Chateau de Kintzheim

Chateau de Kintzheim is a castle in Kintzheim, Bas-Rhin, France dating from the 12th century. The ruins of the chateau dominate the village of Kintzheim. Kintzheim was known in the 6th century under the name of Regis Villa. The Merovingian kings had made it into the center of a vast domain including the valley of the Liepvre River and the forests of Haut-Koenigsbourg.

The construction of the chateau began around 1250 on the order of Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. The keep and the rampart which belongs to it were finished at the end of the 13th century. The residential structures were built during the 14th and the 15th centuries. In 1341, Emperor Louis IV, known as “The Bavarian”, gave the village of Kinsen to the town of Selestat.

In 1492, on the order of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg, the landvogt of Alsace, Gaspard de Morimont, sold the chateau to the town of Selestat. In 1633 the chateau was partly destroyed by the Swedes during the Thirty Year War, In 1649 the town of Selestat sold the chateau for 3 000 florins to J. G. de Gollen, former mayor of the town, who had been the minister of Ferdinand III of Habsburg to the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Year War. Between 1650 and 1670 J. G. de Gollen restored the residential buildings and the chapel, but never actually lived in the chateau.

Between 1760 and 1780 the last resident of the chateau was a hermit monk who took care of the chapel. Taken care of during the 18th century by J. G. de Gollen, then by the marquis de Broc, his heir, the chateau was abandoned following the French Revolution of 1789. The roofs disappeared around 1830. In 1801 the marquis de Broc put the chateau up for sale. The town of Selestat tried to regain possession of the property. In 1807 a decree of Emperor Napoleon I gave the chateau to Mathieu de Favier, who was obliged to pay 2000 silver marks to the town of Selestat to settle their claim.

In 1802 the future Baron of the Second Empire Gaetan Mathieu de Favier bought the chateau, and below it he built a manor house in the Directory style. Between the two structures he built a park in the English style, which today is classified by the Ministry of Culture of France as one of the Notable Gardens of France. The family of Mathieu de Fabvier was close to the family of a Minister of Finance of France, Jean-Georges Humann (1780-1842), whose descendants later became responsible for preserving the chateau. During the 19th century, the romantic movement brought medieval castles back into style. many castles in France were restored by Viollet-le-Duc while in Germany Bodo Ebhardt restored many castles, including the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg, inaugurated by the Emperor William II of Germany in 1908.

In 1876, German architects carried out a consolidation of the ruins of Kintzheim. In 1945, during the World War II battle for the Alsace, the chateau was used as an observation post, and the tower was hit by artillery shells. In 1965, the ruins of the chateau were classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. In 1968 “The Eagle’s Nest” was installed at the ruins, and became a tourist attraction drawing about 150,000 visitors each year, and is still open to this day.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s