The small German town of Landstuhl is situated on the northwestern edge of the ancient Palatinate forest and home to a rather splendid hilltop castle by the name of Burg Nanstein.
The castle itself is a mighty sight, built around 1162AD when this area was firmly under Roman occupation. The castle itself was built in response to a request from the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I who was shoring up defenses around the Palatinate. The castle, however, is better known for being the place where rebel knight Franz von Sickingen gave up the ghost. A big supporter of Protestant reform, he had extended protection to many a reformer, including the man himself, Martin Luther. He overstepped his powers, however, when he went up against the Archbishop of Trier and the Holy Roman Empire itself. Von Sickingen quickly found himself besieged by his enemies. Under normal circumstances, he could probably have weathered out the siege for about four months but this battle is purported to be the very first instance where artillery was used. His fortified castle proved no match for that kind of warfare; his defenses were quickly dismantled and he himself received a fatal wound, dying on the same day he admitted defeat.
So there’s oodles of history associated with the ruins of this hilltop castle, and a cracking view of the surrounding countryside too.
Now you can drive almost to the top if you are so inclined, but if you have a little more time and energy, leave the car behind and walk instead. Take Burgweg past the Schloss-Hotel Landstuhl and look for a leafy trail to your left. As you zigzag your way up the forested slopes keep your eyes peeled for some rather interesting characters along the way.
A brilliant local initiative makes the most of tree stumps left behind after forest maintenance thins out the dense forest canopy. Some of them pay homage to local institutions and antiquities…
…some are pure fancy….
…and one or two are downright scary.
As the song goes, if you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.
Did you see any faeries? 😉
I think they were in hiding, AJ 🙂
Any you didn’t go looking??? 😉
I’ve learned it’s best to let them come to you, AJ 🙂
I’ve always found that song strangely menacing. As are some of those tree carvings. Good morning, nightmares. I thank you for the background on the castle. People don’t use “gave up the ghost” nearly enough.The tale of Franz gives me the idea that I want “I admit defeat” to either be my last words or etched on my tombstone.
I know quite a few other people who get spooked by that song too, Pickleope, but I’ve always loved it. Teddy bears and picnics are two of my favourite things. 🙂 I think Franz would approve of your choice of last words.
Oodles of history, and scary carvings!
And lots of fun, Sue. My brother couldn’t wait to show them to me when I visited. 🙂
“Today’s the day, the Teddybears have their picnic.” – Looks like quite an awesome place to go see.
It really is an awfully impressive castle for such a wee town, thebluespade, definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.
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what amazing carvings!
Arent’ they fabulous? I adore the first one, the guy with the angular features and the beard, sort of reminds me a little of the stone figures of the Rapa Nui on Easter Island.
I love that! What a great idea. And thanks for the earworm for the day.
Haha, I’ve been humming it all day too, you’re welcome, Mary. 🙂
The local initiative is interesting!
Thanks for the info! I don’t live very far, I might visit!
Ooh, yes, it’s a lovely walk too, through the woods up to the castle – and when you’re done, check out Sanders Cafe on Kaiserstraße, they do great coffee and pastries. 🙂
Ah, Germany. One of the many places I have not visited yet. Your blog is inspiring
Glad you enjoyed my post, sudapoedia47, I hope you get to visit Germany soon, there are some stunning places to see. But then you can say that about almost anywhere, can’t you? So many places to see, so little time. 😉
What an amazing place. Love all the wood carving. There are some very creative people here.
Gorgeous carvings! thanks for sharing 🙂 One of my recent posts on Vietnam mentions a place where similar carvings and handmade wooden furniture features extensively in an architect’s personal project turned tourist place — I loved it there and you may want to check out my post 🙂
Incredible carvings! Thanks!