Kriebstein Castle

Kriebstein, Germany

Kriebstein Castle rises above steep crags over the River Zschopau. Within the topographical grouping of hill castles it is classified as a spur castle because it lies on the extreme end of a hill spur surrounded on three sides by the Zschopau that flows around the spur in a large bow.

From 1384, the von Beerwalde family erected Kriebstein Castle as a residential and noble ruling seat. In 1400, the construction of the buildings and the extensions leaning out over the steep rock were completed.

The second era of importance in the castle’s architectural history began in 1465 when Hugold III von Schleinitz acquired the castle. He assigned Gothic reconstruction and extension works to Arnold von Westfalen, the court master builder and architect of Meissen Albrechtsburg Castle. The utility wing with the New Ballroom and the Water Chamber, the so-called rear castle and kitchen building were given their characteristic appearance in that time. This building effort gave Kriebstein Castle the footprint that is still visible today.

Only the last third of the 17th century saw a revival of building activities under the rule of the von Schoenberg family. Floors were added to the buildings attached to the residential tower and to the gatehouse as well as the stairwell. In 1825, Hanscarl von Arnim of the House of Planitz near Zwickau acquired the castle, which remained the property of the von Arnim family until 1945.

Court master builder Carl Moritz Haenel redesigned Kriebstein Castle from 1866 to 1868 in neo-Gothic style. Beside partial changes in dividing rooms, two floors were removed from the utility wing. Also, the north fortification wall lost its wooden battlement. A supporting buttress secured the ring wall and the original half-timbered structure of the kitchen building was replaced by a solid building.


The rock on which the castle stands is separated from rising ground behind it by a man-made section of ditch, the so-called Halsgraben. Typologically the Kriebstein is a combination of a tower castle (Turmburg) and a ringwork castle (Ringburg) with an oval ground plan. Dominating the whole site is the monumental keep perched atop the highest crag. With its sides measuring 22 x 12 metres, the tower, including its weather vane, reaches a height of 45 metres. Its late medieval oriel turrets and the flèche give the castle a unique and thus unmistakable silhouette. Around the keep are grouped the tower-shaped gatehouse, the curtain wall with its domestic wing, the kitchen and other buildings including the chapel wing. On the east side of the chapel wing is the double-bay, cross-ribbed vaulted Gothic hall and the rear of the castle. This building complex, immediately above the steep slopes over the Zschopau river, has a continuous upper storey dating to the 17th century. The Late Gothic kitchen building is attached directly to the keep at the centre of the castle. The whole is enclosed by a domestic wing, that was used as a great hall (today as a concert and event chamber; weddings also take place at the castle) and contained the well house as well as the northern defensive wall that joined onto the gatehouse.



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Founded: 1384
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)


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User Reviews

Paul Clarke (14 months ago)
Unfortunately we visited the castle due to time restrictions on a Monday. The castle access was closed. We viewed the castle from the available aspects with access and were not disappointed with the views from the paths beyond the bridge. This can be found down the pathway from the parking space left of the castle.
Tenshi Hara (15 months ago)
It is a very interesting tour through the castle. The guide is funny, too.
Damaris Love4Nature (23 months ago)
The biggest in Sachsen and it is placed exactly between the tree big cities:Leipzig Dresden and Chemnitz. The surroundings are soooo unique and surprising. Closed by the time I visited it but I enjoyed a great walk around. I appreciate nature so the best for who loves nature is to walk in the forest so you can see this spectacular beauty from various angles. Hugs&love
Val Brackley (2 years ago)
Really great place and well preserved
Annika (2 years ago)
A wonderful historical place, beautiful sight, interesting.
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