The electoral hunting lodge Breitenbrunn (Jagdhaus) in the Ore Mountains community of the same name was converted from a watchtower, which was probably built in the 13th or 14th century, is now a ruin under monument protection and is a landmark of the place.

After a Vorwerk of the Schwarzenberg rulership was first built and later a settlement was built, the watchtower was converted into a hunting lodge, accommodation and storage for hunting utensils. The building, which was also used as the forester's house, burned down in 1610, including the newly added third floor and added Wendelstein, and in 1617, was rebuilt and fell into ruin, apparently unused, after 1700.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Harald Rauh (11 months ago)
Small well-preserved or well-kept place, definitely worth a visit, parking space above available
Daniela M. (18 months ago)
Nice ruin ... minimally preserved castle
Little-H Hanstone (3 years ago)
beautiful ruined tower, very worth seeing
A. P. (3 years ago)
A very nice ruin. However, the tour is completed in five minutes. You cannot get to the ruin, as it is cordoned off with a fence all around. The park around it is clean and well maintained.
Tilo (4 years ago)
Very nice facility
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.