Back in 2002 Germany decided to “establish” the town of Falkenstein (Harz), which is located along the northeastern part of the Harz Mountain Range in Saxony-Anhalt. What’s amazing to me is the fact that the seven villages that is now Falkenstein have been around for quite a number of centuries.
How do you begin to just make up a town?
Whatever their reasoning may be, it just wraps them all up in one tidy package. And the fact that you can get a handful of castles all in close proximity. Sweet.
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However, it is only the Burg Falkenstein that give the town that bears its name a spot on the Romanesque Route (Straße der Romanik in German). That’s because Falkenstein Castle is one hell of an outstanding medieval castle built in the Romanesque style back in 1120. This massive stories-high stone & half-timbered castle is now a museum.
Don’t confuse Burg Falkenstein with the Burg Alter Falkenstein. Oh wait, you can’t. That’s because the Old Falkenstein Castle doesn’t exist anymore — too bad this 11th century one was destroyed back in 1115.
The same fate befell the Ackeburg in Pansfelde, a 13th century castle that was leveled sometime around the year 1400. Today this castle lies along the European Long Distance Hiking Route E11.
Hiking around a destroyed castle is something to do around the ruins of Anhalt Castle. You’ll know you’ve found it when you stumble upon its old stump wall. Wait, since this sits along another hiking route — maybe stumble isn’t the right word to use. ;-)
The Konradsburg is another castle (was another castle), whose monastery crypt goes back to the early years to around 1021.
Hey, at least Schloss Meisdorf is still around. Since it’s now a hotel you can stay here — if not, you’re still welcome to walk around its Schlosspark.
A walk around the Harz Nature Park is good to do, too. And so is partying at Falkenstein’s annual Whit Monday events (at Pentecost), and the annual Harz Agricultural Festival every June.
In between the partying and castle visiting, the villages of Falkenstein offer some great medieval and later-year churches. The Village Church (known as the Patronatskirche) is one, and it wouldn’t be right to leave out St. Laurentii either.
As you’re exploring you’ll also see the Endorf Windmill, an old Jewish Cemetery, and a couple of War Memorials.
There certainly is enough to do here in Falkenstein, good thing Germany did decide to make it happen all in one place — that’s German efficiency for you. ;-)