More Castle Ruins - Hanstein
I could see the towers of the castle above the trees for years without being able to visit it. In the 80ies, my parents lived in a small town south of Göttingen, and both road and railway between the towns ran close to the German border. Castle Hanstein was on the East German side and thus out of reach.
Hanstein seen from the southeast
Of course, we had visited it as soon as the passage was open, and it was pretty impressive already then. Efforts to prevent further decay and some renovations had been going on, partly financed by West Germany. Today, more parts are accesible, and the great hall has been repaired and is used for concerts sometimes. So when after several days of autumn mists the sun played nice yesterday, I decided to give it another look, accompanied by my faithful camera.
The road meandering through some villages no longer is East German concrete with cracks, but it still is small and a better fit for the almost extinct Trabis than for a Mercedes. I left the driving to my father who came along. *grin*Inner curtain wall and connected hall with natural stone foundations
The Hanstein is quite different from the Plesse
. For one, while it has two curtain walls, there is no clearly distinguished outer ward, but the entire living complex is behind the inner wall. Second, a lot more of the buildings remains, an interesting maze of roofless walls in various stages of crumbling. Often two to three storeys are left, and some of the towers stand amost to full height. One of the many views from inside the bailey ruins
Castle Hanstein had been in possession of Otto of Northeim and later Henry the Lion of Saxony in the 11th and 12th century. At that time, the inner bailey was still a wooden construction. In 1308, the brothers Heinrich and Lippold of Hanstein were granted the right to build a new stone castle. They had to pay for it, and in exchange the family held the hereditary right to the fief. The family still exists today.
The construction of the Hanstein was finished in 1414; afterwards only small changes took place. The castle was partly destroyed in the Thirty Years War, and while repairs were made, it yet was abandoned in 1683. I suppose one of the reasons was the changing life style - castles no longer offered sufficient protection, and palaces in the valleys were more comfortable and probably warmer. Constance owes me some really good chocolate cookies for the pics - there was an icy blast and my hands got very
cold. :)A view of the inner towers, main hall and various annexes from the west
When interest in the old times grew in the 19th century, the main hall of the Hanstein was rebuilt in 1840, and further repair went on in the early 20th century, and then again since 1985.
Despite the cold wind, my father and I had a blast with the ruins. So many interesting motives for pics, and few tourists around to spoil them. Here's a bit more about the history of the Hanstein.