Windeck Castle

Windeck Castle

 

Location: Weinheim, Baden-Württemberg   Map

Constructed: 12th century

 

Description of Windeck Castle

Windeck Castle is located in Weinheim, Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. Windeck Castle was constructed in the 12th century to defend nearby possessions of the Lorsch monastery. In 1674 the French troops of General Turenne captured the citadel, burned and looted it. After devastating campaign of the French king Louis XIV the military fortifications of the Windeck Castle were abandoned. The locals used the site as a quarry for damaged houses, churches and other structures instead. Today the castle is open to the public. Little remains from the original structures of Windeck Castle, but medieval structures including the main donjon from the 14th century is still well preserved and visible.

 

Location
Windeck Castle, which is now only preserved as a ruin, is a popular excursion destination that can be reached both by car and via a footpath from Weinheim. The ascent takes about half an hour for the inexperienced and then continues over the Wachenburg into the mountain landscape of the Neckartal-Odenwald nature park.

History
The previous castle was built around 1110 to protect the possessions of the Lorsch Monastery. Since the Schlossberg belonged to the Michelstadt Propstei, the castle was destroyed for the first time in 1114. The castle, built on the remains of the previous building between 1125 and 1130, became the bone of contention between the Archbishop of Mainz and the Electoral Palatinate, who were to share the monastery property, with the end of the independence of the Lorsch Monastery in 1232. Windeck first came to the Palatinate, but was then subject to several changes between the Archdiocese of Mainz and the Count Palatine before they finally came into possession of the castle in 1264 (according to other information, 1344). The castle was not a feudal property of a noble family, but only secured and administered by castle men. The places Oberflockenbach, Steinklingen, Wünschmichelbach, Heiligkreuz, Rittenweier, Rippenweier (today all districts of Weinheim) and the garbage were obliged to maintain the castle and the crew.

On the Merian engraving of 1620 (published in 1645) the castle is still intact. It survived the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War tolerably, but had to be repaired in 1663.

The end of the castle came in 1674 when it was sacked and destroyed by the French under General Turenne. The troops of the French King Louis XIV made the castle unusable as a defense system. It was subsequently considered uninhabitable. The ruins served the Weinheim citizens as a quarry for the reconstruction of their houses.

In 1803, Windeck Castle became the property of the Baden state, which in 1900 sold it to the Count and Barons of Berckheim, who already owned the castle in Weinheim. Count von Berckheim had the masonry secured and partially restored. The city of Weinheim has owned the castle since 1978 and carried out extensive security measures.

Description
Hardly anything has survived from the 12th century complex. The castle ruins (most of the parts probably from the 14th century) is a compact building with a gatehouse, the keep, probably also from the 14th century (the older keep is assumed to be in the middle of the complex), a former hall and an inner courtyard in which there is a beer garden in summer.

Keep
The 28 meter high keep can be climbed as a lookout tower via 111 steps. From the castle courtyard near the fountain, three stairs with a total of 50 steps lead first to a terrace, from there to the battlement on the eastern shield wall and finally to the tower. Inside, there are two offset spiral staircases with 20 and 41 steps up to the viewing platform. The location of the upper spiral staircase can be clearly seen from the outside on the south-western side of the tower. To the right of the exit onto the platform, a wide gap in the masonry forms an approx. 1.10 meter high parapet and enables a view to the south. In the still preserved higher masonry there are rectangular windows in four niches. At the highest part of the tower, which has a diameter of 6.20 meters at the top, a high flagpole is attached on the northwest side.

From the top of the keep you have a beautiful view of the Wachenburg, the city of Weinheim, the Bergstrasse and the Rhine Valley. On a clear day, the view extends to the Palatinate Forest and Donnersberg.

In the floor of the keep is the fear hole, the entrance to the eleven meter deep dungeon.