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Staufenberg Castle History

A BRIEF INSIGHT

Staufenberg Castle is, or rather was, made up of two castles, the older Oberburg, the upper castle, and the more recently constructed Unterburg, the lower castle. The upper castle was built in the late 11th century by Gozmar von Ziegenhain (1062-1116).  Its subsequent first owner was Landgrave Louis II of Thuringia and Hesse.

In 1129, his daughter Sophie, who was married to Burgrave Burchard of Magdeburg, inherited the castle. Against the will of Burgravine Sophie, the castle was sold to Landgrave Louis IV of Thuringia and Hesse, also known as „Louis the Saint“, to alleviate the Burgrave’s financial troubles.

The existence of Staufenberg Castle was first officially recorded in 1233. Through the intervention of the Burgravine’s granddaughter and the Archbishop of Mainz, the castle was returned to the Ziegenhain family; its new owner was Berthold von Ziegenhain, the great-great-grandson of Gozmar I.

The Ziegenhains and the Landgraves of Hesse fought for years over the ownership of Staufenberg Castle as it was situated by the strategically important military road leading from Kassel to Frankfurt.

Anno domini 1450, when the last member of the Ziegenhain family died without an heir, the entire estate finally went to Hesse, anyway. As they were pressed for money, the Landgraves of Hesse pawned various castles and fortifications to members of the local aristocracy. Staufenberg Castle went to Darmstadt’s Philipp der Großmütige (a.k.a. „Philipp the Magnanimous“).

Around 1648, towards the end of the Thirty Year War, the upper castle was almost completely destroyed and never rebuilt.

Staufenberg Castle was finally rediscovered by two Princes of Hesse-Darmstadt during their time at university. The lower castle was restored true to its original state, with a battlement with traditional crenels and merlons on top of the tower and turrets at the corners.

The lower castle was restored yet again from 1860 to 1862, this time round in the romantic Gothic revival style.

Subsequent to its occupation by allied troops during World War II, the grounds of Staufenberg Castle served as a refugee camp. The castle later went to the state of Hesse, and was run as a hotel and restaurant by a tenant for over 30 years.

In 2002, the upper castle was leased by Staufenberg’s heritage society, which proceeded to manage it. The entire lower castle was acquired by Dr Rolf Lohbeck, and is part of the Privathotels Dr.Lohbeck GmbH & Co. KG group of hotels. After extensive conversion and restoration works lasting almost two years, the ancient building reopened on 1 May 2003 as a hotel once more.  Despite the modernisation, the historic castle’s general atmosphere, which tells of past times and traditions, has remained virtually untouched. This combination of historical and modern values offers all guests a wide range of settings and special features matching their individual requirements, and turns their stay at the castle into a unique experience. The right kind of solution is adapted to match all private or corporate functions in certified 4-star quality. Attentive staff and exclusive surroundings guarantee that you will spend a successful and relaxing time here.