Schloß Stein


Useful Information

Location: Guided tours start at the entrance to the lower castle, behind the restaurant "Brauereigasthof Martini".
Open: APR to 14-JUL Tue-Sun 14.
15-JUL to 15-SEP Tue-Sun 14, 16.
16-SEP to OKT Tue-Sun 14.
Groups all year after appointment.
With brewery tour: Mid-MAY to Mid-OCT Fri, Sat, Sun 13, 15.
[2018]
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children EUR 2.
Groups: Adults EUR 2,50.
With brewery tour: Adults EUR 8, Teens EUR 4, Children (-9) EUR 2.
[2018]
Classification:  
Light: partly electric light, bring torch if possible, if necessary candles are provided
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=60min
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: not accessible, many narrow staircases
Bibliography:  
Address: Familie Wernhöfer, Verein der Freunde der Burg Stein, Tel: +49-8621-5984.
Touristik Verein Traunreut e.V., Postfach 1480, 83294 Traunreut, Tel: +49-8669-857-0. E-mail: contact
Heinz vom Stein Erlebniswelt, Schlossbrauerei Stein, Tel: +49-8621-9832-12, Tel: +49-8621-9832-16 E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1100 the first castle built of rocks on top of the cliff by the Edelfreien von Stein.
1200 the castle is now owned by the family Toerring.
1231 castle conquered by unknown enemies.
15th cty (first half) the lower castle with chapel and the first version of the cave castle built.
1435 under siege and conquered by Jörg Fraunberger von Haag because of a feud.
15th cty (second half). extension of the cave castle and errection of the tower (Leichen- oder Hungerturm)
1504 under siege by Kaiser Maximilian I. and his army during the Landshuter Erbfolgekrieg. Not conquered.
17th cty abandoned.
1829 new owner are the Freiherren von Lösch.
1845 new owner is the bavarian princess Prinzessin Amalia von Leuchtenberg-Braganza.
1873 new owner is her nephew Fürst Nikolaus von Leuchtenberg-Romanowsky.
1890 new owners are the Grafen von Arco-Zinneberg.
1992/93 thorough renovation.

Description

The cave castle Schloß Stein (literally Castle Rock) is the biggest cave castle in Germany. It is located in the town Stein, both the town and the castle are named after the huge cliff. The whole fortification has three distinct parts:

  1. The Hochschloß (high castle) is located at the rim on top of 50m high vertical conglomerate cliff. At this place a prehstoric settlement has been excavated.
  2. The Höhlenburg (cave castle) is built into the cliff face like a swallow nest.
  3. The Neues Schloß (new castle) is located at the foot of the cliff and is still in use. It houses a private high school.

The cave of the cave castle is actually a rather shallow grotto formed by the overhanging cliff. The cave wall was integrated into the castle forming the rear walls. The original cavern has been intensively modified by man. It was enlarged and walls were sculptured, either to gain more room or to make the walls smooth or vertical. And a tunnel was built from the cave castle to the high castle, but its use is lost in time. It was most likely not a secret passage to flee to the other castle when one was under siege. It seems it was just for convenience, to connect both castles in the shortest possible way, as it was almost impossible to build a connection in front of the cliff.

The rock is locally called Nagelfluh, which is another word for conglomerate. A conglomerate is a sedimentary rock formed from small pebbles which are glued together by other material. It is formed in front of the Alps when the debris from the erosion of the mountain ridge is sedimented and ground water brings dissolved minerals, which crystallize in the fissures. Conglomerate is normally not karstified, only if all components - pebbles and the glue inbetween - are made of limestone. The cavern here was formed by the erosion of the river Traun, so it is an erosional cave or a river cave.

To the west of the cave castle is a Einsiedlerklause (hermits recluse) also built into the cliff face. It was first mentioned in a document in 1690 and was inhabited by a hermit until 1934.

The guided tour starts at the new castle at the foot of the cliff, behind the restaurant Brauereigasthof Martini. This castle is not open to the public, it is used as a private boarding chool. The tour enters the tower of the castle and goes up to the cave casle. Here several layers of the castle are visited. Finally the underground tunnel to the high castle is used. It end in the patio of the castle, the castle itself is also not open to the public. Here the tour ends and you can walk back a steep trail along the cliff down to the town.

Some years ago a second operator began to offers tours into the castle. The original tours were made by a non profit organization and are still offered. Additionally there are tours, which include a visit to the castle brewery and a beer tasting. They are of course more expensive.

The gruesome story of Heinz von Stein dem Wilden

This legend was written down in 1783 for the first time by Lorenz Hübner as a play which was subtitled vaterländisches Trauerspiel (patriotic tragedy). It is about the first owner of the castle, Heinz von Stein, who led such a wicked life that he was not allowed to rest in consecrated ground.

Once upon a time, wild Heinz, who was said to be of herculean size and fearsome looking, succeeded to take captive lovely Waltraud on one of his raids. She was the daughter of the old Gravenecker, the Meier (mayor) of the town Trostberg. With threats and flattery Heinz tried to make the beautiful woman docile - but she remained steadfast. In her resistance she was strengthened by her lover, Siegfried von Gebsattel, who has meanwhile disguised himself as a groom under Heinzen's wild bunch.

Gravenecker tries in vain to free his daughter and gets caught in the attack on the castle. Heinz now demands the innocence of Waltraud for her father's life, and as the old Meier refuses such a trade, the brute tugs him to the execution place.

Waltraud, however, commits suicide, as Heinz tries to approach her. In the meantime Siegfried has succeeded in letting soldiers from Munich and Salzburg into the castle unnoticed. They conquer the castle and put down Heinzens people. He himself is stabbed to death by the fierce Siegfried, who finds him next to the dead Waltraud and considers him the murderer.

When Gravenecker, freed from the executioner's hand at the last moment, sees the body of his daughter, he collapses dead in grief. The pained Siegfried finally learns with a shiver, that he has killed his own father in Heinz. Heinz had ordered him to be exposed soon after his birth.