The castle had only existed for a few decades when this curtain wall of roughly dressed stone was built. It linked what is now the main portal with the postern and the Owl Tower. The castle wall, which was seven metres or 23 feet below the actual castle, served mainly to protect the complex and secure it towards the south and the east.
That remained the case in the following centuries, even after the medieval castle had been turned into a hunting lodge. It was during that transformation that the impressive equestrian staircase was built opposite the curtain wall. But the architects were cautious: just before the stairs came to an end, they left a gap of about three metres – almost ten feet.
Take a look at your screen: this view from 1732 clearly shows the gap in the equestrian staircase. Planks were laid over the top of the shaft and could be removed in case of danger. These days, the shaft has a vaulted roof with round arches.
A few years later, a flying buttress was added to stabilise the castle walls. It still straddles the Lower Ward and connects the castle wall with the Alte Rentnerei – the Old Revenue Office.
If you take a look at your screen now, you’ll see the oldest surviving picture of Klippenstein, which dates to 1627. Once again, there’s a clear view of the curtain wall in front of the palace garden in the foreground. Beyond that lies the sheer north façade. During this period, the defensive donjon still stood in the centre of the complex. It was 40 metres or over 130 feet tall, but was demolished in 1715.
All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen