Castle (German: Hambacher Schloss) is a castle near the urban
district Hambach of
Neustadt an der Weinstraße
Neustadt an der Weinstraße in
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is considered a symbol of the German
democracy movement because of the
Hambacher Fest which occurred here
2.1 Before 1832
2.2 Hambacher Fest
2.3 Modern history
3 External links
Castle is located on the mountain Schlossberg (literally
Castle mountain"; elevation: 325m) in the eastern
outskirts of the Palatine Forest. The estate ruled both as a
protection castle and as a robber baron castle over the trade roads
and the northern route of the Anterior Palatinate section of the Way
of St. James.
Archaeological finds prove that the area of Hambach
Castle was used in
late Roman times. In late
Carolingian Dynasty times and Ottonian
dynasty times a castle of refuge was built there. Portions remain in
front of and under the outer ring wall.
Probably in the first half of the 11th century, a new castle named
Kästenburg (translated in the Palatinate dialect as the "chestnut
castle") was built inside the former estate. It got its name because
of the surrounding magnificent sweet chestnut forests. There is little
known about its early history; there are speculations without any
proof that it was founded as an Imperial
Castle (Reichsburg) or that
Emperor Henry IV had started his
Walk to Canossa
Walk to Canossa here in 1076. The
only thing certain is that between 1090 and 1104 bishop Johann I of
Speyer signed over the estate together with
Castle Meistersel to the
Bishopric of Speyer, which stayed the owner to the end of the 18th
Aerial view of the castle
The big estate was said to be one of the most important facilities of
Bishopric of Speyer
Bishopric of Speyer in the late Middle Ages. This is indicated by
the many residencies of the bishops since 1180. Despite this the first
"Burgmannen" primary were known as Imperial
Ministeriales and not as
commissionaires of the church, especially the first one, Burkhard of
Kästenburg, who is provably in the imperial service from 1154 to
1186. His brother Trushard of Kästenburg, proven 1178–1201, had a
brilliant career at the court of Henry VI.
The descendants of Trushard had no connection to the Kästenburg.
Other houses of "Burgmannen" took place here, among them since 1256
the ministerial family Schnittlauch of Kästenburg, the Earls of
Zweibrücken (1284) and the Earls of Veldenz (1311).
Especially during the 13th century, larger building projects took
place. Nikolaus I was consecrated as
Bishop of Speyer
Bishop of Speyer in the castle
chapel on July 12, 1388. More construction was done at the end of the
14th century and in the second half of the 15th century by the bishops
Nikolaus I and Matthias I. The castle was the home for the
Episcopalian document archive at the end of the 14th century.
Later the importance of the Kästenburg declined, one reason being the
erection of the new estate Hanhofen after 1414/20 (later Marientraut).
In 1466 the Kästenburg was the property of the Bishopric of Speyer,
Prince-elector Friedrich I protected for Bishop Matthias. An
inventory taken one or two years before shows the castle still
German Peasants' War
German Peasants' War in 1525 the Kästenburg was occupied
and looted, but not destroyed, by the "Nußdorfer Bauernhaufen"
(literally translated: Nußdorf peasant bunch). In 1552 it was
conquered and burned down by troops of Margrave and mercenary-leader
Albrecht Alkibiades of Brandenburg to whom a tribute of 150,000 gulden
was denied. Bishop Marquard of Speyer, who was in office from
1560–81, only arranged a very provisional rebuilding of the
residential buildings and made the ruin the seat of a forester.
The former fortress was undamaged during the Thirty Years' War, but
during War of the Palatinian Succession in September 1688, the
erstwhile abandoned castle was destroyed by French soldiers. It was
once more provisionally restored from 1701 to 1703.
In 1797 the castle was declared to be French government property. In
1816 after the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna the ruin became the property of the
Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria together with the complete "linksrheinische Pfalz"
(literally translated: left-Rhine Palatinate). A short time later
citizens of Neustadt gave the worthless estate to the Bavarian King
Maximilian II as a "wedding present". Because of this, the castle is
also called "Maxburg" in colloquial language. In 1844 Bavaria began to
rebuild the castle in neo-gothic style,
August von Voit
August von Voit had provided
Main article: Hambacher Fest
The rally to Hambach
Castle 1832 with flags in gold-red-black (inverse
color order of the present German flag)
In the context of the
Hambacher Fest of 1832 the then ruined castle
was the focal point of the discontent of the Palatinate people over
the repressive measures of the Bavarian administration which had been
in office since 1816. The administration had retracted important
rights which had been given to the people by
French Revolution troops
(governing 1797/98-1815). Since the Hambacher Fest, Hambach
been considered a symbol of democracy.
Before the 150th anniversary of the
Hambacher Fest in 1982 the castle
was completely restored for about 12 million DM (about 6 million €).
During a further renovation period 2006-07 before the 175th
anniversary in 2007, the castle was closed to visitation for one year.
Today the national memorial is a museum and convention centre with
about 200,000 visitors per year. During the whole year events and
receptions of the federal state Rhineland-Palatinate, the District Bad
Dürkheim and the city
Neustadt an der Weinstraße
Neustadt an der Weinstraße take place here. A
VIP guest in May 1982 was US President
Ronald Reagan with his speech
"an die Jugend der Welt" (to the youth of the world). Also Presidents
Germany mostly connect their inaugural visit in
Rhineland-Palatinate with a visit to this historic site.
A mention of the "Maxburg" evokes a sense of affinity among students
and academics: it is considered a stone symbol of freedom and
fraternity especially among members of students' fraternities.
Since 1969 the castle has been the property of the - then newly
created - District Bad Dürkheim. In 2002 it became part of a new
charity: its owners are now the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate,
the Bezirksverband Pfalz, the District Bad Dürkheim and the city of
Neustadt an der Weinstraße. The charity is supported financially by
the Federal Republic of Germany.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hambacher Schloss.
Wikisource has the text of the 1879
American Cyclopædia article
Official website (in English)
Official website (in German)
Coordinates: 49°19′29″N 8°7′6″E / 49.32472°N
8.11833°E / 49.32472; 8.11833