Hartenstein Castle was called the 'Pearl of the Ore Mountains'. The first known owner was Meinher I von Werben, who was Burgrave of Meißen in 1173. From 1406 the county of Hartenstein with the associated villages, forests and castles was pledged to the Schönburg family. In 1439 Veit II von Schönburg married Anna von Plauen from the Reuss family . This settles the long-standing differences between the two families over ownership of the county of Hartenstein (with the castles Hartenstein and Stein).

In the 16th century, the castle was rebuilt into a castle under Ernst II von Schönburg. The year 1530 and a Schönburg coat of arms stone above the gate of the main castle refer to these modifications. In 1572, Hugo II von Schönburg- Waldenburg had further modifications or repairs carried out. In 1584 the former armory in the inner castle was converted into a chapel. In 1606 the new castle tower was built.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Prince Friedrich Alfred von Schönburg rebuilt it in the neo-Gothic style, which was partially reversed in the early 20th century (before 1945). The complex had an oval floor plan and existed until the end of April 1945. In the last days of the war, SS units holed up in the Hartenstein Forest, whereupon the castle was almost completely destroyed by American bombs on April 20, 1945. The remaining buildings in the outer courtyard were used for residential purposes after the war. The ruin itself served as an open-air stage.

Since 2002 the association 'Schlossruine Hartenstein eV' has been trying to preserve and partially rebuild the castle.

Altenburg prince robbery

After the prince robbery in Altenburg (on the night of July 8, 1455), a troop of kidnappers under the knights Wilhelm von Mosen and Wilhelm von Schönfeld allegedly handed over the young Prince Ernst of (Elector) Saxony on July 11, 1455 at Hartenstein Castle Friedrich XX. von Schönburg (since 1446 Lord von Waldenburg and co-owner of Glauchau) against assurance of impunity. The kidnappers had to leave Saxony forever (exile). Friedrich XX leads the prince from here to Chemnitz to his father, the Elector Friedrich the Meek (1428–1464).

According to other sources, the handover should have taken place at Stein Castle near Hartenstein (and the prince was probably only brought to Hartenstein Castle afterwards).



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Simone Distel09 (16 months ago)
Rena Nytz (16 months ago)
Very interesting and super nice people from the club. The association is looking for young people who are interested and willing to work!
Fred Unger (16 months ago)
Unfortunately, there is not much left of its origin. But still very interesting and the staff of the castle know a lot to tell about their history. It doesn't cost anything to ask, only the entrance fee is 5 € and it's worth it!
Nicole Löhnert (19 months ago)
Very beautiful and well-preserved ruin, unfortunately you can only see it from the outside, access is blocked. Hence a star deduction and the not so good signage. It is still very impressive and gives an insight into how big it used to be. Recommended for a short excursion.
Daniela M. (20 months ago)
Even so, the fact that it wasn't open was definitely worth the trip. Again and again I discovered small crevices to look inside. A short tour is possible. The venerable ruin is lovingly cared for
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