Hardenburg Castle and Fortress Ruins
Castle, palace or fortress?
This question quickly arises when visiting Hardenburg near Bad Dürkheim in the Palatinate. What towers above the Hardenburg district on the right-hand Bergﬂanke of the Isenach valley is "only" a ruin. But what a ruin!
This enormous complex, which rises over four terraced levels and measures 90 x 180 metres, is considered to be evidence of one of the largest and most impressive "fortress castle" type complexes in Germany and is regarded as the "counterpart on the left bank of the Rhine" to Heidelberg Castle. Built at the beginning of the 13th century by the Counts of Leiningen as a comparatively modest hilltop castle, the Hardenburg was expanded in the 16th century into a fortified Renaissance residence. Mighty walls and bulwarks, turrets and catacombs still bear witness to its fortress-like character. At the same time, however, (pleasure) gardens, the remains of spacious residential wings and once magnificent hall buildings point to a no less important civilian use as a residential palace of the Leiningen family.
It survived the Thirty Years' War, but was occupied by the French in the Palatinate War of Succession in 1690, partly destroyed, then rebuilt by the Leiningers. The end of the Hardenburg came with the conquest of Bad Dürkheim by French revolutionary troops in 1794: the interior furnishings were destroyed and the "Westbollwerk", which towers over the entire complex, was blown up. Afterwards, the occupation administration released the area for the extraction of building materials. But what remained of the former "Feste Schloss" and has been secured or restored since the late 19th century is still an imposing and interesting historical relic.
Discover - Experience - Conquer
An exciting insight into the history of this monument is provided by an exhibition in the visitor centre with a film as well as a multimedia guide, which takes you back to the age of the Renaissance with detailed computer reconstructions and shows the grounds and rooms and halls as they were in the castle's heyday.
An insider tip are the atmospheric events in the old walls, for example the Medieval Market in September.
Accessibility: Despite all efforts, the castle can only be partially visited by people with disabilities. The information centre and the castle courtyard are barrier-free. Barrier-free parking is available at the information centre.
Closed in December and January.
Guided tours (in costume)
Bad Dürkheim Tourist Information Office Tel.: +49 (0) 6322 9354500