Burghausen Castle

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Burghausen Castle
South view of the main castle

South view of the main castle

Creation time : before 1025
Castle type : Höhenburg, ridge position
Conservation status: Receive
Standing position : Counts, dukes
Construction: Cuboid
Place: Burghausen
Geographical location 48 ° 9 '22 "  N , 12 ° 49' 44.3"  E Coordinates: 48 ° 9 '22 "  N , 12 ° 49' 44.3"  E
Height: 420  m above sea level NHN
Burghausen Castle (Bavaria)
Burghausen Castle
South-east view of the third (partly), fourth and fifth atrium and the northern area of ​​the castle

The Burghausen Castle above the old town of the city of the same is with 1051 meters the longest castle complex in Europe and is since an entry in the Guinness World Records book as the "longest castle in the world". It consists of six courtyards and, with a few exceptions, is made of tuff ashlars ( travertine ). A large part of the buildings and the character of the entire complex originate from the time as the residence and state fortress of the Lower Bavarian line of the Wittelsbachers , especially from the years around 1480 to 1503.

After its end as a residence in 1503/05, Burghausen received the rent office and thus capital status until 1802 , which led to further extensions and renovations of the castle. As a garrison location (1763-1891), the castle was last once again significantly changed. Large parts of the building were demolished, not least during the French occupation around 1800.

The roots of the castle complex go back a long way. The exceptional location of the castle hill led to a settlement in the area of ​​today's main castle in the Bronze and Iron Ages . In addition, numerous traces from the Celtic and Roman times were found during excavations . Apart from the remains of the foundations, the oldest parts of the castle date from the High Middle Ages , the oldest written record that has survived to this day dates back to 1025.

Geographical location

The location of the Höhenburg ( Kammburg ) ( 420  m above sea  level ) is in the north-eastern Upper Bavarian foothills of the Alps , in the area of ​​the former Inn- Salzach Glacier and today near the border with the Austrian district of Braunau am Inn . The surrounding landscape is hilly, relatively heavily forested and is crossed by a series of cold rivers from the nearby Alps towards the Danube . One of them is the Salzach , on the banks of which lies the old town of Burghausen ( 360  m above sea  level ).

The castle above the Salzach (central border with Austria)

The buildings of the castle extend over a narrow and elongated mountain ridge that separates the river and the old town from the Wöhrsee , an oxbow river from the Salzach, opposite . The main castle is at the southern end, one kilometer further north is the only level entrance to the castle. The slopes to the west, east and south are steep and overgrown with grass and individual trees.

The location on this long ridge was extremely favorable in the event of a defense. It is certainly one of the reasons why the castle was never conquered. The close proximity to the German-Austrian border is a result of recent developments; During the heyday of the town and castle in the late Middle Ages , the Innviertel on the other side of the river was part of the Wittelsbach rulership and the castle was therefore not a direct border fortress.


Until the early Middle Ages

The gunsmith tower with surrounding buildings
The gate at the Kornmesserturm, typical of the castle complex

During extensive excavations under the Dürnitz between 2002 and 2004, a number of fragments were found that were dated to the 16th century BC. This confirms a long-held assumption that the castle hill in Burghausen had been inhabited since the Bronze Age. The discovery of the remains of a dry stone wall from the same era, also under the Dürnitz, is considered a “small sensation” . Numerous relics from the Iron Age also came to light during these excavations.

In the 2nd and 1st centuries BC BC there was probably a Celtic section fortification on the area of ​​today's main castle; numerous finds of Celtic fibula parts are strong indications for this assumption. The same applies to the epoch in which today's Burghausen was part of the Roman province of Noricum ; From this time, coins from Emperor Mark Aurel to Emperor Constantine were discovered during excavations . Since then, at the latest, the fate of the settlements has been inextricably linked with the trade in salt across the Salzach. Today one assumes a more or less continuous use and settlement of the area from the Bronze Age to our days.

From the early Middle Ages there is only sparse evidence of building development on the castle hill. From the 8th to the 10th century, there was probably a fortified court yard of the Agilolfingian dukes to monitor the salt shipping - remains of the foundations indicate this. There are also numerous settlements from this period in the vicinity, and the Inn-Salzach estuary was the geographical center of the Agilolfing sphere of influence, which in the 10th century stretched from the Lech to the Vienna Woods and from the Fichtel Mountains to the Adriatic Sea . The collapse of the Agilolfing tribal duchy meant that the area around Burghausen Castle was now located between the Passau monastery , the archbishopric of Salzburg , the duchy of Austria and the provost of Berchtesgaden .

High Middle Ages

In 1025, during the reign of the last Luxembourg Duke Heinrich V of Bavaria , Burghausen was mentioned in a document as an imperial property - the oldest mention that has survived to this day. At this time, as in the entire 11th century, the seat of the Counts of Burghausen , a branch of the Sieghardinger line, can be found on the castle hill . The first major expansion took place around 1090, fragments of the palace from this period are still preserved. In 1130 the settlement under the castle was granted market rights and Burghausen was already referred to as 'urbs' in sources. In 1140, the predecessor of today's St. James' Church was consecrated in the valley settlement . After the death of the last Count of Burghausen, Gebhard II., The castle finally passed into the possession and sphere of influence of the Wittelsbachers in 1168 ; Parts of the associated lands went to the Babenbergs . From 1180, under the rule of the Wittelsbacher Otto I , first Duke of Bavaria , the castle was massively expanded. Finally, in 1235, the year of Henry XIII's birth . , Burghausen received city ​​rights ; Between the castle and the Salzach a stately settlement by medieval standards had developed.

After the first division of Bavaria , under the 20-year-old Duke Heinrich XIII. from 1255 a completely new facility was built, some of which is still preserved today within the main castle. The inner castle chapel from this year is considered to be the oldest early Gothic church in southern Bavaria. Dürnitz and Kemenate also date from the middle of the 13th century . From this point on, Burghausen Castle served as the second residence of the Dukes of Lower Bavaria next to Trausnitz Castle in Landshut .

Late Middle Ages and early Renaissance

Ascent to the bower

The most important and most intensive construction periods took place in the two following centuries. After Bavaria was divided again by the sons of Stephen II in 1392, Burghausen Castle remained the second residence on the newly created line between Bavaria and Landshut . The first regent was Duke Friedrich the Wise († 1393). Under the three "rich" Wittelsbach dukes of this line ( Heinrich 1393–1450, Ludwig 1450–1479 and above all Georg 1479–1503) the castle complex was massively expanded and received its current character. The fear of the approaching Turks in particular led to a strong fortification expansion from around 1490, for which the ducal kit warden and court architect Ulrich Pesnitzer was responsible. The main burden of the construction work was borne by the local farmers.

As a residence, the castle had to offer space for a functioning community in addition to its function as a fortress . The complex was given the shape of a self-contained, spacious fortified and residential castle. The enormous dimensions - during this time the castle reached its current length of over one kilometer - even allowed the creation of larger gardens. The stables housed several hundred horses. Craft businesses, residential and administrative rooms as well as several churches were distributed over the various castle courtyards. The residents were distributed from "above" (main castle) to "below" (sixth courtyard) , depending on their status .

With the Landshut War of Succession (1504/05) and the associated “reunification” of the Bavarian duchies under Albrecht IV , Burghausen lost its status as a residence. Instead, the castle now served the sons of Duke Albrecht as a so-called “prince's residence”. At this time, the chronicler Johannes Thurmayr, better known as Johannes Aventinus , lived in Burghausen for some time - but not in the castle building, from which there is an attached plaque and even the name of the house (“Aventinushaus”) today.

Modern times

Burghausen castle in the model by Jakob Sandtner from 1574

In the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, the castle continued to be of great military importance due to its extraordinary location and its function as a main arsenal. Further alterations were made from the 16th century to the 18th century under the premise of defensibility; the residential character slowly receded into the background architecturally. The famous city model by Jakob Sandtner from 1574 provides a detailed overview of Burghausen Castle a few decades after its heyday as a residence. In the 17th century, during the Thirty Years' War , the fortifications were particularly strengthened, especially before the Swedes advancing in 1632 . In this context, the Swedish Field Marshal Gustav Graf Horn sat in the dungeon of the main castle from 1634 to 1641.

In the 18th century the outer works of the castle were extended according to the system of the fortress builder Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban . After Bavaria's participation in the War of Austrian Succession 1740–1748, extensive renovations followed, especially after Burghausen was appointed garrison town in 1763. As a result of the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/1779 and the subsequent Peace of Teschen , Burghausen was ceded to the Duchy of Austria to the border town; Although the demarcation along the Salzach was briefly revised again under Napoléon I , the Innviertel finally came under the rule of Austria after the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15 . During the Napoleonic occupation in 1800 and 1801, all the northern outer works were demolished by French troops under Marshal Michel Ney . This exposed the only vulnerable, level access to the castle. In 1809 Napoléon I declared the fortress outdated. In the following decades, the garrison of the Royal Bavarian Army stationed in Burghausen (1816–1849: 1st Jäger Battalion , 1849–1878: 2nd Jäger Battalion, from 1878: 1st Battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment ), parts of the Burg were privately sold at the same time. In 1893 the garrison was disbanded. An already planned demolition of the castle could barely be prevented by the citizens of Burghausen.

In 1896 the first renovation of the main castle began, which in some cases had a major impact on the appearance of the complex. The entire castle complex has been refurbished since the 1960s. In some cases, attempts have recently been made to reverse later interventions (especially from the 19th and 20th centuries), which is not undisputed. Today the castle belongs mostly to the Free State of Bavaria and is under the Bavarian Administration of State Palaces, Gardens and Lakes , or Bavarian Palace Administration for short. This rents parts of the castle as apartments, others as event rooms. There are several museums in the main castle as well as in other courtyards. a. a torture museum, a castle and city museum, a branch of the Bavarian State Painting Collection and a photo museum.

Bavarian State Exhibition 2012

In 2004 the castle was one of the two main exhibition areas of the Bavarian State Garden Show . For this purpose, extensive renovation measures were carried out again between 2002 and 2004. Since then it has been possible to enter the entire upper kennel of the main castle again. In addition, archaeological excavations in the area of ​​the main castle (Dürnitz) brought remarkable finds to light, which can be viewed today in the visitor center of the main castle.

From April 27 to November 4, 2012, the House of Bavarian History and the City of Burghausen organized the Bavarian State Exhibition in the castle complex in cooperation with the Bavarian Palace Administration and the Office of the Upper Austrian Provincial Government with the title: Bavaria and Austria in the Middle Ages: Allied - Enemies - related by marriage . Other exhibition locations on the Austrian side were Mattighofen Castle , which the municipality acquired and converted for this exhibition in 2007, and the former Augustinian monastery in Ranshofen in Braunau am Inn .

Building description

Castle plan

Main castle (first courtyard, inner courtyard)

The main castle in the south, also called inner castle or inner courtyard, represents the oldest part of the castle and contains the central medieval elements: Palas , Dürnitz , bower , castle chapel, as well as the so-called treasury and the dungeon . The last major expansion took place at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century .

The so-called Torwartstüberl is let into the entrance gate of the main castle on the east side. Both were built in this form around 1480. The gate kennel of the main castle is located between the entrance gate and the inner castle gate (Elsbethen gate) . The Elsbethen-Tor is with the powerful, seven-story castle keep and curtain wall connected and could with a portcullis be quickly closed in emergencies. The inner courtyard is closed off at the south end by the Palas, in the west by the bower and in the east by the Dürnitz and the inner palace chapel. Diagonally above the Elsbethen-Tor, on the inside, a painting from the 16th century can be seen depicting a scene with the Three Kings .

The three-story bower, four-story in the middle, on the right-hand side to the west was probably the apartment of the Duchess's court . The outer walls and the oldest parts of the interior date from the 13th century . The late Gothic groin and net vaults on the ground and first floors are impressive . The upper floors were last changed in the 16th century and have wooden ceilings with heavy beams. Today the city museum is located here. The bower is connected to the Dürnitz by a Schwibbogen . The arch is painted with the Bavarian and Baden coats of arms and the year 1523, which is intended to commemorate the wedding of Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria with Jakobäa von Baden . However, the arch was built decades earlier.

