03 January 2009

Ehrenberg Castle Ruins

We set out on a frosty morning to hike to the Ehrenberg Castle ruins. Elora was recovering from the flu, so she needed to be carried the whole way, and the trail was a bit icy and windy and of course, all uphill, so Karen got a little tired from carrying Oliver the whole way. Chris insists he did not get tired despite carrying Elora the whole way.

Ehrenberg dates back to the 1200s. This castle was constantly being fought over, so it had an intersting history. It was taken over by different groups multiple times. The main castle was built first, but then it was attacked and taken over in the pre-gunpowder age, and then rebuilt. Then it was bombarded by cannons and taken over, so they built more fortifications and another big castle on another mountaintop to protect the original one. Then it was taken over again, and an additional fort was built across the valley. There was also a big fortress that controlled the traffic on the road that went through the valley. You can hike to all the different sites, but we just went to the main castle.

Here is me and Ollie enjoying exploring the ruins. This was my favorite place we went to see - I love old sites with lots of history, and the best part was that you could walk in and around the ruins, nothing was off limits to visitors.

Because the castle was on top of a mountain, it had an awesome view of the valley and the town below.

When Chris tried to tell Elora the history of the castle, she didn't like that soldiers were always taking over the castle, so Chris changed the story so that a dragon was taking over the castle, and then she thought it was more interesting. Now she talks to me about dragons and mean soldiers who ruin castles.

More pics of the castle - I just thought this was so incredibly cool!

There is a myth that after the castle was ruined the first time, the queen prayed to St. George (the dragonslayer) and asked for help to rebuild before it was attacked again. The next morning a stone snake wound its way up the road and stopped at the castle gates, turning into a path of stones. These stones were used to rebuild the castle.

Here we are exploring the ruins. There were signs warning, "Enter at your own risk". Did we dare enter? Yes we dared!

It was pretty neat because the castle was built over multiple levels with lots of stairs, tunnels and winding paths. It was really quite big. According to the signs, very few people actually lived at these castles, just enough to staff them. Then they would have to get reinforcements in times of war... There was also a really awesome museum in the fortress that guarded the valley, we will probably post pics of that later... I only wish it was warmer when we visited so we could have explored the other forts! As it was, we were pretty cold by the end of this exploration/hike, and headed back to a restuarant for some warmth and food!

2 comments:

  1. Looks terrific. We definitely want to go there at some stage. Maybe when it is a bit warmer....

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  2. My husband and I came across this ruin in 1985, we spotted it from the road, we pulled off and began climbing, pulling ourselves up by hanging onto saplings, often almost on all fours!! It was quite a climb; when we reached the top we were struck by a woman in a wheel chair and realized there MUST have been a path. We were actually disappointed, because we thought we had 'discovered' it for ourselves. Had a fantastic time exploring and enjoying the expansive views. Was just now planning a trip through Europe with our grown kids, and I decided to try to find this old beauty and include it in our itinerary ....I had recorded the name as Ernberg, and could find nothing on the web. Thanks for your blog! We can now rediscover this gem. (We took the walking path down, and also refreshed ourselves at the little tavern at the bottom. Thanks again!

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