Field Trip Friday: Burg Falkenstein

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For Field Trip Friday, we set off to find another castle. Bug has been really enjoying a Bridgeway Academy Learning Lab all about the middle ages, so I really want to make sure we visit as many local castles as possible while he is in the class. I thought I had found a really neat castle about 30 minutes from us- This Falkenstein Castle:

800px-Burg_Falkenstein_im_Harz_(April_2009) Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

I even checked the hours for admission and everything- but so it turns out, my German isn’t so great, and that Falkenstein castle is really 4 hours away. I didn’t realize it though, until we drove to the other, closer Falkenstein Castle.

I thought something was amiss when I didn’t see any large castles up on the hill. I tried to not worry about it because there were lots of trees, and maybe it was the kind of castle to sneak-attack you (like Burg Eltz) and that we would see it when we got closer. Then I became more worried when I realized there was no parking- just one small sign, indicating there were ruins, somewhere in the forest.

The Forest

So what’s a girl to do? Explore the deep, dark forest!

We set off down the path, expecting at any moment to see a castle rise up out of the trees. Instead we found this:

Falkenstein Beautiful ruins, right? We didn’t get to see a complete castle this week- but the ruins did give us plenty to learn about. Bug is starting to recognize that many castles use the same fortified wall system- there are large castle walls, but around those are walls that zig and zag around, giving many different places to look out for invaders. We also got to admire the thickness of the tower walls, and see more of the angled keyhole defense windows Bug has grown to love.

Falkenstein2 Mr. Man was dear with his little friend- the stairs and floors were uneven rocks, so we had to be very careful exploring!

I wish I could tell you more about this castle, but I had trouble finding the tourist office in town to get more information on it. From what I can gather, there isn’t much information, other than this castle, like many in Europe, fell to ruin at some point during the 30 years war. The local peasants dismantled many of the walls and towers to provide materials for them to build and maintain their village, leaving what you see in these photographs.

Falkenstein (4) The one remaining tower

If the castle had been opened, for a euro you could climb the tower. It was closed the day we visited, but honestly, heights, especially alone with the Littles make me want to yak. So, I am glad we couldn’t climb! (shhh, don’t tell the kids!)

Falkenstein (5)An artists rendition of the Castle 

I was thrilled to find this image of the Castle as it once stood on the main wall. You can clearly see the square tower in the center and the wooden entrance door. The partial tower shown in the above collage would be the front right in the painting. This castle is one of the smallest we’ve seen in Germany, but I thought it was a really cute find in the forest!

I spent the better part of the afternoon looking for the other Falkenstein castle on the hills, and didn’t realize until after I was home that it was no where near us. It was a lucky coincidence to find this one! Next week, I’ll plan a little more carefully before setting out on an adventure.

Field Trip Friday If you are local, you can find Burg Falkenstein information on the Konigstein webpage in english. There is not parking near the footpath- we found a place on the street (for free!) and walked up. Leave the stroller in the car, and be prepared to hold little hands on uneven ground. There are a couple benches and tables for a picnic lunch, but no facilities.

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  1. Even if it wasn’t the castle you intended to see, it is definitely still pretty neat! I’d love to take the kids to a castle for a field trip! 🙂 How fun!

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