Castle Nanstein was build in the 12th century on orders of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I. It is most well known for it’s 16th century owner and famous knight, Franz von Sickingen, who died here after the the siege of 1523.
Today, Burg Nanstein is a ruin on top of a 330m hill and offers excellent views of the area and teh city of Landstuhl. The name refers back to the red brick it was built with and its purpose was to help secure the region for the emperor. Due to repeated inheritance, the castle was eventually owned by several families simultaneously and fell into disrepair. However, Franz von Sickingen and his father Schweickhardt von Sickingen managed to bring complete control of the castle back into their possession in 1518. Subsequently, it was modernised and enlarged as well as enforced for canons. In 1522 Franz von Sickingen had to fall back to Burg Nanstein after an alliance of lords had attacked him and his progressive group of knights. He was heavily wounded and eventually succumbed and died.
Franz’ sons and grandsons rebuild the castle from 1543 and by 1600 the former stronghold had been transformed into a Renaissance pleasure palace, which was encircled by a wall that spanned all the way to town. The building survived the 30 years war without any damage, despite the family von Sickingen having been driven out by the lords of Lothringen. In 1668, however, it was captured by Earl Karl Ludwig, who demolished it. What was left was finally raised to the ground by French troops in 1689.
Since the 19th century, local historical foundations have looked after the ruins and part of the castle were restored. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction with an imposing knights hall and a tower dating back to von Sickingen’s time. The castle hosts an annual medieval fair since 1963 and in 1998 the city organised celebrations to commemorate the 475 anniversary of the death of Franz von Sickingen.
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