Alt-Wolfstein Castle

Lauterecken-Wolfstein, Germany

Old Wolfstein Castle is a ruined hillside castle on the eastern slopes of the Königsberg at the narrowest point in the Lauter valley near Wolfstein.

Old Wolfstein was probably built under Emperor Frederick Barbarossa around 1160/70 to guard and administer the Imperial Estate around Kaiserslautern. The castle is first recorded in 1275 as Woluistein. At that time it was occupied by imperial ministeriales.

In the 14th century the castle acted as security (Pfandobjekt), and, as an imperial pledge, ended up in the possession of the counts of Sponheim and counts of Veldenz. Baldwin of Luxembourg made several unsuccessful attempts to acquire the castle through an imperial mortgage.

Repeated raids on the castle defenders, who came from Sponheim ministeriales families, led to armed conflicts. In 1362 the Bishop of Speyer occupied the castle; in 1400 the Archbishops of Mainz and Trier, the Duke of Lorraine and Count Palatine Rupert III besieged the castle. As a consequence, Electoral Palatinate received a quarter of the castle.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Electoral Palatinate and the Duchy of Zweibrücken fought for possession of the castle. The dispute ended in 1504 with its destruction by Prince-Elector Philip of the Palatinate. After that, Old Wolfstein was allowed to fall into ruin.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the ruins came into the possession of the Kingdom of Bavaria and, since 1963, have been managed by the Castle Authorities of Rhineland-Palatinate (Schlösserverwaltung von Rheinland-Pfalz). The latter carried out safety work on the walls in the years 1979 to 1981 and 1985 to 1986. The remains of the castle ruins include a 20-metre-high bergfried.


From the platform of the pentangular bergfried there is a very good view of the surrounding area. The walls of the small cast are a well preserved example of High Hohenstaufen architecture. Another feature of this design is the elongated tip of the side of the bergfried facing the likely direction of attack. To the north of the ruins on a steep hillside is rubble from an old wall, which is evidence of the formerly, lower lying outer ward of the castle. From 1961 to 1975 remains of a castle residence (Burghaus), a gate tower and a water well were uncovered.



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Founded: 1160-1170
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

J. Levy (6 months ago)
Park here and walk around the playground up the trail. This will take you to the first wolfstein Castle and then if you continue on you will find the old ruins and I think the older one is the more interesting one that you can climb. We drove up and parked closer to the old one and then walked but this was basically a farm road and I wouldn't recommend parking here. Pin I dropped is what people say when they mean to park in town.
Madeline (14 months ago)
Short hiking trail to the Wolfsstein Castles near Wolfstein, Rhineland-Palatinate Hikers who embark on this hiking tour in Wolfsburg are rewarded with beautiful views and a visit to the Alt- and Neu-Wolfstein castles. Highlights: Castle Alt-Wolfstein - Neu-Wolfstein Castle - Hiking along the Lauter river
sethdavis21 (16 months ago)
Beautiful views, and an easy walk
Kaitlyn Bendixsen (2 years ago)
Loved this hike. Park in town and walk to both castles. Beautiful views from the intact tower.
Achut Giree (3 years ago)
The castle ruin is not an attraction at all. The surrounding area is full of grass, the view from the ground was blocked by trees. The whole thing needs care.
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