Dürnitz (desert)

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Dürnitz (also Dürrnitz , Durtzen ) is a desert in the district of the Lower Franconian municipality of Castell . The village was probably abandoned in the 14th century. The reasons are unclear.

Geographical location

The village was located at 454  m in the middle of the Steigerwald in the so-called Saalwald, about 3.5 kilometers east of the main town of Castell in the extreme northeast of the municipality. Because of its high location, it was exposed to climatic influences far more than the villages below the Steigerwaldschwelle. A small pond is still located on the former village corridor. The former corridor is called "Dörnertsberg".


The meaning of the name of the Dürnitz settlement is interpreted by research as "hall" or "hostel". It had its origin in the Slavic word dorniza , which means heated dining room . The village first appeared in the springs in 1313. At that time, the Bamberg monastery Michelsberg acquired some goods in the village from the Lords of Vestenberg . In 1374 there was a legal dispute between Fritz Hilprant von Volkach and Hans von Wiesenbronn over the possessions in the village. However, there are no precise descriptions of the size and affiliation of the place.

The village must have been deserted as early as 1399. Nevertheless, the land in the old village was still taxed in 1408 and 1420. For example, in 1420 a document mentioned “Durtzen, the Wisen ... Sua. to Durtzen XVII Pfunt ”. Only in 1445 was the taxation changed. Now the residents of Castell and Greuth , who owned property in the Dürrnitz area, are paying interest in their respective places of residence.

In 1548, a Würzburg description called Dürnitz “a little village in front of Zeyten (...) but now a deserted area (...).” A settlement concentration in the Steigerwald foreland began, the higher-lying villages were abandoned and their fields from exile continued to be cultivated. Several terraced fields of the former village have survived underground today. Three dams indicate earlier pond systems.


Similar to neighboring Castell and Friedrichsberg, there is a legend for the Dürnitz area about the so-called Sulzemännle, which is supposed to mislead hikers in the Steigerwald. The starting point of the legend can be found here.

The village of Dürnitz is said to have been burned down by robbers in an attack . Only one old couple survived the devastation and continued to live in the ruins of the former village. They also looked after their grandchildren, who had died in the attack . The raid had made it clear to the old man what to expect from other people and so they wanted to raise the child in seclusion without other people.

They alternately roamed through the Steigerwald and when they came across hikers who could meet their dwelling, they lured them far away from their hiding place. Nobody discovered the abandoned village and the child in the care of their grandparents undisturbed. The old man's plan became a legend outside and he was christened “Sulzemännle” after the forest in which he was up to mischief.


  • Roderich Machann: Desolations in the Steigerwald (= Mainfränkische Studien Vol. 5). Diss . Wuerzburg 1972.
  • Erwin Riedenauer: Desolation between the Main and Steigerwald . In the yearbook for Franconian regional research, vol. 47 , Würzburg 1987.
  • Peter Rückert: Land expansion and desertification of the high and late Middle Ages in the Franconian Gäuland. Diss . Wuerzburg 1990.
  • Theophil Steinbrenner, Gerhard Wahler, Auguste Steinberger, Felix von Fokczynski (eds.): Intermediate lights. Traditional stories from the old county of Castell . Albertshofen² 1979.

Individual evidence

  1. Machann, Roderich: deserted villages in the Steigerwald . P. 104.
  2. ^ Rückert, Peter: Land expansion and desertification of the high and late Middle Ages . P. 168.
  3. Digital collections: Erwin Riedenauer: Wüstungen between Main and Steigerwald . In the yearbook for Franconian regional research. Vol. 47 . Page 24 , accessed October 23, 2016
  4. Machann, Roderich: deserted villages in the Steigerwald . P. 105.
  5. Steinbrenner, Theophil (ed., Among others): Zwischerlichten . P. 60.

Coordinates: 49 ° 44 ′ 50.4 "  N , 10 ° 23 ′ 45.5"  E