Badenweiler Castle, also known as Burg Baden (Baden Castle), sits atop a picturesque hill overlooking Badenweiler Kurpark (spa gardens). Among the house of Baden’s many strongholds in the Upper Rhine Valley, Badenweiler is regarded as one of the jewels in the crown. The castle first appeared in historical records in the early 12th century, and was probably founded by the house of Zähringen. The town of Badenweiler is considerably older: a spa was already established here in Roman times. In fact, Badenweiler’s bath ruins are among the most significant Roman remains in Baden-Württemberg.
A strategically positioned fortress
The surviving core of the castle dates from the early 12th century. Its oldest and most striking feature is the Palas, or great hall, with late Romanesque arched windows. Because materials from the Roman spa were used in its construction, it was long believed that the castle itself was also of Roman origin. Initially built to protect the surrounding silver mines, Badenweiler Castle passed into the possession of the margraves of Baden in 1503. It was then expanded to become one of the region’s major strategic fortresses. In 1678, however, it was besieged and subsequently destroyed by departing French soldiers in the Dutch War. The castle was not rebuilt and fell into disuse. To protect the ruins from dilapidating further, and to make them safe for tourists, they underwent restoration in 1982 and further works in 2004.
A rewarding climb
The steep, walled path up to the ruins leads past the stump of a round tower. Many of the castle’s walls are still standing, indicating the layout of various rooms and the great hall. In the northeastern corner of the great hall, marks on the wall show that the castle once had multiple storeys. The shapes of the windows have also been preserved. The castle’s keep, which is open to visitors, offers a marvellous view of the surrounding area.
A hillside stroll
The hill on which the castle stands (Burgberg) is an attraction in its own right. A path marks out an inviting round trip: on its western side, you will find a monument to Grand Duke Friedrich I (1826–1907). There is also a garden named after the abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179), where a retaining wall showcases a variety of medicinal herbs used by the abbess. The Belvedere was built between 1811 and 1816, according to the plans of the architect Friedrich Weinbrenner, as an elegant Neoclassical style summerhouse. Today, it is a popular venue for weddings.