Helfenstein Castle was constructed by Eberhard von Helfenstein at the turn of the 12th century and was frequently enlarged during the period from 1100 to 1380. The site of the castle, over the main Imperial road through the Fils valley, allowed the Helfensteins to observe and control trade in the region. The close connection between the Helfensteins and the Hohenstaufen Emperors during the 12th and 13th Centuries allowed the family to grow and expand. During the peak of their power the Helfenstein family ruled Heidenheim, Blaubeuren, Wiesensteig and Sigmaringen. However, as the Hohenstaufen family lost power so did the Helfensteins. By 1382 the castle was used as collateral for a loan from the city of Ulm. Then in 1396 the castle was totally under the control of the free and imperial city of Ulm.

As gunpowder weapons became more common, the castle was expanded and rebuilt as a fortress. On the top of the hill, in the direction of Weiler, a bulwark was built to protect the castle. The old keep was rebuilt with extensive walls. Additionally, the terraces below the castle were expanded and fortified. The castle was used for the Ulm representative or Vogt and the western section of the castle was rebuilt as proper home for a patrician Vogt.

In 1552, during the Second Margrave War the castle fell unopposed into the hand of the Margrave of Ansbach. In August that year, troops from Ulm retook the castle after several days of shelling with heavy stone cannon balls. Having lost its significance and value as a fortification, the city of Ulm started to demolish the castle starting in 1552, sending all usable materials to Ulm. The ruins were left and the site became overgrown over the following centuries.

Starting in 1932, the site of Helfenstein Castle was excavated with the help of Army engineer troops. A south tower was rebuilt and stairs and wooden bridges were erected to allow easy access from several directions. The ruined complex is a favorite destination for weekend walks and excursions.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: c. 1100
Category: Ruins in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Duy Nguyễn (29 days ago)
A place is worth chilling out. There was a pub but it's closed maybe because of Covid 19
Peter rePeter (3 months ago)
Nice place, nice view. The castle tower is a lookout tower with free entry.
Duygu Yılmaz (11 months ago)
You have to climb to get there, it is lovely path into the forest for the climbers. But the castle was a dissappointment for us as there were so many rubbish all around the castle and it was disturbing in such a beautiful place.
Philip Mogilski (Phil) (13 months ago)
Nice view of the city.
Joshua Helfferich (14 months ago)
I liked my house better 500 years ago before we pawned it off.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Olite

The Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite was one of the seats of the Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, since the reign of Charles III 'the Noble' until its conquest by Castile (1512). The fortification is both castle and palace, although it was built more like a courtier building to fulfill a military function.

On an ancient Roman fortification was built during the reign of Sancho VII of Navarre (13th century) and extended by his successors Theobald I and Theobald II, which the latter was is installed in the palace in 1269 and there he signed the consent letter for the wedding of Blanche of Artois with his brother Henry I of Navarre, who in turn, Henry I since 1271 used the palace as a temporary residence. This ancient area is known as the Old Palace.

Then the palace was housing the Navarrese court from the 14th until 16th centuries, Since the annexation (integration) of the kingdom of Navarre for the Crown of Castile in 1512 began the decline of the castle and therefore its practically neglect and deterioration. At that time it was an official residence for the Viceroys of Navarre.

In 1813 Navarrese guerrilla fighter Espoz y Mina during the Napoleonic French Invasion burned the palace with the aim to French could not make forts in it, which almost brought in ruin. It is since 1937 when architects José and Javier Yarnoz Larrosa began the rehabilitation (except the non-damaged church) for the castle palace, giving it back its original appearance and see today. The restoration work was completed in 1967 and was paid by the Foral Government of Navarre.