The castle's defences and the fortification of the town are closely linked. Anyone coming from the marketplace has already passed beneath two gateways. These have sealed off access to the Liegemen’s Settlement since the second half of the 15th century. Work to replace the ditches and palisades with the oldest of the defensive rings began as early as the 14th century.
The well, called the Leierbrunnen, was built in 1731. But this was the old marketplace, and in the Middle Ages, there was an earlier well in the same spot. The current one is 24 metres or 79 feet deep. The depth of the column of water is 10 metres or 33 feet respectively. At this point, you’re probably thinking: we’re on a hill, how come there’s water up here at all? It’s all to do with the local geology. The surrounding hills exert pressure on the water, forcing it up Braunfels Hill. That was probably why Braunfels was chosen as the site of the castle in the first place. A reliable water supply was essential, especially in the event of a siege.
Servants and craftsmen lived inside the Braunfels town walls. But those older buildings were destroyed in the devastating fire of 1679, which also destroyed large areas of the castle. The current buildings largely date to the 18th or 19th centuries, having been rebuilt after the fire.
If you look up the slope from here, you can see the wall surrounding the castle garden, which was laid out as a pleasure garden after the fire.
The path will now take you up a wide staircase and on towards the castle, until you reach the Iron Gate. Your tour continues from there.
All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels