Hambach Castle considered to be the symbol of the German democracy movement because of the Hambacher Fest which occurred here in 1832.

Archaeological finds prove that the area of Hambach Castle was used in late Roman times. In late Carolingian Dynasty times and Ottonian dynasty times a castle of refuge was built there. Portions remain in front of and under the outer ring wall. There is little known about its early history. The only thing certain is that between 1090 and 1104 bishop Johann I of Speyer signed over the estate together with Castle Meistersel to the Bishopric of Speyer, which stayed the owner to the end of the 18th century.

Especially during the 13th century, larger building projects took place. Bishop Nikolaus I was consecrated as Bishop of Speyer in the castle chapel on July 12, 1388. More construction was done at the end of the 14th century and in the second half of the 15th century by the bishops Nikolaus I and Matthias I. The castle was the home for the Episcopalian document archive at the end of the 14th century.

Later the importance of the castle declined, one reason being the erection of the new estate Hanhofen after 1414/20. During the German Peasants' War in 1525 the castle was occupied and looted. In 1552 it was conquered and burned down by troops of Margrave and mercenary-leader Albrecht Alkibiades of Brandenburg. Bishop Marquard of Speyer, who was in office from 1560–81, only arranged a very provisional rebuilding of the residential buildings and made the ruin the seat of a forester.

The former fortress wasn't damaged during the Thirty Years' War, but during War of the Palatinian Succession in September 1688, French soldiers destroyed the erstwhile abandoned castle. It was once more provisionally restored from 1701 to 1703.

In 1797 the castle was declared to be French government property. In 1816 after the Congress of Vienna the ruin became the property of the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1844 Bavaria began to rebuild the castle in neo-gothic style.

In the context of the Hambacher Fest of 1832 the then ruined castle was the focal point of the discontent of the Palatinate people over the repressive measures of the Bavarian administration which had been in office since 1816. The administration had retracted important rights which had been given to the people by French Revolution troops (governing 1797/98-1815). Since the Hambacher Fest, Hambach Castle has been considered a symbol of democracy.

Before the 150th anniversary of the Hambacher Fest in 1982 the castle was completely restored. Today Hambach is a museum and convention centre with about 200,000 visitors per year.

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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Franziska Lange (20 months ago)
Small, but beautiful museum inside. Outside still shows signs of the old buildings that have been destroyed over time, the outlines have signs telling the story of the castle. The overview of the surrounding country and hug its vineyards is amazing and breathtaking.
Bekdaulet Shukirgaliyev (21 months ago)
Very nice view. Beautiful forest around
Brent Houston (2 years ago)
fantastic view, but architecture isn't particularly interesting
Magnus Michael (2 years ago)
A really great place to visit some great German history. It's amazing to see the original first German flag.
Paul Duerrschnabel (2 years ago)
Superb place and castle. The cradle of German democracy. Wonderful view all around. So much history and all of that in the Forrest. A must see if you are close by.
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