Stein Castle in the municipality of Hartenstein on the rocky banks of the river Mulde. The construction of the castle was probably started around 1200. This oldest part of the site form the upper ward (Oberburg) today, consisting of a round bergfried, a palas, with its great hall, and defensive walls. Its architecture still has Romanesque influences. The fortifications probably also served as an outer ward of Hartenstein Castle which had not at that time been converted into a stately residence or schloss.

The remaining elements of the building are younger. The pointed round tower in the southwest may have been erected in the 14th century; the other parts of the lower ward (Niederburg) at the end of the 15th century. The bergfried of the upper ward were enhanced in the 16th century by an additional storey (Aufbau).

There used to be a ford by the castle and, later, a ferry as well as various wooden and stone bridges, some of which, in old drawings, are portrayed as covered. A bridge toll was still charged until 1924. A more modern steel arch bridge (Stahlbogenbrücke) was blown up in 1945 by the SS; since 1950 there has been a concrete bridge on the site. The predecessor of the old Stein Castle is located on the steep northern banks of the Zwickauer Mulde above the station.

Northwest of the castle lies the remains of another very clearly visible fortification with a round mound, inner ditch, rampart and an outer ditch. On the steep slope towards the south-southwest the ditches do not run at the same depth and width.

In 1233 the castle was mentioned in the records for the first time: like the entire County of Hartenstein it came under the suzerainty of the burgraves of Meissen. Lord Heidenreich of Grünhain is its first known owner and he was the member of a family of the lesser nobility. The farming villages of Langenbach and Wildbach were bound by socage service.

The castellans of the 14th century were notorious robber barons. One in particular, a certain Conradus de lapide, is accused in a 1320 document of numerous misdeeds. From 1406 the Schönburgs and their vassals were enfeoffed with the castle. The best known story by far revolves around Kunz von Kaufungen and the Kidnapping of the Saxon Princes in 1455: Kunz is described as a worthy and righteous knight. However, he felt unfairly treated by his lord, Elector Frederick the Gentle and wanted compensation. So he kidnapped the children of the Elector, the princes Ernest and Albert with the help of two accomplices. Prince Ernest was hidden in a nearby cave, subsequently called the Prince's Cave. Kunz was caught and then beheaded in Freiburg on 14 July 1455.

In 1525, at the time of the Great Peasants' Revolt, the castle was besieged by its socage farmers. The farmers took advantage of the absence of their socage lord, Ernest II of Schönburg. When he returned, however, with his troops from the Battle of Frankenhausen, the siege came to an abrupt end. The farmers were severely punished and many were executed.

When the Barony of Stein became independent of the County of Hartenstein the castle became a lordly residence in 1701/1702. In 1732 a great fire destroyed the lower ward, which was partially rebuilt and subsequently renovated in 1846.

The castle was owned by the aristocratic family of the Princes of Schönburg until their estate was confiscated in 1945 as part of the socialist land reform in East Germany. Since 1954 it has housed a castle and local history museum. In the newer part of the lower ward a convalescent home was established.

In 1996, following German reunification the castle and surrounding Poppen Forest were reprivatized and the castle was renovated after prince Alfred of Schönburg-Hartenstein (b. 1953) bought it back. It is, however, still partly accessible to the public and still houses a museum.



Your name


Founded: c. 1200
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

More Information


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Katha M. (8 months ago)
Ein hübsches Schloss. Da wir spontan da waren und uns somit nicht angemeldet hatten, waren wir natürlich nicht drin. Ist allerdings auch nicht schlimm. Das Schloss ist trotzdem sehr schön. Parkplätze sind gegenüber vorhanden.
Steven Oesen (9 months ago)
Maita Rosieann Gagua Kurtzke (11 months ago)
must visit when your nearby Chemnitz. beautiful and silent and full of history! 6€ entrance free for adults and 1€ additional if you want to take photos. ♥️
Pierfrancesco La Mura (2 years ago)
Excellent guided tours (in German), also nice for children, to this 12th century castle fortress.
Bastian Fromm (2 years ago)
Very nice castle but super old fashioned guide/exhibition and no coffeeshop
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Walled city of Jajce

The Walled City of Jajce is a medieval fortified nucleus of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with citadel high above town on top of pyramidal-shaped steep hill, enclosed with approximately 1,300 metres long defensive walls,. It is one of the best preserved fortified capitals of the Bosnian Kingdom, the last stronghold before the kingdom dissolved under the pressure of military advancement at the onset of Ottoman Empire takeover.

The entire complex of the Walled city of Jajce, with the citadel, city ramparts, watchtower Medvjed-kula, and two main city gate-towers lies on the southern slope of a large rocky pyramid at the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas, enclosed by these rivers from the south-southwest, with the bed of the Pliva, and east-southeast by the river Vrbas gorge.


The fortress was built by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, the founder of Jajce. However, the city became the seat of the Bosnian kings, hence the royal coat of arms decoration on the citadel entrance. A part of the wall was built by the Hungarian King, while the Ottomans erected the powder magazine. The walls are high and the castle was built on a hill that is egg shaped, the rivers Pliva and Vrbas also protect the castle. There is no rampart on the south and west.

Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the Black Death.

The first reference to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic; the Ottomans besieged the town and executed him, but held it only for six months, before the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus seized it at the siege of Jajce and established the Banovina of Jajce.

Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by Ivaniš Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.

During this period, Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary"s Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. The town then lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further north and west.

Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.


The Walled city of Jajce is located at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. It was founded and started developing in the Middle Ages and acquired its final form during the Ottoman period. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. It is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as the old Jajce city core, including the waterfall, and other individual sites outside the walled city perimeter, such as the Jajce Mithraeum, it is designated as The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce and proposed as such for inscription into the UNESCO"s World Heritage Site list. The bid for inscription is currently placed on the UNESCO Tentative list.