“Schloss Klippenstein” – Klippenstein Palace – is inscribed above the gate in large letters.
For more than seven centuries, the portal facing the town has welcomed visitors and residents of Klippenstein. A wide range of different people would have come through here: knights, princes, farmers, officials, judges, defendants, children attending the kindergarten, builders and any number of museum visitors!
Originally, a watch tower stood right next to the portal. At times, an impressive stone gable crowned the portal. These days, it features an austere design and gives access to the Lower Ward.
The first thing you come to on the right-hand side is a plain 16th century house with roughcast walls, which has not yet been restored. It’s the Alte Rentnerei – the Old Revenue Office, a former office building and storehouse.
Klippenstein has always been a place where charges were levied and people paid their taxes. The oldest official invoice issued here dates to 1414. More than a century later, Moritz of Saxony launched wide-ranging administrative reforms, in the course of which he moved Radeberg’s main administration to Klippenstein. In his official financial survey of 1551 (what’s called an Amtserbbuch) he laid down the level of charges payable by each village. These levies – generally paid in kind – had to be brought to Klippenstein from the surrounding villages in the Radeberg administrative district. Here, they were recorded by the bailiffs and stored.
So the Old Revenue Office was the tithe and tax office operated by the Wettin dynasty’s public maintenance authority. In later centuries, the civil servants lived here at the palace along with their families. For example, several generations of the Langbein family served as senior administrators. Only August Friedrich Ernst Langbein, who was born in the palace in 1757, gave up a secure job to make his living as a writer and poet. You can find out more about him in our permanent exhibition inside the palace.
All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen