Kranichstein hunting lodge

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Kranichstein hunting lodge

The Jagdschloss Kranichstein is a former hunting lodge in the Kranichstein district of the same name in the north of Darmstadt . It was originally built in 1578 for Landgrave Georg I of Hesse-Darmstadt . The castle is one of the few surviving baroque hunting grounds in Germany.

Today the complex houses a hunting museum and a hotel with a restaurant .


The focus of the exhibition in the Museum Jagdschloss Kranichstein is courtly hunting from the Baroque period

Landgrave Georg I (1547–1596) had the three-wing renaissance building built between 1578 and 1580 by his master builder Jakob Kesselhuth .

The Hessian landgraves Ernst Ludwig (1667–1739) and Ludwig VIII (1691–1768), who were enthusiastic about hunting , organized hunting festivals in the form of parforce hunts and “ discontinued hunting ”. In addition, the building, which was still functional at the time, was adapted to the baroque ideas of representation, elegance and luxury.

Star-shaped aisles were cut into the surrounding forest for hunting. Ludwig VIII had the baroque hunting lodge Dianaburg built for himself in 1765 as part of the overall complex of the Kranichstein Palace and located about two and a half kilometers north of it.

The landgraves and later Grand Dukes of Hessen-Darmstadt used the complex for hunting for over 350 years .

From June 1863 the palace was used as a residence by the later Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and his wife Alice until the New Palace was completed in 1866. On June 2, 1863, Alice wrote to her mother, Queen Victoria: "When I return now, I have to unpack and pack for Kranichstein and set up the house there, which no one has lived in for eighty years." In the following years, up to Alice's death in 1878, Kranichstein Castle was used as a summer residence. In a letter dated June 27, 1863, she wrote to her mother: "I bathe every morning and swim around, there is a nice little bathhouse there." She also describes how her husband, the future Grand Duke, broke through the ice while skating on the Backhausteich in 1875: "Last week Louis gave me a terrible shock by breaking into a very deep spot on the ice .... There it was in Kranichstein, he undressed and rubbed himself in front of the stove in the administrator's room, in whose clothes he also came home, which looked very funny. "

It only became a museum when the last Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig had all hunting equipment and accessories from all of his castles and hunting houses collected here in 1917. Court Marshal Kuno Graf von Hardenberg set up the hunting museum.

The Hessischer Jägerhof Foundation acquired the facility after the Second World War and finally reopened the museum in 1952 with a focus on the Baroque period .

From 1988 to 1996 the castle was extensively renovated by the state of Hesse , the city of Darmstadt and the Hessischer Jägerhof Foundation. The original Renaissance version was restored on the ground floor.

The Kranichstein hunting lodge has been used as a wedding venue since the end of the 20th century, including by celebrities, such as Joschka Fischer's fourth marriage in 1999.

Inner courtyard of the hunting lodge in winter

Hunting museum

Showcase in the weapons collection
Wilhelminian style deer hall
Monogram of Landgrave Ludwig VIII.
Bronze deer in front of the hunting lodge

On the ground floor, the museum shows an overview of the history of hunting from its beginnings to the baroque period. The focus is on courtly representation and hunting methods in the 18th century. The very extensive weapon collection is particularly impressive. Here the development of hunting rifles can be traced in detail. This applies to firearms such as firearms , wind rifles and crossbows , but also edged weapons such as deer catchers and boar feathers .

The rifles exhibited in the hunting museum of the Kranichstein hunting lodge were created by the court rifle makers Albrecht and Boßler .

On the upper floor, the courtly representative rooms are shown in their baroque splendor. In the corridors, the trophies are particularly impressive, especially the antlers of hunted deer mounted on wooden deer heads, although there are also some curiosities. Hunting paintings, tapestries and hunting accessories convey the atmosphere of a baroque pleasure palace.

Attractions are also the stables and the castle chapel. The stables on the ground floor of the east wing of the palace were freed from numerous fixtures during the last renovation and now serves as a hall for concerts and other events.

The castle chapel was established under Landgrave Georg I, known as the Pious. He stipulated that at least "half of the servants" had to attend church services regularly . The interior is now characterized by the decorative stucco ceiling and two wooden galleries , which are decorated with paintings.


