Rötteln Castle has probably existed since the beginning of the 11th century. In the year 1102 is the first documented mention of a lord of Rötteln, the bailiff of St. Albans near Basel. This year is also considered the date of the founding of the city of Lörrach. In 1204 Dietrich III of Rötteln died, having amassed a large holding in the Wiese valley. The first documented mention of the castle itself is from the year 1259.
Luithold II von Rötteln died on May 19, 1316, and the passing of Rötteln to Hachberg-Sausenburg was an important step in the eventual formation of the Markgräflerland. In 1332 the castle was besieged by the people of Basel because the Margrave Rudolf II stabbed the mayor of Basel during an argument. The conflict was resolved at the last moment through an agreement to settle the argument. Arrowheads, crossbow bolts, and other finds near the castle attest to this siege.
The Basel earthquake of 1356 destroyed large portions of the city, and the castle suffered severe damage. In 1503 the castle came into the possession of the Margrave of Baden. In 1525 revolting farmers briefly took possession of the castle. From 1618 to 1648 during the Thirty Years War the castle was occupied by both Swedish and Imperial forces.
During the Franco-Dutch War, on June 29, 1678, the castles of Rötteln, Sausenburg, and Badenweiler were destroyed by the army of the French Marshall François de Créquy. Due to the extreme poverty after the war, the castle ruins were thereafter used as a source of building stone (quarry).
The Black Forest Society of Baden began to survey the ruins in 1884 in order to preserve it. Since 1926 this has been the concern of the Röttelnbund e.V. club based in Lörrach-Haagen. Today the ruins have been restored to approximately their condition after their destruction in 1678.
The site of the castle extends from northwest to southwest over a distance of almost 300 meters. The widely spread castle can be roughly divided into the fore-castle and upper castle. To the west a bastion-like point extends for the placement of light artillery. Passage from the fore-castle to the upper castle is by means of a drawbridge. The upper castle with its powerful keep is the oldest part of the castle. Archaeological finds from the castle and grounds are on display in the museum in the courtyard of the castle.
The 'Green Tower', at the highest point of the keep, offers a particularly fine view of Lörrach, the Wiese valley and several Swiss mountain peaks. The castle ruins are the most notable landmark of the border town. The Röttler Burgfestspiele, an open air live theater in the castle courtyard, has operated annually each summer since 1968.
The lower castle is open year round and the keep and museum are open in the summer and on weekends in the winter. Tours are available with prior reservations. In addition to the small museum, there is a Burgschänke or traditional restaurant / pub in the bailey.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".