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Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

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Haut Koenigsbourg castle

 Haut Koenigsbourg castle
Events in Alsace.This castle, the largest one on this side of the Vosges Mountains, dominates fiercely the Alsatian valley. It was built on a site that had been much favoured for centuries. Celts and Roman Gauls did indeed established military outpost there. Stauffenberg was its long time name…

At the end of the eighth century, Stauffenberg was the property of Charlemagne, who gave it to the convent of Liepvre which lay nearby in francophone Alsace, on the road to Saint Marie aux Mines, and depended on the abbey of St Denis.
Later, on the late eleventh century, the fiefdom belonged to the Hohenstaufen. A document from the twelfth century specifies that there were two towers there, belonging to the king of Germany, Conrad II, and also to his brother Frederik the One-Eyed of Hohenstaufen , duke of Alsace.
br> During the twelfth century and until the middle of the thirteenth century, the Hohenstaufen presided over the destiny of the Empire, and a castle bore a banner with their coat of arms. When they were removed from the position, Mathew II, Duke of Lorraine took possession of this strategic stronghold, claiming it had been build without his permission within his territory of the Liepvre abbey. He passed it on the vassals who, a century and a half later, liberated themselves from their Lorraine yoke of Authority, and selling it to the Bishop of Strasbourg, and in this way succeeded in changing lords.

For quite a long time, as happened with a number of castles, this castle was subdivided among co-owners. In 1267 the castle was the property of three Rathsamhausen brothers and their children, under the agreement that none of them could let go of the castle without the consensus of the others.

From 1450 to 1530, the wars finally spared Alsace, but the mercenary soldiers, who had no work and had no interest in official peace, enlisted in armed bands of noble- bandits who took over empty castles, which were either badly protected or regular stomping grounds for outlaws of their ilk.

This is precisely what Henri Mey did, and he is sadly, famous for it. He initially installed himself in Ortenbourg, remaining there until 1459, when he moved to Haut Koenigsbourg. He then launched for three years, his criminal expeditions throughout the surroundings valley and plains. He prayed on and attacked travellers, merchants, functionaries and tax collectors. He burned isolated farms and took possessions of badly defended villages, torturing and robbing their inhabitants.
Eventually, in 1462, the bishops of Strasbourg and Basel (southern Alsace was part of the diocese of Basel) united their troops to drive the criminals out of their fortress and destroy it. Henri retreated to the castle of la Roche, an eagle’s nest that dominated the valleys of Bruche and Villé, where he was taken in by the Rathsmahausen. His new plunderous attacks obliged the Strasbourgains, allied with the Duke of Lorraine this time, to intervene. La Roche was razed to the ground and its occupants punished.

It seems highly possible that the Swiss counts of Thiersen took part in the campaign of the bishops of Basel. Whatever the case they assumed responsibility for clearing the ruins and constructing a new, modern castle that, taking new artillery into account, came to considerable expense.
When the family line died out, the New Haut Koenigsbourg was returned to the Hapsburgsn who, in 1553, ceded it to the Sickingen. The Swedes later burned it, in 1633. Louis XIV returned it to the Sickingen who sold it.

In 1665, the city of Selestat bought back the ruins and, in 1889, lacking the means to maintain it, offered it to Emperor William II. The new, powerful owner had a model castle built. It was very characteristic and tied to the romantic vision that someone in 1900 might have had of the Middle Ages.

The German architect, Bodo Ebhardt took his inspiration from the last version of the monument, from the Thierstein period, and with meticulous care and an artisan’s love for detail, realized a giant toy castle life size. He wanted to reconstruct the castle not as it really was, but as an imaginary monument, conforming to post Romantic and Wagnerian interpretations of a Medieval castle, very solid, in sandstone, massive oak and forged iron. The atmosphere was perfect with the wine cellars, the forge, the mill and the huge German stoves used to warm up about fifty lords just returned from a three day wolf hunt in the middle of the winter storm.

The murals of Leon Schnug and the furnishings in general contributed in the same spirit. One who fears that the spirit of the lords of the Haut Koenigsbourg, the knights, counts, kings or rogues, has been lost in time, need merely climb a watch tower and admire from the guard- room, the Vosges Mountain chain, the valleys, the vineyards, the Alsatian and Brisgau plains, the far side of the Rhine, to discover, in the wind and light, the true breath of history.

Nearby, on the same peak, on the west side of the castle, lie the ruins of Oedenbourg, which seems to have been constructed by a Rathsamhausen in the thirteenth century. The defensive structures facing their neighbour evoke the fratricidal disputes that resulted from the sub-division of fiefdoms. Oedenbourg was destroyed and abandoned in the first years of the fifteenth century, and its remains left in the shade of the forest.
Posted on Sunday, April 02 @ 14:27:49 MDT by pierre
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Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.
Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Nice city.
Colmar. Nice city.

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