Monday, June 23, 2014

The Ronneburg Castle

The Ronneburg Castle, a landmark often referred to in Amana history, is a beautiful piece of 13th century,  Medieval architecture that sits on a steep basalt cone. It is also a municipality in the district of Main-Kinzig, in Hessen, Germany and bordered on the north by the city of Búdingen. The castle is in the center of the  design of the town's coat of arms, sitting on its high hills known as "Ronneburg Hill Country". The castle's early names were Raneburg, Roneburg, which means fallen tree which might refer to its many attached palisades. The castle was first mentioned in a document in 1258, some think 1231. It changed hands many times in its early years, belonging to the bishops of Mainz, the count of Búdingen and the knights of Rockenburg, and finally after much feuding and sacks, it fell into the hands of the  counts of Ysenburg-Búdingen, who still own it. A fire destroyed the castle in 1621, and Croatian troops plundered it in 1634. In the early 18th century it was home to many Protestant exiles (Amana Pietists Rock and Gruber) following the Thirty Years War. Here the Amana people found refuge among other estates. A storm damaged the castle in the mid 19th century so many inhabitants left, the last in 1886. In 1905, it was named a protected historical monument, action was taken to maintain it, and now is a popular place to visit which I did in 2011 with a group of Amana residents. In 2004 it was once again sold to a nephew of the family princess, named Joachim Benedikt von Herman. The Ronneburg has a steep, narrow lane (Amanastrasse) leading up to its two gates, two courtyards,mighty wall,ruins of royal stables on which a restaurant is now built, a fortress, a well house with a 317 foot deep well, main living quarters and apartments for the royal of the past, 145 stairwell that leads to the castle tower, below is a museum that features an apothecary, a kitchen and bakery and tools. On my visit I was surprised to see several peacocks in their splendor swirling around the courtyard. This whole castle was truely a scene from long time passed,in this case, like a page from Germany's and Amana's history book.

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