Berwartstein Castle was one of the rock castles that were part of defences of the Palatinate during the Middle Ages. There is no definite record of the origins of the castle or its name. The name 'Berwartstein Castle' is mentioned for the first time in a document dating from 1152, when the castle was granted by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Bishop Günther of Speyer.
During the 13th century, feudal tenants, who carried the name von Berwartstein, inhabited the castle, which they used as a base for raids in the manner of robber barons. The imperial cities of Strasbourg and Hagenau joined forces against the von Berwartsteins. Following several weeks of futile attacks against the castle, they succeeded in taking it in 1314, with the help of a traitor. A large amount of booty and about 30 prisoners were taken to Strasbourg. The knights of Berwartstein were permitted to buy the prisoners back for a large ransom. The knights of Berwartstein were forced to sell their castle to the brothers Ort and Ulrich von Weingarten. Four years later the castle became the property of Weissenburg Abbey.
The monastery at Weissenburg placed the castle in stewardship and established a feudal system. This allowed for the dismissal of vassals who became too presumptuous. Thus the monastery held possession of the castle for some time. This could have continued indefinitely had the last steward of the castle (Erhard Wyler) not gone too far. When he began feuding with the knights of Drachenfels, the Elector of the Palatinate took the opportunity to bring the Berwartstein Castle under his control.
Because of his dynastic ambitions, the Elector of the Palatinate wanted to bring all of the Weissenburg estate under his control. To accomplish this, in 1480 he ordered the knight, Hans von Trotha, who was Marshal and Commander in Chief of the Palatinate forces, to acquire to Berwartstein. In this way he could enlarge the property at a cost to the Monastery of Weissenburg. For the quarrelsome knight this was a pleasure to fulfil, since this gave him a chance to take personal revenge on the Abbot of Weissenburg. Years before, Abbot Heinrich von Homburg had imposed a church fine on his brother, Bishop Thilo.
As a starting point for this conquering expedition, this experienced warrior first renovated the castle to improve its appearance. He built strong ramparts and bastions as well as the outwork and tower called Little France. After von Trotha's death, Berwartstein Castle was inherited by his son Christoph and, when he died, it went to his son-in-law, Friedrich von Fleckenstein and remained in the hands of this family for three generations. During this time, the castle was destroyed by fire in 1591, and, since there is no mention of any attacks, it is presumed that the castle was hit by lightning.
Even though the main sections of the castle were not destroyed by the fire, it stood empty and unused for many years. In the Peace of Westphalia (1648), Berwartstein received special mention, when it was granted to Baron Gerhard von Waldenburg, known as Schenkern, a favorite of Emperor Ferdinand III. Since he did not restore the castle, it fell into ruins.
A certain Captain Bagienski purchased the castle in 1893. In 1922, it was sold to Aksel Faber of Copenhagen, and thus went into foreign ownership. Since he was seldom in Germany, he asked Alfons Wadlé to be his steward. Later Wadlé he was able to purchase the castle.
The village of Erlenbach below the castle was completely destroyed during World War II, and its inhabitants sought shelter in the castle. After the war, the roof had gone as well as the woodwork around windows, doors, staircases and other furnishings. Since the castle was not financially supported, Alfons Wadlé went about the renovation himself. At first he was only able to do what was essential to protect the castle from the elements.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.