The Dürnitzstock, today a visitor center
View over the battlements of the lower Zwinger and the battlements to the powder tower (around 1490/1500) beyond the Wöhrsee (right edge of the picture)

Opposite the bower is the Dürnitzstock on the left to the east. On the ground floor, the Zehrgarden , a storage room of the ducal court, can be reached via a few steps from the main castle courtyard. It was expanded in 2004 as a visitor center, including the pillars of later constructions and restored to their original octagonal shape. The pillars such as the ribbed vault date from the 15th century , the meter-thick outer walls from the 13th century. During excavations between 2002 and 2004, wall remains and graves from the early Middle Ages were found, which have been uncovered and can be viewed.

The dining room ( Dürnitz ) of the entire ducal court and the kitchen are also located on the first floor under ribbed vaults . The Dürnitz was one of the few rooms that could already be heated smoke-free by a rear- loading furnace in the Middle Ages . A source from 1509 speaks of 38 tables that were placed between the columns. The room is long with two naves of five bays. It was probably also used as a meeting and negotiation room. The second floor was occupied by the dance hall in the 15th century, the representative large hall for especially summer court festivities. Later, especially during the garrison era, it was heavily modified and subdivided and today it has no particular structural significance. The same goes for the top floor; It was not until the early 18th century that it was placed in the form of a gable roof on the flat roof , which was originally crowned with battlements .

Interior view of the Elisabeth Chapel

The Elisabeth Chapel, built in 1255, is located between Dürnitz and Palas. Its late Romanesque core was changed in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and today houses a choir altar with a shrine from 1524. On the ceilings of the single-nave building, frescoes dating from the 14th century can be seen. The bell in the tower dates from 1474.

The chapel leads directly to the ground floor of the palase opposite the courtyard gate, which, like the Zehrgarden, is a few steps below the level of the courtyard and is arranged irregularly due to the terrain and frequent renovations. The ground floor presumably also comes from the late Romanesque construction phase under Duke Heinrich XIII. , the outer walls maybe even from the 12th century . At the southern tip there is a trapezoidal room with a mighty central support; this is followed by a three-part room with three bays each to the north. The ceiling in turn consists of heavy ribbed vaults.

The Duke's former three-part suite of rooms is located on the first floor of the Palas. It consisted of two oven-heated rooms and a bedroom in between; the small room with the bay window probably served as a writing room or as a studiolo based on the French and Italian models. In the vestibule (Fletz) the year 1484 can be seen above a door leading to the ducal apartment. Most of the rooms have been preserved in the state they were in during those years of the government of Duke George the Rich , with heavy oak supports, wooden ceilings and a bay window. The similarly arranged former apartments of the Duchess Hedwig of Poland extend on the second floor , most of which have also been preserved in their old state. She stayed here for a long time, while her husband mainly resided in Landshut at Trausnitz Castle.

Today the first castle courtyard houses a small private living area and the Dürnitz visitor center, the castle and city museum and the Bavarian picture gallery, in which, among other things, the ducal living quarters and the kemenate can be viewed. The connection over the deep moat to the adjoining second castle courtyard is a relatively young wooden bridge. Down the slope, on the other three sides of the main castle, there are the upper and lower Zwinger, i.e. high walls in front of the castle.

A battlement several hundred meters long connects the main castle with the gun and battery tower on the other side of the Wöhrsee , the so-called powder tower , which was built by Ulrich Pesnitzer around 1500 . It has walls up to five meters (!) Thick, four storeys and a deep well on the ground floor, through which the tower crew could supply themselves with water in the event of a siege.

