In around 1300, access to the castle grounds was on the north-eastern side. And from the Owl Tower, the guard had a good view of the comings and goings, and would permit or deny access to the castle. Originally, the tower was taller, with at least one extra floor, and offered a wide-ranging view of the surrounding area.
Until the Thirty Years’ War, it wasn’t far from here to Saxony’s northern border. The territory on the other side of the border was the dominion of the Bohemian crown. So the watch tower was strategically significant, and its importance should not be underestimated. However, following the Peace of Prague in 1635, the Elector of Saxony was granted Upper and Lower Lusatia as his fiefdom. The King of Bohemia had been driven back, and Klippenstein was no longer a border fortress.
Like Sleeping Beauty, the Owl Tower fell into a deep slumber. From time to time, it served as a holding cell or a drying loft. By the mid-19th century, the roof and the top floor were at risk of collapse and had to be dismantled. It wasn’t until 1995 that a local campaign to “save the Owl Tower” got under way, with every 5 marks in donations matched by 25 marks in grants. Finally, the derelict tower was made safe and restored. Today, visitors are welcome; it offers a good view of the palace and the surrounding area – though it’s no longer possible to see all the way to Bohemia.
All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen