REGIONAL FORTRESS IN A SPECTACULAR SETTING AT THE ALBTRAUF

HOHENNEUFFEN FORTRESS RUINS

REGIONAL FORTRESS AT THE ALBTRAUF

HOHENNEUFFEN

FORTRESS RUINS

On the edge of the Swabian Alps, the remains of one of the greatest elevated fortresses in Southern

Germany lie high above the town of Neuffen and offer a breathtaking view of the enchanting cultural landscape of Württemberg.

At a height of 743 m, strategically situated on the white Jurassic crag of the same name, which rises up from the Albtrauf, the Hohenneuffen fortress ruins offers an impressive view of the surrounding idyllic valleys as well as a good distant view as far as Stuttgart.

 

The earliest fortress construction on the Hohenneuffen dates back to the 11th century. The fortress, first mentioned in a document in 1198, was in the possession of the von Neuffen free nobles, the most famous scion of which was the minnesinger Gottfried von Neuffen. In 1301, the fortress fell into the possession of the Württemberg Dynasty, even becoming their residence for several years in the mid-15th century.

The Hohenneuffen fortress and the surrounding landscape; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mended

The fortress lies mightily and strategically on the Hohenneuffen.

WÜRTTEMBERG REGIONAL FORTRESS

The new masters were well aware of the high defence value afforded by the fortress and further expanded it; a great regional fortress was created at the Albtrauf. The final phase of construction took place in the 18th century under Duke Karl Alexander, the objective being a fortress in the French style. The death of the monarch and lack of money, however, resulted in the work being abandoned. Once the fortress lost its military importance, it was allowed to fall into decay and in 1801, the decision was taken to have it torn down. It was only years later that attempts were made to secure the remains of the fortress.

The Württemberg coat of arms; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

The Württemberg coat of arms still bears witness to the former owners.

IMPREGNABLE AND NOTORIOUS AS A PRISON

The Hohenneuffen fortress was never conquered by any enemy during its period of military use. Twice, though, in 1519 against the Swabian League and again in 1635 during the Thirty Years’ War against imperial troops, the garrison surrendered the fortress following a siege. In addition to its function as a military base, the Hohenneuffen fortress also served as a prison – as did other regional fortresses such as Hohenasperg and Hohentwiel. However, it was not only criminals who were incarcerated and brutally tortured there, but also – and preferably – personal opponents of the ruling Dukes.

Bird's-eye view of Hohenneuffen fortress; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

There is a far-reaching view over the land from the walls of the former regional fortress.

THE SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG

In 1948, the fortress played a special role as the venue for the Three-States Conference, at which the foundation of today’s Southwestern Federal State of Baden-Württemberg was decided upon. Today the fortress restaurant provides an enticing attraction to make the ascent – not only because of its magnificent view but also due to the falconry there.

Even today, the fortress is still full of surprises – while offering thrilling views.