Anebos Castle is a ruin of a medieval castle in the Palatinate Forest south of Annweiler. The remains of this castle are located on top of a 300-metre high, rocky low hill ridge. Anebos belongs to a group of castles, together with the Trifels Castle and the Scharfenberg Castle, located on rocky hilltops.
Today there are only a few remains of the walls and the cistern. Until recent archaeological excavations the cistern was mistaken for a cellar. Additionally traces of stonemasonry can be seen on the rock.
According to architectural research, the construction of the castle dates to the beginning of the 12th century. The castle was the ancestral seat of the lords of Anebos. They were ministeriales of highest administrative rank and reported directly to the imperator being responsible for the system of feudal tenure of the castle. Historic sources relating to the lords of Anebos exist only from the last decade of the 12th century until the middle of the 13th century.
In 1194, the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI was accompanied by marshal Eberhard of Anebos during the campaign against Italy. His brother Henry replaced him in 1196. Historic records mention an Eliza of Anebos as a widow of a marshal in 1234, 1250 and 1252. By the middle of the 13th century the House of Anebos appears to have become extinct as there are no further records containing their family name.
It is assumed that the feudal tenure of the castle was passed on to the family of a seneschal called Philip I of Falkenstein. His wife, Isengard, transferred the castle back to king Conrad IV of Germany. This is evidence of the expiry of a tenure due to the lack of a male successor, which would require the return of a castle to the king. The last written record about the castle dates to 1266.
Excavations since 2000 supplied new evidence that the castle was inhabited until the 14th century. It appears that the castle was peacefully abandoned as no traces of destruction by military action was found.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.