On par with Dracula and The Mummy, the name Frankenstein can instill fear and excitement, forever immortalized by the literary genius of Mary Shelley.
There’s been speculation that Ms. Shelly wrote her terrifying novel about Burg Frankenstein in the town of Mühltal in Hesse, but no one really knows for sure. And while her story might be fiction, there really is a Frankenstein Castle — and it’s spooky, fantastic, and quite lively considering you’ll find it in ruins.
About The Frankenstein Castle And Its History
Although the first time anyone heard the name Burg Frankenstein was in 1252, it is believed that the massive stone structure has been here at least a decade before that.
The oldest part of the castle lies along the courtyard, where you’ll see its battlements and ramparts. Castles were meant for defense, so it’s common to find these military-type defense systems here too.
I should say, the oldest part anyone knows about. The current Burg Frankenstein is said to sit atop an even older castle, but sadly no one can verify that. But, the castle did go through a renovation of sorts in the 16th century, and was expanded.
The Frankenstein Castle did have a famous resident, that wasn’t the Monster Frankenstein. Johann Konrad Dippel, an alchemist, lived here — and reportedly still does, as his ghost is said to still haunt the grounds.
Maybe he likes the view, as Burg Frankenstein sits at 370 meters, overlooking the Odenwald. It isn’t the only castle in the region, but it is the most northern one you’ll find in a string of them on the western side of it.
Another story associated with the castle is that of St. Georg, told by the Brothers Grimm. According to the legendary storytellers, good ol’ St. Georg slayed a dragon here in order to keep his girlfriend on the side from becoming its lunch. I’m sure his wife wasn’t too happy. ;-)
Frankenstein Castle Highlights And Features
While Burg Frankenstein doesn’t have a museum, it does have a restaurant (serving traditional German cuisine) with an outstanding view. Before you eat, you might want to see the castle’s chapel. It might not look like much with its squat architecture and windowless design, but it’s still outstanding.
The castle’s tower is its most prominent feature, and was once part of its drawbridge system. Yes, Burg Frankenstein had a moat. At the Gymnastics Festival Monument is a War Memorial, which is a sword resting on a pedestal.
Frankenstein Castle is the location of a couple of festivals throughout the year. One of the biggest is the Frankenstein Mountain Gymnastics Festival, held every year in August or September. The other is the Halloween Fest, where on weekends in October/November the castle’s all decked out with special effects.
On Sundays you’ll see the Knights of Frankenstin Castle, or the Mediaevalis Cultus, doing all sorts of medieval stuff. The sword fights are really popular, and it’s totally fun to watch everyone decked out in period garb. I don’t know if everyone would be so cheerful if they had to use medieval plumbing. ;-)
Frankenstein Castle Location And Opening Times
It’s easy enough to get to the Frankenstein Castle if you’re following the Burgenweg or Alemannenweg walking trails, since they come right to the castle.
If you’re driving, take the Autobahn A5 to the Darmstadt-Eberstadt exit, turn right, and then from the B3 on to the B426. Then take the third street to the right (Josephweg), following the signs for the rest.
If you’re equipped with a GPS device, simply enter Mühltal for the city and Fahrweg for the street.
A number of bus routes will bring you to Mühltal from Frankfurt am Main, Eberbach, Erbach (Odenwald), and Darmstadt. The latter is only a few kilometers away, making it a great stop if you’re traveling by train.
And of course, if you’re coming here by airplane the closest airport is the huge Frankfurt Airport [FRA], which is merely 38 km or 30 minutes away.
Frankenstein Castle Opening Times
Burg Frankenstein and its restaurant are open every day throughout the year, with the exception during January and February where its restaurant is only open on Weekends and holidays. The castle remains open though, except with heavy weather (storm, snow fall, etc.).
Frankenstein Castle Web Site
Here’s the official Web site of the mystic Frankenstein Castle.