Château de Landskron

Leymen, France

The Château de Landskron is situated in the southern part of Alsace, mere footsteps away from Switzerland. The castle was built before 1297. It had a very important strategic position in that it allowed the control of the Eastern Sundgau, the elbow of the Rhine and the city of Basel.

Several disputes concerning the ownership have been reported. Like the Château de Ferrette and Château de Morimont, the Château de Landskron was owned by Habsburg for a time. In 1462, the castle was given to the Lord of the Bailiwick of Lupfen, Sébastien de Reichenstein, who later enlarged and transformed the castle to adapt it to firearms in 1516.

In 1648, by the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, the lands and lordships of the Habsburgs in Alsace, including the Château de Landskron, passed into the hands of the King of France. After 1665, Vauban was responsible for rebuilding the castle into a military garrison, while many other Alsatian castles were abandoned and gradually destroyed.

In the 1690s, it was used as a state prison. The few prisoners who were imprisoned there until the French Revolution were predominantly political prisoners and the mentally ill. Bernard Duvergez, a courtier at the French court, was held there from 1769 until 1790 when he was discovered by revolutionaries looking for political prisoners. He died while waiting for them to find him a better place. He is the subject of a local novel, The Prisoner of Landskron.

The castle survived the Revolution, whereas the houses of the wealthy in Leyman were burned. The castle was destroyed in 1813 by the Austrian and the Bavarian armies fighting Napoléon Bonaparte.

After that time it was a ruin. In the 1970s, the former owners installed a colony of monkeys into the ruins. Since 1984, the castle has belonged to the Association pour la Sauvegarde du Château de Landskron and was partly restored in 1996.

One of the main characteristics of the castle is its big rectangular tower or keep.

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Leymen, France
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Details

Founded: Before 1297
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

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