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The Wachtenburg ruins

The Wachtenburg ruins

Alternative name (s): Wachenheim Castle
Creation time : around 1100 to 1200
Castle type : Höhenburg, spur location
Conservation status: ruin
Place: Wachenheim on the Wine Route
Geographical location 49 ° 26 '10.3 "  N , 8 ° 10' 21.3"  E Coordinates: 49 ° 26 '10.3 "  N , 8 ° 10' 21.3"  E
Height: 232  m above sea level NN
Wachtenburg (Rhineland-Palatinate)

The Wachtenburg is the ruin of a spur castle at 232  m above sea level. NN high mountain spur on the middle Haardt , a ridge parallel to the Rhine in the Bad Dürkheim district of Rhineland-Palatinate . The castle on the so-called "Schloßberg" directly above Wachenheim an der Weinstrasse is the landmark of the place. From the castles in the area it offers the best view over the Rhine Graben.


The castle was built in the 12th century - probably on the orders of Konrad von Hohenstaufen - its first documentary mention comes from 1257. In 1273 Rudolf von Habsburg bought it as a dowry for his daughter. Her son, Count Palatine Rudolf I , gave her in 1277 as an after-fief to Count Emich IV of Leiningen-Landeck .

In the war of 1375 between Count von Leiningen and the cities of Mainz, Worms and Speyer, the castle and the town of Wachenheim suffered great damage. The renovated castle went to the Count Palatine von Zweibrücken-Veldenz in 1410. Anna von Veldenz , wife of Duke Stefan von Pfalz-Simmern-Zweibrücken, died here in 1439. In 1470 the Wachtenburg was destroyed in the course of the seizure of ownership by Elector Friedrich I and later only partially rebuilt. At that time, the Palatinate gunner Martin Merz was in charge of the bombardment.

In the Nine Years War in 1689, French troops blew up in 1689 to under General Melac keep , but half stopped. The castle, which is no longer habitable, was inherited in 1718 by the Electoral Palatinate Minister Johann Ferdinand von Sickingen (1664–1719), whose descendants sold it in 1796 to the Philipp Kunz heirs in Wachenheim.

In 1864 Ludwig Heim from Wachenheim acquired the castle ruins and their properties for 8,000 guilders. He carried out excavations , terraced the site and applied in vain for a grant for the renovation of the Wachtenburg. In 1878 it was auctioned to a citizen of Worms, from whom Albert Bürklin bought it in 1883 . His heirs donated them to the city of Wachenheim in 1984. A newly founded support group leased the ruins and has been carrying out renovation measures since then.

Today's castle complex

The Wachtenburg is a popular destination for hikers who can stop off in the associated castle tavern. Located on the western edge of the Rheingraben directly above Wachenheim, it is known as the "balcony of the Palatinate" because of the view over the Rhine plain. In June, the castle is one of the central locations at the Wachenheim Castle and Wine Festival .

Aerial view
Castle gate from the outside
Palaswand from the east

The castle complex is much larger than you might think from below. The 8 m high ring wall that follows the mountain spur is over 400 meters long and extends down with the lower castle to today's Schlossgasse. The older upper castle is graduated following the terrain and is dominated by the approximately 30 m high keep. Its building core and the shield walls adjoining it on both sides are assigned to the 12th century. The tower originally measured 10 × 11 meters in cross section, half of which has been preserved. Around 1900 a steel staircase was built into it, which leads up to the viewing platform. In the eastern part, the so-called lower castle, there was a palas , of which a long wall with window and door openings still stands.

Since 1984 the "Support Group for the Preservation of the Ruin Wachtenburg eV" has been working on the maintenance and restoration of the ruins. The largest renovation measure in recent years concerned the keep, it began in 2004 and ended in November 2005. The keep was renovated at a cost of 400,000 euros, with the more than 100-year-old steel staircase being renewed. Some of the walls and buildings interlocked with the natural rock were included in the renovation and the subsoil was checked geophysically for its stability beforehand .

Panorama: View from the observation tower of the Wachtenburg


  • Jürgen Keddigkeit , Ulrich Burkhart, Rolf Übel : Palatinate Castle Lexicon, Volume 4.2: St-Z . Institute for Palatinate History and Folklore, Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern 2007, ISBN 978-3-927754-56-0 , pp. 164–182.
  • Alexander Thon (Ed.): How swallow nests glued to the rock. Castles in the Northern Palatinate . 1st edition Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2005, pp. 152–157, ISBN 3-7954-1674-4 .
  • Alexander Thon, "We have not received any information as to which ruler of the German Empire built it ...". Comments on the determination and evaluation of the first mention of Palatinate castles , in: Mythos Staufer - in memoriam Dankwart Leistikow - files of the 5th Landau Staufer Conference 1st – 3rd July 2005, ed. v. Volker Herzner u. Jürgen Krüger, Speyer 2010, pp. 127–139, here pp. 131–133 (on the question of the origins of the Reichsburg before 1235). ISBN 3-932155-27-0

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Castle history on the website of the Association for the Preservation of the Ruin Wachtenburg eV
  2. ^ Johann Georg Lehmann : Complete history of the Duchy of Zweibrücken and its princes , Munich, 1867, p. 86; (Digital scan)
  3. ^ Michael Benz: Johann Ferdinand von und zu Sickingen (1664–1719). In: Blätter für Pfälzische Kirchengeschichte und Religiöse Volkskunde, 53rd year, 1986, pp. 255–264.

Web links

Commons : Wachtenburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files