Station: [305] Castles - Centers of Power

Elevated on a high mountain, watching over land and people and heralding the power of their owners, the battlement-crowned Höhenburg is no exception as far as castles go. It is regarded as the archetype of the Middle Ages and flourished during the period of land development.

Old and new territorial lords touted for settlers who would make their land arable, promising privileges such as exemption from tithes and other payments, and protection from enemy raids in exchange.

It was in this way that new structures of domination materialized as a result of the development of new economic areas.

With the construction of Höhenburg Castle the Lords of Schellenberg also founded their regal position in the Erzgebirge, or Ore Mountains foreland. As imperial ministerialis, the aristocracy were in royal service and played a significant role in the protection and administration of the newly settled land. Within a few decades the „of Schellenberg’s,“ became very influential and powerful, but lost everything when they desolated Altzella monastery property in the course of the so-called Schellenberg Feud. Relieved of their estates and ostracized, they disappeared from the chronicles after 1324 and a good 200 years later, their castle disappeared as well.

The foundation walls of the old castle area still remain buried under the cobblestone courtyard of Augustusburg Castle and they reveal information about the shape and design of the old Höhenburg Castle.

The model is of a typical Medieval castle with keep, circular wall and probably a representative building that served as the centre of jurisdiction and for the reception of guests. It is not certain whether a chapel belonged to the castle or not, but the castle was first documented in 1206.

Now, we’d like to take you on an excursion and introduce you to an unusual castle lord. Please come back with us to the 11th century and to the chequered-life history of Count Wiprecht of Groitzsch.