Station: [13] Upper Ward

In the middle of the palace complex, we suddenly find ourselves in idyllic surroundings.

In the very earliest period, the Upper Ward was the heart of the castle. Surrounded by a stone defensive wall, it was originally occupied by just two buildings: the residential keep and the defensive donjon into which the castle residents could retreat in case of danger.

For decades, the question of where exactly that donjon stood presented historians and archaeologists with a mystery. These days, we believe it probably stood in the rear left-hand corner, a little to the left of the two basins full of water. With a height of 42 metres – or 70 ells – or even 137 feet – the donjon was significantly taller than the castle complex as a whole.

In 1714, Radeberg was destroyed in a catastrophic fire. In the following year, 1715, the Saxon ruler August the Strong ordered the demolition of the ramshackle donjon. The stone was used to rebuild Radeberg’s church, school and town hall.

Over the centuries, the castle was extended around the Upper Ward by erecting buildings (and the passages giving access to them) along the inside of the medieval defensive wall. If you walk right to the other side of the modern courtyard, you’ll come to a passage that leads to a barred opening in the far wall. Here, you’ll not only have a nice view of the garden – you’ll also be able to appreciate how massive the medieval wall was – the length of the passage is equal to the thickness of the wall.

All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen