© spurensucher - 17.03.2019

Lichtenstein: Castle ruin in the Megalithenpark


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The foundation equipment of this broken tower shows how much the rocks have been worked in order to do justice harmoniously to this task. What was their purpose before? One could think that they had already been "assembled" before ...


In Lower Franconia a castle ruin is embedded in a rocky landscape, which holds numerous anomalies and surprises ready. In the middle of a small village with max. 100 inhabitants on a long mountain range - about 100 metres above the valley of Weisach - we are presented with the history of an estate dating back to 1232 A.D., for which there were no documentary records or mentions before.


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Here also a foundation view, which gives the impression as if the large natural stones had been cut "appropriately" or at least processed beforehand. Were they exactly at that spot or were the stones transported there?


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Similar to many other castle histories, where the traces of the past are lost between the 11th and 13th centuries, we hardly find a red thread in the succession. In any case, it is supposed to be a partial castle which ran through some hands of the von Lichtenstein clan's dynasties and was partly spatially divided. Directly at the place one finds in any case still the uninhabited ruin of the north castle. What we have to do here exactly, is a mixture of different masonry or structures, which were examined with archaeological meticulousness in the 1990s.




Since then, spectacular experience signs have been used to show us in detail which construction phases began around 1230 A.D. and have passed through this location, only to end up "only" as a ruin in the end..


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Lichtenstein Castle was at least abandoned as early as the 16th century. Apparently the whole thing became too much for the von Lichtenstein family after some major war damage and they were left to their fate. But we will not be given a more precise reason for this. Whether this was the actual reason at all in the end may at least be cautiously doubted. Today, the clan itself is satisfied with a section, the so-called Südburg. This section is still inhabited today. What happened in the 16th century that one withdrew so uncompromisingly from the northern part of the castle?


View into the inner courtyard, where numerous cuboids of a far past time lie partly underground.


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Apart from an old beam channel, which is supposed to be the reason for a hewn part of a long stone plinth (but which was also worked on as a whole), there are few explanations in the inner courtyard for the other and above all much older structures of the surrounding rocks.


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Huge rocks have been worked out at right angles - a work of medieval knighthood or a situation that had already been found at that time?


The whole thing reminds a little of the fate of the Felsenburg Rotenhan nearby, which was suddenly abandoned to its fate after vehement defences and the claims to ownership that were regarded as irrevocable, and which still today is just as decayed as this ruin. In the 20th century, the so-called "esoteric tourism" was even blamed for the increasing neglect of the estate and its surroundings.



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Unusual troughs, and also like "assembled" rock formations. Extremely untypical for a castle.




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The solitary rock in the castle courtyard. Its effect as a foreign body is unmistakable.


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Here the pedestal and substructure of the free worked "Hammer" form.


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Here the view from the side; it looks like balanced.


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From the other side, the rock looks like the profile of an animal skull. Black traces in the upper part are conspicuous. The whole thing looks as if a fire or fire had raged here at some point.


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Supposed burn trace at close range. The surface texture and colouring at this point of the rock is clearly different from the surrounding rocks. What could have happened here?


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Here also dark discolorations in the upper part of the outer masonry.


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From an archaeological point of view, there is persistent insistence that there was no Celtic presence or pre-medieval activity here at any time. The last excavated finds are said to date back officially to around 1200, which corresponds with the other records.



No further records - no finds: So that's it?

Of course, because what was not officially found does not have to be discussed scientifically either. But whether that was really the case is up to everyone to decide for themselves. My personal interest is in the rock foundation and the enclosed giant boulders that disturb the classic "castle image" around the castle as well as in the inner courtyard. There are numerous exposed castles at heights, which serve as a solid foundation for the architecture. But here you can clearly see that the architecture from the 13th century onwards still only with much effort towers above the rocks on the spot today.


Other interesting rock structures in the inner area of the castle ruins.


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Here are the working tracks of the rock from close up: Troughs that show no clear purpose (at least no military one).


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Here perhaps the holder of a standard?


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What was there first is out of the question. Whether the unusual rocky landscape was only a whim of nature, however, only to fulfill later exclusively a medieval structural purpose, one must be allowed to question. Anyone who moves through the area with an alert eye will immediately get the impression that the history of the localities goes back far longer than back to the 13th century. None of this can be proven, but the unmistakable feeling remains. As in other "rock"-stressed fortification sites, which at least in this environment have suddenly been abandoned.


The one or other basement floor in the area of the inner courtyard today is correspondingly humid or, in my opinion, shows traces of prolonged flooding.


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We continue on the so-called legend trail around the outside area of the ruin to the nearby Teufelsfelsen. (to be continued).