Iburg Castle, Bad Driburg

The Iburg is a ruined hill castle in Westphalia. It was build around the 8th century, dating back to the time of Charlemagne and his war with the Saxons. Today it is a popular day-trip destination and the tower, named after Charlemagne (Kaiser Karl Turm), can be climbed for beautiful views. 

Iburg
Iburg, Westfalen (Copyright Bastian Ruschhaupt)

It is likely that the castle was originally erected by Saxons as a fortified stronghold but once conquered Charlemagne build a chapel within its confines to honour St.Peter, which he eventually gifted to the Arch-Diocese of Paderborn. From 1134 a monastery briefly used the castle before the Bishop of Paderborn fortified it to become a stronger military fortress in the late 12th century. The Iburg never saw much action, however, and slipped from importance until the 15th century, when Otto of Braunschweig destroyed it. The castle was not restored and the close-by city of Bad Driburg inherited the holdings. 

First archeological surveys were undertaken on 1900 and gradually the ruins where freed and restored to serve as tourist attraction.

The Iburg is mentioned in the epic poem ‘Dreizehnlinden’ by Friedrich Wilhelm Weber. Here is a excerpt with the relevant passage:

Rings der Wälder tiefes Schweigen!

Aus des Tales Nebelhülle

Hob die Iburg ihren Scheitel

In die sternenklare Stille:

Alter Hain, aus dessen Wipfeln

Sonst die Irminsäule ragte,

Die zum Schmerz und Schreck der Sachsen

König Karl zu brennen wagte;

Götterstätte, jetzt umwuchert

Von Gestrüpp und wilden Ranken

Und als Wohnort dunkler Mächte

Scheu gemieden von den Franken.

Lieblich war die Nacht, die kurze,

Vor dem Tag der Sonnenwende;

Auf der Iburg stumpfem Kegel

Flackerten die Opferbrände;

Auf der Iburg stumpfem Kegel

Hatten sich zum Balderfeste

Fromm geschart die Heidenleute,

Gaugenossen, fremde Gäste.

Unter Eichen auf dem Rasen

Stand der Opferstein, der graue,

Neben ihm mit blut’gem Messer

Eine riesenhafte Fraue:

Swanahild, die greise Drude,

Ihres Priesteramts zu walten,

Erzgegürtet; weißes Linnen

Floß um sie in reichen Falten.

  • Iburg
  • Iburg
  • Iburg

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