First forecourt (second courtyard)

The second courtyard, also known as the first forecourt, which was built in its present form in the late Middle Ages as the first extension to the main castle, contains only a few of the original buildings and defensive walls. The Marstall , which housed up to 100 horses in the 15th century, and the Hofpfisterei (bakery) (both from 1478), which stood on the west side of the courtyard, have disappeared. They were demolished at the time of the garrison to make room for exercises. The same applies to the ducal horse ponds, the remains of which were archaeologically examined between 2002 and 2004. Only the apartments of the stables and carters have been preserved; however, these were reused and structurally adapted several times. During the time of the Burghausen garrison, the building served as a canteen; today there is a kiosk and public toilets. The defensive walls of the second courtyard have been demolished at about chest height and today allow wonderful views of the old town (in the east) and Wöhrsee (in the west). Only a building remains of the former brewery near the tube fountain and is today's Burg-Café.

The so-called Kammerer Tower ("Rundel") is located near the ditch to the first courtyard . An underground corridor is said to have led from him into the city, even under the Salzach into what is now Austria. The famous folk music researcher and museum director Hans Kammerer lived here. Right next to it in the trench - it has a depth of 8 m and a width of 27 m - is a covered well with a depth of over 50 m. Three small gates lead out of the moat: to the "Rundel", to the south into the lower vault of the outer gate of the 1st courtyard and to the north to the first forecourt. At the southwest corner of the second courtyard, a few meters west of the moat, there is an observation tower that was formerly a tower at the entrance to the lower Zwinger.

On the east side there is an exit to the old town, probably the oldest connection between settlement and castle. It joins the Burgsteig and Geistwirtgassl on the town square . Slightly in front of the defensive walls is the Stephansturm with gate, the core of which dates from the 13th century. In the 19th century it was called Kasernberg . With it, the access from the old town could be closed. Unusual loopholes have been preserved between the Stephansturm and the old defensive wall, which are stepped at the firing angle. Above the way to the old town are the former apartments of the Marstaller and Fuhrknechte and the so-called tower of the "top chairman" (always ready to use the alarm guard) with a crenellated crown.

The second courtyard is closed to the north by the Georgstor. It used to be called St.-Elsbethen-Tor , Hochtor or Prinzentor . It got this name from the tower keeper Jacob Primbs, who had to move his apartment here from the keep of the main castle around 1600 as the master of the tower. The gate was built in 1494 and has been preserved almost unchanged. It consists of two towers and a mighty crossbar in between. It borders the courtyard to the north to the third courtyard and was built to protect the main castle. On the south-western part of the gate, a piece of defensive wall has been preserved at its original height. In front of the Georgstor there is a deep weir ditch, which is spanned by a wooden bridge. On the Georgstor, above the entrance, there is a late Gothic Bavarian-Polish alliance coat of arms, which commemorates the wedding of Princess Hedwig of Poland to Duke Georg von Wittelsbach ( Landshut Wedding , 1475), who gave the gate its name. The white Piast eagle and the Lithuanian horseman can be seen on the Polish coat of arms .

The second courtyard and the main castle belonged to the inner castle area. Anyone found in it without permission ran the risk of having their ears cut off.

Second forecourt (third courtyard)

The third castle courtyard, also known as the second forecourt, is defined by a three-storey old tuff cuboid, the armory from 1427 at the latest. It was already in its present form before the area was fenced in and designed as a castle courtyard. The intermediate ceilings are designed as heavy wooden structures, each supported in the middle by seven brick pillars. An ammunition inventory from 1533 reports that 185 guns are said to have been stored on the two lower floors, including a heavy stone rifle ("Esl"), as well as field snakes , arquebuses and ammunition. The stone balls that now adorn the roadsides in the castle complex were also intended as ammunition for artillery. The armory was renovated in 1692 and heavily modified in the 19th century (the roof structure was flattened). The original function was to store grain on the upper floors and weapons and artillery on the ground floor. The forge that was once directly to the north is no longer there, only the roof approaches on the north side of the armory can be seen.

The eastern side of the courtyard is bordered by the so-called “pepper boxes”, three small turrets and defense turrets. From the third courtyard, through openings created in modern times through the defensive wall, steep paths lead in the east to the old town ( Stethaimer Weg ) and in the west through the opening "Zur Schönen Aussicht", once a court of justice . Another preserved building in the third courtyard is the former apartment of the warden: the court box-counter-writer tower, also known as the gunsmith's tower or the warrior's tower, which was later also the major's apartment of the garrison commander, goes over the so-called "oath fingers" - a brick ornament in shape of dovetail pinnacles - into the actual defensive wall. For a long time there was wild speculation about the function of these oath fingers, until they were finally identified as plainly as mundane as pure wall decoration.

