Chateau de l’Ortenbourg

Chateau de l’Ortenbourg is a ruined castle situated in the department of Bas-Rhin in the Alsace. It date’s to the XIIIth century. Ortenbourg is sat with Ramstein, one of the two castles which dominate the commune of Scherwiller, located 7 km from Selestat. The ruins of the castle sit on a rock at the height of 437 m. Both two castles are subject of a classification under the historic buildings act since July 1924.

This castle has held its surname ‘Ortenberg’ since the Xth century. The castle of Ortenbourg built out of smooth, white granite in the XIIIth century, it is a good example of military architecture of medieval Alsace. It still has a pentagonal keep of 32 m, a rampart of 17m provided with three lines of arrowslits and a seigneurial home with Gothic windows. A large ditch separates it from the remainder of the mountain. The castle appears in 1166-1167 with noble Werner von Ortenberg originating in Souabe, but possession of Scherwiller. one of its decendants brings the castle and the seigniory in dowry to Rudolf von Habsburg, title holder of Haute-Alsace, who builds the current building.

The current building (1262) is built by Rodolphe de Habsbourg, future king of Italy, to control the valley of the city. In 1293 it is besieged and with it the Chateau de Ramstein by Otton Ochsenstein at the time of the conflict which opposes Habsbourg to Adolphe de Nassau, owner of these places at this time. In 1314, It is sold to Mullenheim by the village of Scherwiller. It is damaged in 1374 by the troops of Jean Ist de Lorraine, which sought to protect its duchy. In the XVth century It is held to ransom by travellers. between 1470 – 1474, It is occupied by the troops of Charles le Temeraire, who come to cleanse the area, then taken again by the Strasbourgeois. In 1551, it is repurchased by the governor of Innsbruck, Nicolas de Bolwiller. In 1633, it is set fire to and partially destroyed by the Swedes during the Thirty Years War.


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