Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Visit Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

This is an ancient fortified castle from the 12th century which also represents a German imperial symbol. Haut-Koenigsbourg is a German translation of Hohkônigsburg, which means “the king’s high castle”, referring to its location at 757 meters altitude.

Its history is very rich, Charlemagne donated the pass and the land belonging to the priory of Lièpvre in 774.

Frederic the Elder, Duke of Swabia, received his title by HENRI IV in 1079. Frederic the Elder illegally built the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg on the land entrusted to the monks, as well as several other castles in the surrounding area on land not belonging to him.

Saint-Denis in 1147 insisted to LOUIS VII to have this injustice repaired by the king of Hohenstaufen Conrad III. The denomination « Koenigsbourg » (Königsburg) became official in 1157.

The castle was taken by the Dukes of Lorraine in the middle of the 13th century. It then became the den of thieves before being reconquered in 1462 and burned by the coalition of Basel, Strasbourg and Colmar.

The Thirty Years’ War did not spare Alsace, which was ravaged, after more than fifty days of siege, the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle was taken and destroyed, then left to be abandoned.

In 1871 Alsace had become German and Emperor William II plans to create a museum to promote the germanity of Alsace and the Germanic power. The city of Sélestat decides to offer him the castle but keeps the hundreds of hectares of forest that are economically very profitable.

William II in 1900 entrusted the management of the restoration of the castle to a Berlin architect, Bobo Ebhardt. This restoration would take 7 entire years, until 1908 with the finishing touches being completed only around 1918.

William II, who regularly visits the site, inaugurates it on May 13th of 1908. It represents therefor the western limit of the German Empire, the eastern limit being located at Marienburg castle in Poland.