The ridge is particularly narrow at the level of the third courtyard, so that the buildings here were probably never as extensive as on the other courtyards. What is striking is the former composition of turrets, gun and ammunition stores and a forge. In addition, in the third courtyard the change in the overall character can be felt very clearly due to the removal of the defensive wall down to chest height.

Third forecourt (fourth courtyard)

The fourth courtyard, also known as the third forecourt, is bordered in the east by the Haberkasten or Langer Kasten . Originally built between 1387 and 1427 as a 120 m long stable ( stables for about 100 horses) and warehouse for feed supplies, it was demolished in 1878 to create a gym for the garrison. In 1960/61 a new building was built according to the original floor plan and in the original location as a youth hostel . After the youth hostel moved to the old town, from 1995 to 2014 it included the Athanor Academy for the Performing Arts , which then moved to Passau.

The late medieval grain knife tower or Getreidewärtlturm , adjoining to the south , initially served as the apartment of the warehouse manager, the "grain knife", and later the sacristan of the inner castle chapel. During the garrison it was sutlery .

The chaplain of the inner castle chapel later lived in a fortified tower with a late Gothic six-step gable opposite, the Aventinushaus . Only remains of the tinned wall that used to surround it have survived. The house in its current form has a gable roof and is three-story. The plaque attached in the 19th century, which identifies the house as the temporary residence of Johannes Turmair ("Aventinus"), is based on an error.

The north side of the fourth courtyard consists of a coherent building complex, the former Fronfeste , which also marks the border to the fifth courtyard. The former ditch was already filled in in the 16th century. The largest of the buildings was built from 1574 to 1661 as the New Armory , and was later also called the double box guard apartment and hospital . In 1751/52 the extension was made along the old barrier wall to the 5th courtyard with a covered passage ( torture passage ) to the breeding or work house ( Fronfeste ). On the eastern slope to the old town, the building is bordered by the Hexenturm , a prison tower with several cells, in which the last woman who was executed as a witch in Burghausen was imprisoned in 1751 - although in Burghausen, incidentally, more men and children than "Witches" were killed as women.

On the other side of the narrow gate, through which you get into the fifth courtyard, stands the torture tower (also known as Schergenturm , Amtmannsturm or Eisenfronfeste ) as the western end of the Fronfeste . Today it is accessible as a private museum, in which a number of early modern torture and murder tools can be viewed in authentic surroundings . The dungeon in the basement, whose only light source was a barred hole in the ceiling, has been preserved along with cast-iron eyelets for the chained prisoners. The torture chamber ( Fragstatt ) was located exactly above this hole ; The prisoners were able to “experience first hand” what was waiting for them, especially acoustically.

In Burghausen, thousands of people were tortured and executed, especially in the early modern period ; the last execution took place in 1831. The place of execution was not in the castle, but in a field a few kilometers to the north; often the convicts were killed directly in their places of residence as a deterrent. Burghausen certainly was the seat of the judicial authorities, which resulted in the population following snappy slogan: ". Between Alas and woe, Cross, sorrow and Klausen, the slave-nest Burghausen is" With Oh , woe, (Saints) Cross, sorrow and Klausen is they are place names from the area or today's districts of Burghausen.

Fourth forecourt (fifth courtyard)

The Hedwig Chapel built around 1489

On the fifth courtyard, also known as the fourth forecourt, the Spinnhäusl adjoins the prison complex on the east side , a comparatively small women's prison from the 16th century, which, however, underwent major changes in 1968. The former gardener's tower to the north of it, which was converted into a lookout point in 1960, was also significantly changed . The wide, green space in front of the two buildings was the garden of the Vitztum in the Burghausen Rent Office. Vizedome have been mentioned in Burghausen since 1392 and have lived in the main castle since 1514. The garden has been planted with orchards since the state horticultural show in 2004 . The defensive wall on the west side was also removed down to chest height.

