restored keep, which is about 19 meters high and almost 8 meters in diameter and has walls up to 2.70 meters thick. It is designed as a round tower and is dated to the 13th century. The medieval entrance was 9 meters high, where the tower still has a wall thickness of 2.10 meters. The current entrance to the keep was not broken into the base of the wall until 1856. Today the tower has an accessible platform as a conclusion and can be climbed as a lookout tower. A drawing from 1844 shows only the high stump of the wall without the upper end. From any development on the area within the Bering, only the southern part of the remains of a building with at least two storeys, which could have been the hall, have survived. The remainder of a barrel vault can also be seen here.

An earlier hypothesis of a "fairly consistent basic disposition of the residential building and the surrounding walls" with Zähringen Castle is now being questioned.

Access to the main castle was originally via a bridge from the south, whereby the earlier gate situation was built in as part of the restoration. Today's access via a staircase was only created as part of a historically improper restoration.

In the south and west of the core castle, a bailey is built, which was protected by a moat with a rampart. Of the outer wall of the outer bailey, around 18 m of granite rubble are partially preserved. Access to the outer bailey is believed to be at the western end of the wall. From the construction of the bridge from the outer bailey to the main bailey, a pillar several meters high and wide can be seen, which served as a support for the drawbridge. In addition, traces of the outer abutment can still be seen and above the bridge pillar there is a bricked, angular protrusion which was also interpreted as the base of a gate tower.

Today's use and maintenance
"Since 1960 the State Building Construction Office, the Kandern Forestry Office, the State Monuments Office and the Black Forest Association have been protecting and renovating the castle."

The castle ruins are now a local destination. There are hiking trails from Kandern and Sitzenkirch to the castle ruins. The facility is also on the twelfth stage of the Black Forest Westweg (western route) and is therefore also visited by long-distance hikers. Castle tours are also offered.

See also
There is no connection between Sausenburg and Susenburg in the Harz, which once also had a Sausenburg.