Kriebstein Castle (Germany)

Saxony     See list of castles in Germania

From the rising hinterland the rock that carries the castle is separated by an artificially recessed neck trench. Typically, Kriebstein represents the combination of a Turmburg with a Ringburg of oval ground plan. The monumental tower is erected on the highest rocky cliff. With an edge length of 22 m × 12 m, the tower reaches a height of 45 meters up to the weather vane. Its late medieval cloisters and the roof rider determine the charming image of the castle with the unmistakable Dachsilhouette. Around the residential tower are grouped the tower-like gatehouse, the ring wall with the economic wing, the kitchen building and other annexes including the chapels. To the east of the chapels are the two-armed, cross-vaulted gothic hall and the rear castle. This building complex, directly above the Zschopau slope, is summed up by a continuous upper floor from the 17th century. Directly to the residential tower is the centerpiece of the castle, the late Gothic kitchen construction. The entire plant is closed by an economic wing, the Festaal (now used as a concert and event hall, and also weddings take place on the castle) and the Brunnenstube, as well as the northern defensive wall, which again meets the gatehouse.

Before the Barons of Beerwalde founded the castle of Kriebstein in the 14th century, they lived on a tower hill, the Waal, which was in the village of Beerwalde and can still be seen in ruins today. With its foundation, the castle of Kriebstein became the residence and seat of the family of Beerwalde, which owned the towns of Waldheim and Hartha before 1400. On the basis of the first documentary mention of the castle, according to which Dietrich von Beerwalde undertook in 1384 to "build the krywenstein on which his father was sitting", the present castle can be regarded as a substantial part of Dietrich's building. These include, in particular, the residential tower (1399 roof), the chapel built with this chapel, and the Ringmauer with the gatehouse. Little remains were left of his father's predecessor. In 1407, Dietrich von Beerwalde was once again replete with Kriebstein. After the death of Dietrich in 1408, Kriebstein's rule fell to his widow Elizabeth, and after her death to the daughter of Klara, she was a member of the family. With the acquisition of the castle and rule Kriebstein by Hugold III. from Schleinitz in 1465, began the second essential period in the building history of the castle. Schleinitz as Obermarschall of Elector Ernst and Duke Albrecht entrusted Arnold of Westphalia, the famous builder of the Albrechtsburg to Meißen, from 1471 with larger extensions and extensions. The sculpture created by this outstanding builder is also found in this building. Baumeister Arnold von Westfalen was responsible for the reconstruction and new construction of the commercial wing with the "new dance hall" and the "Brunnenstube", as well as the "rear castle" and the new kitchen building.

With the construction measures mentioned, the castle of Kriebstein had retained its still visible extent. Despite later extensions and structural changes, she was able to preserve her gothic character even to the present. After the death of Hugo von Schleinitz in 1490, frequent changes of ownership followed without any major building activity. Under Georg von Carlowitz (1544-1550), Kriebstein reached its greatest territorial extent with villages and the two towns of Waldheim and Hartha.

The last third of the 17th century was under the rule of the von Schönberg of a lively building activity. The additions of the adjoining buildings and the gatehouse as well as the staircase house between these two buildings were erected. The more insignificant architectural measures of the lords of Milkau are still reminiscent of the inscriptions on the weather-beacons of the dwellers of the house and gatehouse. In 1825 Hanscarl von Arnim from Planitz near Zwickau acquired Kriebstein, who then remained in possession of the Arnim family until 1945. Under the direction of the court architect Karl Moritz Haenel, the castle learned from 1866 to 1868 sweeping changes according to user-practical aspects, in the forms of neo-gothic. These last major structural changes are indeed in the execution, but bring a certain ambiguity in the monumental medieval building. In addition to a partial alteration of the spatial division inside, a building of the economic wing was reduced by two floors, and the northern defensive wall was removed in a step-wise manner by the loss of the wooden weir, but also by a supporting wall. The conversions at the kitchen house are particularly impressive. The original half-timbered construction with a crippled wood roof was massively replaced and also the powerful chimney sludge along with the hearth demolished.

Already in 1930 parts of the castle Kriebstein were released for public inspection. It is noteworthy that the Burganlage was always carefully maintained by the Arnim family, and that extensive restoration work (chapel) was carried out without any government grants. This commitment contributed significantly to the reputation of "the most beautiful Ritterburg in Saxony". After the expropriation of the family of Arnim in September 1945, the castle was now "popular" - first used for residential purposes and by the forestry administration. The museum was reopened on 6 August 1949.

In 1986, the treasure of Kriebstein was found in the residential tower.

The castle of Kriebstein with its museum has been the property of the Saxony Free State since 1 January 1993 and is owned by the state enterprise "Staatliche Schlösser, Burgen und Gärten Sachsen". On February 12, 2010, the Land of Saxony and the Lehndorff-Heirsgemeinschaft agreed that in 2011 423 objects of art were returned.

The castle is the station of the Luther Way.

Images of the castle


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Useful infos

Latitude: 51.042471
Longitude: 13.0174957
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Map of Kriebstein Castle