Hardenstein Castle

Archaeological site featuring ruins of a medieval castle, including walls, arches & towers.

Hardenstein Castle was newly built between 1345 and 1354 as a fixed house / tower house. Under Heinrich (II) von Hardenberg, a two-storey partially basement castle house was built during this time on a rock spur and was surrounded by water ditches all around. A first direct documentary mention of the former moated castle refers to the castle chapel mentioned in 1363. The new building became necessary when Henry II of Hardenberg sold his dominion of Hardenberg near Neviges to the Count of Berg in 1354.
In a second construction phase, the castle house was expanded to the south about 1430/40, on the main attack side with the two flanking towers and a shield wall. The towers have early forms of key slits, so the period of expansion is also equivalent to the first advent of firearms. A store found in the southeast tower or Powder chamber and stone balls support this thesis.
The client was the son-in-law of the last Hardenberger, Robert Stael von Holstein. Today’s predominant building stock is therefore late medieval. Already in the 16th. In the 19th century, the castle rarely served as a residence for the owner family. Lack of construction maintenance left the castle in the 18th century. century become a ruin. The well-kept castle ruins, consisting of Ruhr sandstone, consists of a partially basement two-storey main building. The main building is dominated south by two round flanking towers with a shield wall approach. Some fireplace systems are still visible in the interior of the main building. Today, large parts of the ring wall, two gates and a square flanking tower are available from the Vorburg.
In a third construction phase, the main castle was surrounded by a forecourt. The lower gate in the forecourt is flanked by a small angular tower integrated into the ring wall. The former moat between the main castle and the forecourt is filled. The windows and door walls are made of work stone. The wall surfaces are no longer plastered.

Small fountain story
During the construction of the Bergisch Märkische Eisenbahn around 1875, a well had to be built in the Vorburg. A wall was piled up for the tracks. Due to the route of the railway, the cattle of the manor could no longer be led to the banks of the Ruhr to soak.
The fountain is mining except for a depth of approx. 8 meters digged (production of vertical shafts). In later years, the well ensured the drinking water supply of the tenants and administrators of the hardtenstein manor. In a large bombing of Witten in 1945, an air bomb fell on the forecourtyard of the Hardenstein castle ruins and buried the castle fountain.
The well was uncovered again and brought into operation. At the beginning of the 1970s, after the destruction of the Bauhaus on the forecourt, the fountain was also filled with garbage and attack. For safety reasons, the fountain was finally bricked up…

The still quite well-preserved castle ruin is located in a valley entrance on the banks of the Ruhr between Witten and Herbede, the Ennepe Ruhr Kreis. The owner of the castle ruins is the community of heirs Frielinghaus and the tenant is the city of Witten.

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