Kavaliersbau ( Kavaliershaus ) of the Jagdschloss Kranichstein, today a restaurant with a garden terrace

The Hotel Jagdschloss Kranichstein, a four-star hotel, is located in one wing of the castle. The restaurant with garden terrace is located in the adjacent Kavaliersbau.

Regular events

The garden concert of the Merck Philharmonic takes place in the palace gardens every summer . The 27th edition took place on July 19, 2014. It is based on the Last Night of the Proms and incorporates elements of Broadway .


The complex used to include the Kavaliersbau right next to the castle , to the south the hunting arsenal with the associated hunting arsenal , plus the forester's house Kranichstein and the Hofgut Kranichstein to the west. In the immediate vicinity, east of the former park area of ​​the castle, along Zeughausallee, lies the Backhausteich , which people from Darmstadt and the surrounding area like to visit on foot or by bike. The hunting lodge was connected to the pheasantry and the Steinbrücker pond via the Ruthsenbach . To the north and east in the large contiguous forest area, hunting aisles to Diana and Alexanderburg were laid out, which were themselves surrounded by aisle stars and hunting umbrellas . All of these objects are now Hessian cultural monuments and are easy to hike.


  • Wilhelm Andres: Wildlife Park Kranichstein. On the history of the Darmstadt Forest , Darmstadt 1981
  • Peter Engels: 600 years of Kranichstein , in: Sixth Summer Games, Jagdschloß Kranichstein , Darmstadt 1999
  • Kuno Graf von Hardenberg: The Kranichstein hunting lodge and the hunting painters of the Landgräflichen Hof zu Darmstadt , Darmstadt 1918
  • Ernst Hofmann: Guide to the Darmstadt Hunting Museum, Schloss Kranichstein , Darmstadt 1981
  • Eberhard Lohmann: Landgrave Georg I and the beginnings of Kranichstein Castle , Darmstadt 2002
  • Iris Reepen: Museum Jagdschloss Kranichstein , Deutscher Kunstverlag Munich / Berlin 2002 ISBN 3-422-06351-X
  • H. Retzlaff: Kranichstein. Renaissance castle and hunting museum near Darmstadt , Darmstadt 1961
  • Gisela Siebert: Kranichstein - hunting lodge of the Landgraves of Hessen-Darmstadt , Amorbach 1969
  • Gisela Siebert: Hunting lodges of the Landgraves of Hessen-Darmstadt on pictures from the 18th and 19th centuries , Darmstadt 2001
  • Wolfgang Weitz: Hunting weapons from the Jagdmuseum Schloss Kranichstein , in: Museum Blätter Niddaer Heimatmuseum , Nidda 1990
  • Bettina Clausmeyer-Ewers: Wildlife Park and Castle Garden Kranichstein , Deutscher Kunstverlag (DKV), 2006

Web links

Commons : Jagdschloss Kranichstein  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Karl Sell (ed.): Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and near Rhine, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, communications from her life and from her letters . 4th edition. Arnold Bergsträsser, Darmstadt 1884, p. 48 .
  2. Karl Sell (ed.): Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and near Rhine, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, communications from her life and from her letters . 4th edition. Arnold Bergsträsser, Darmstadt 1884, p. 50 .
  3. Karl Sell (ed.): Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and near Rhine, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, communications from her life and from her letters . 4th edition. Arnold Bergsträsser, Darmstadt 1884, p. 365-366 .
  4. finis: The last. In: . April 22, 1999, accessed October 28, 2016 .
  5. ^ Karl Dielmann: Museums in Hessen - a manual of the publicly accessible museums and collections in the state of Hessen . Ed .: Hessischer Museumsverband . 1st edition. Kassel 1970, OCLC 3950419 , p. 75 .
  6. Overview of the Hotel Jagdschloss Kranichstein at ; accessed on August 26, 2017
  7. Musical picnic. Garden concert - Philharmonie Merck brings London and Broadway to Darmstadt. Darmstädter Echo , archived from the original on August 8, 2014 ; Retrieved July 22, 2014 .
  8. Last Night meets Broadway. (No longer available online.), formerly in the original ; Retrieved July 22, 2014 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /

Coordinates: 49 ° 54 ′ 1 ″  N , 8 ° 41 ′ 51 ″  E