South of Darmstadt is the 1200 year old town of Mühltal, it could also be known as the land of Frankenstein. The ruins of Frankenstein Castle are Mühltal’s landmark and it dominates the background of this tiny town.
Besides the infamously named castle, there are ruins of at least four other castles nearby. So, if you’re here to see some of the great castles of Germany, then this is a top spot.
Burg Frankenstein is the setting of the largest Halloween Festivals in all of Germany. When it’s not October 31, the castle has a fantastic restaurant with an observation deck and the Gate Tower is a feat of German engineering. The castle’s chapel is picture perfect, if not anything and there’s a memorial here dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the First and Second World Wars.
Despite the fictional story surrounding the name of the castle, it is not reported to be haunted. But, “Frankenstein’s lair” does double as a comedy club on occasion.
Right to the south of Burg Frankenstein you’ll find ruins of another 13th century Schloss. Since 2005 a group of “knights” give a living picture of life here at Schloss Alsbach with everything from carpentry to the cooking in a medieval kitchen.
Castle Alsbach isn’t the only one to get in on reenactment business, Schloss Auerbach also hosts many “Knights Tournaments” and plays. Thanks to recent renovations it’s now possible to explore around the castle’s South Tower and Schloss Auerbach is considered to be one of the most impressive castles in the entire region.
So is the 13th century Burg Tannenberg in neighboring Seeheim-Jugenheim. The castle has been in ruins since it was destroyed by a cannonball in 1399, one of the first in Germany to be ruined in this manner. It is, however, where one of the oldest handheld weapons in all of Germany was found that now sits in the National Museum in Nuremberg.
Then there’s the Starkenburg (close to Heppenheim) looking down ominously on the countryside from a 900 foot high vantage point. Built in 1065 this castle stood guard over the town for 700 years, finally being destroyed in 1765. The tower was blown up (on purpose) in 1924 to preserve the condition of the rest of the castle. The tower might be gone but it’s thought that something remains here, since many think the castle to be haunted.
With everything you’ll find here in Mühltal, from a large festival fit for a Frankenstein, lunch in a castle restaurant fit for a queen (or, king), and castle ruins, ghosts are just one more reason to come!