The outer castle chapel, often called Hedwig's chapel, has been preserved in all its splendor and is attributed to the foreman Wolfgang Wiser (Wiesinger) in terms of style . It was commissioned by Duchess Hedwig and Duke Georg von Wittelsbach and was under construction in 1489. The church was consecrated from the beginning to the "Holy Virgin Mary".

The chapel is one of the most important late Gothic buildings in Bavaria. The vaults with ribs over a curved floor plan, which were among the stylistic innovations in vault construction at the time, are particularly significant. Although part of the chapel is embedded in the eastern defensive wall, its filigree character is impressive; a small porch rests on delicate red marble pillars; At the corners of the porch, sandstone figures can be seen under canopies , depicting the English greeting : the angel Gabriel on the left, Mary on the right . Remains of late Gothic frescoes can be seen on the walls inside. There are also late medieval votive reliefs, statues under canopies from the same period, which are directly connected to the astonishingly irregular ribbed vault. The chapel is in excellent condition; only the altarpiece is no longer original, but it also dates from the late 15th century and has been on loan from the Bavarian National Museum in Munich since 1959 .

The northern boundary of the fifth courtyard forms on the one hand the former caste office with the later built residential buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries and the opposite block counter tower, which burned down in 1803 and was rebuilt in different ways. Up to this point, the two buildings were connected by an archway and separated from the sixth courtyard by a deep moat. The gate was broken off and the moat was filled in.

Fifth forecourt (sixth courtyard)

The clock tower in the sixth courtyard from the 16th century, with a fountain and sundial
The caste office in the sixth courtyard

While large parts of the castle courtyards two to five are surrounded by defensive walls, the sixth and northernmost castle courtyard, also called the fifth forecourt, is again built on more extensively with buildings. The ridge is much wider here and gives the courtyard a space-like character. On the west side there are three defense towers from the 14th century, which were converted into a court clerk, beneficiary and forester tower at the time of the rent office . In between there are numerous smaller craft houses. On the east side of the courtyard, next to the chancellor's tower, there is the Christophs-Tor zum Hofberg, a path to the old town that can be driven by carts . The core of the buildings surrounding the gate date from the late Middle Ages, but were structurally changed between the 16th and 18th centuries and from the early modern period were administrative buildings for the rent office (rent master, rent clerk, chancellor , forester, castler, etc.). A tower served as the apartment of the executioner von Burghausen from 1779 to 1801 . Before the cession of the Innviertel to the emerging Austrian Empire , the executioner lived in Ach on the opposite side of the Salzach. Approximately in the middle of the sixth courtyard is the picturesque clock tower with a striking clock and sundial from the 16th century, directly attached to a now roofed fountain . Contrary to the usual time display, the tower clock shows the minutes with the short hand and the hour with the long hand.

From the vantage point in the western castle wall you have a beautiful view of the Wöhrsee (Urbett or old arm of the Salzach) and the powder tower, which is connected to the castle kennel by a battlement. In the background are Leprosenkirche Holy Cross to see (from 1477) in the district of the same name and the Sanctuary in the district Marienberg, a rococo building , built from 1760 to 1764.

The deep moat with the mighty fortification behind it, which closed off the castle and the entire old town to the north, is no longer preserved. All buildings were demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. Behind a deep ditch, the “neck ditch”, was a mighty wall with three defense towers; behind it, in turn, the "Schütt", a storage building several storeys high, is a transverse bar. Access to the castle was not straight from the north, but diagonally from the northeast via a drawbridge through the gate kennel, which could be completely closed by three gates - into the castle, to the old town and to the north. Today only the Christophs-Tor exists, the former entrance from the Zwinger to the castle. The visitor parking lot is above the former moat, the former outer walls were remodeled in 1965. At first you don't have the feeling of entering a castle - the only ground-level entrance from the north, which was once massively protected and which originally formed the opposite pole to the main castle in the south, appears all too open today.

Panorama of Burghausen Castle from the east
Panorama from the west at night


The Burghauser Burg was, among other things, the location for the Christian Ditter film Wickie on the Great Voyage , 1½ Ritter by and with Til Schweiger , and Hollywood filmmakers have already used the structural authenticity of the old castle as a backdrop, as in the remake of Die Drei Musketeers .


