Helfenstein Castle Ruins

Geislingen an der Steige, Germany

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.



Your name


Founded: c. 1100
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

More Information



4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

احمد محمد (15 months ago)
Helfenstein Castle The ruins of the 12th century Helfenstein Castle on the 'Valley Town of the Fifth' Geislingen an der Steige. It can be reached via a footpath of moderate difficulty (sturdy shoes recommended) or by car on Weilerstraße to the nearby car park. This provides space for about 20 vehicles and is free. You really have to enjoy the valley view. The ruins are beautiful and from the tower you have a good view of Geislingen. The hiking trails are well signposted and easy to follow. Perfect for a short family trip or the curious adventurer in between. There is a convenience store and enough picnic benches for a snack. Sufficient parking spaces are also available. And a very nice hike from Geislingen train station. Park at the train station, walk across the railway tracks and the climb will start at about 900 metres. It's a bit uphill, but the view at the top makes up for everything. In Burgschänke (which is always open when the flag is raised) we ate and drank something in nice weather. The department was more relaxed. Definitely go.
Duy Nguyễn (3 years ago)
A place is worth chilling out. There was a pub but it's closed maybe because of Covid 19
Peter rePeter (3 years ago)
Nice place, nice view. The castle tower is a lookout tower with free entry.
Duygu Yılmaz (4 years 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.
T. D. (4 years ago)
The view is legendary.It is especially a nice place to go with little kids.They will love the scenery
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trencín Castle

Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.

History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.

Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.

Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building.