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Scharnstein Castle with drawbridge
Vischer copper engraving, around 1674

The Scharnstein Ruins

Das Historicum Scharnstein
Scharnstein, Austria
  14179 Visits

On a rugged, steep cliff above the Tießenbachtal the Scharnstein Ruins rise. The preserved walls and remains of walls testify to a once mighty castle that was probably built in the 1st half of the 12th century by the counts of Rebgau. The castle originally consisted of 3 parts: a main castle with a keep in the middle, a tower called “Mitterturm” (middle tower), that was located about 50 meters higher and a second tower called “Hochturm” (high tower). The “Mitterturm” was a square watchtower that was surrounded by a wall and had a covered walkway leading to the main castle. The “Hochturm” (high tower) was probably a wooden structure erected on a higher rocky plateau to the south. Today, however, only a small rocky plateau remains visible. The main castle and the “Mitterturm” are, still easy to imagine due to the existing remains. The main castle was surrounded by thick stone walls and on the west side it was protected by a moat with a drawbridge. You first entered the outer courtyard with the farm buildings through a heavy castle gate and reached the inner courtyard through another gate, where the residential and official buildings and a chapel were lined up. Also, a dungeon was available, because the lord of the castle held jurisdiction. On the south-east side of the castle there is a weir wall with loopholes all the way down to the Thießenbachtal from where a natural rock wall, the so-called Bräumauer, connects and leads up to the Bräu-mountain. Both walls together formed a well-fortified head of the valley, probably used as a place of refuge during the Turkish Wars.
Visitors to the castle are offered three different hiking trails from the Tießenbachtal to reach the castle in about 45 minutes. The direct and steeper stepped path leads along the defensive wall in the lower section and the Wagner Chapel, which was built in a small rock cave. The other two trails are more extensive and lead up to the castle in serpentines. The main castle and the “Mitterturm” offer a magnificent panoramic view of Scharnstein and its surroundings.
The castle and the “Mitterturm” were restored and secured by the cultural association, and other clubs formed the area by order of the municipality.

4644 Scharnstein


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