  • Magdalena March: Princely building projects as manifestations of new concepts of rule in the 15th and early 16th centuries. Examined at the ducal residence in Burghausen and residences in the Inn-Danube region. In: Communications from the Residences Commission of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences. New episode: Stadt und Hof 6/6 (2017), pp. 77–116 online version
  • Stephan Hoppe : The residences of the rich dukes of Bavaria in Ingolstadt and Burghausen. Functional aspects of your architecture around 1480 in a European context. In: Wittelsbacher studies. Ceremony for Duke Franz von Bayern on his 80th birthday (series of publications on Bavarian regional history, vol. 166), edited by Alois Schmid and Hermann Rumschöttel. Munich 2013, pp. 173–200 ( full text online ).
  • Joachim Zeune : The treasure chambers of Burghausen Castle. Thoughts on a research desideratum. In: Everyday life in castles in the Middle Ages. Braubach 2006, pp. 74-82.
  • Brigitte Langer: Burghausen Castle. Official leader. Munich 2004.
  • Johann Dorner: Duchess Hedwig and her court. Everyday life at Burghausen Castle based on original sources from the 15th century (= Burghauser Geschichtsblätter Vol. 53). Burghausen 2002.
  • Alois Buchleitner: Burghausen. City - castle - history. 6th edition. Burghausen 2001 ( Burghauser Geschichtsblätter. Volume 33).
  • Alois Buchleitner, Johann Dorner, Max Hingerl, Josef Pfennigmann : Six hundred years of Burghausen Rent Office. Burghausen 1992 ( Burghauser Geschichtsblätter. Volume 47).
  • August Landgraf: Medieval wooden fixtures in Burghausen Castle . In: Burgen und Schlösser 22, II (1981), pp. 108–111.
  • Volker Liedke: Building age plans for urban redevelopment Burghausen . In: Burghauser Geschichtsblätter . No. 34 , 1978, ZDB -ID 342459-5 ( DNB data set ).
  • Josef Pfennigmann : Burghausen on the Salzach. In: Unknown Bavaria. Castles - palaces - residences. Süddeutscher Verlag, Munich 1960, reprint 1975/1976, ISBN 3-7991-5839-1 .
  • Albert Balthasar: The building history of the castle and the city fortifications of Burghausen . unpublished Manuscript dissertation TU Munich 1950.
  • Gustav von Betzold, Berthold Riehl, and G. Hager: The art monuments of the administrative region of Upper Bavaria. 3rd part: District offices of Mühldorf, Altötting, Laufen, Berchtesgaden . Munich, 1905. Full text online On the Burghausen castle there p. 2444ff.
  • Ignaz Joseph von Obernberg : To the history of the castle Burghausen. With a supplement containing the list of captains and Vicedome in Burghausen . In: Upper Bavarian Archive for Patriotic History , Volume 2, Munich 1840, pp. 117-137 ( online ).

Web links

Commons : Burg zu Burghausen  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Burghausen has the longest castle in the world. On: Die Welt Online from August 29, 2009.
  2. Burghauser Anzeiger from June 30, 2015 (accessed December 12, 2018)
  3. ^ Main castle on the Burghausen Castle website
  4. Hoppe 2013. See the New Castle in Ingolstadt.
  5. ^ Courtyards of the castle on the Burghausen Castle website
  6. ^ Gertrud Pretterebner: Builder Wolf Wiser. in: Burghauser Geschichtsblätter, 30 (1970), pp. 5-43; Brigitte Langer: Burghausen Castle. Official leader. Munich 2004, p. 28. The older attributions to Ulrich Pesnitzer etc. are thus outdated.
  7. The sources are in Dorner, 2002, p. 80 f. discussed. There is no evidence that construction began around 1479. The fact that the two known documents from 1489 indicate completion or consecration does not correspond to the facts. The design language of the building points to a late development, perhaps even into the 1490s.
  8. Wickie 2: Castle becomes a film set
  9. ^ Burghausen as a film set. Retrieved August 21, 2018 .