The castle’s beginnings go back to the 13th century. The earliest written record mentioning a castle complex dates to 1289. But there is evidence of a “von Radeberg” family even before that. A knight called Thimo was a member of that family. You’ll see his personal seal in several places around the palace.
In the mid-16th century, Duke Moritz of Saxony, who later rose to become elector, had the castle remodelled to create a hunting lodge and an administrative centre. It cost him the proud sum of 3,240 Meissen guilders, 17 groats and 3 pence. The result was a palace complex featuring three wings with gabled dormer windows and three impressive Renaissance portals. The defiant medieval Castle Klippenstein had now become a prestigious palace.
Please take a look at your screen. The earliest known image of Klippenstein dates back to 1627. It shows the palace with its medieval defensive donjon – which was demolished less than a century later, in 1715. The Seven Years’ War, which lasted from 1756 to 1763, left Klippenstein badly damaged, with some parts of the palace virtually uninhabitable.
The next major construction phase from 1772 to 1776 largely resulted in the building we see today. The palace was now used exclusively as an administrative centre. From the mid-19th century onwards, the judicial authorities were based here. The prison cells, which were originally established in the outer bailey during the 18th century, remained in place until 1952.
During the GDR period, the palace was used by the official socialist youth movement, Freie deutsche Jugend. It housed a youth club, a museum of local history and a kindergarten. However, the structure was increasingly falling into decay. After German reunification, a lengthy reconstruction phase followed, which is still under way. The extensive and very costly restoration work has only been possible thanks to a wide range of subsidies.
Since 1993, Klippenstein Palace has been owned by the town of Radeberg and is funded and maintained with municipal funds – a major undertaking for such a small town!
All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen