Rötteln Castle

Rötteln Castle is located in the southwestern corner of Baden-Württemberg. It is the third-largest ruined castle in Baden, and one of the region’s most impressive Medieval fortresses.

Rötteln Castle (Burg Rötteln) occupies a commanding position on a forested ridge, at the edge of the Wiesen valley. In times past, its location overlooking the Rhine River was of military significance: it is the house of Baden’s southernmost stronghold in the Upper Rhine Valley.

A steep path leads up to the castle gateway

A steep path leads up to the castle gateway.

A centre of cultural exchange in the Middle Ages

Founded in the 12th century, the castle was the family seat of the house of Rötteln. This influential clan owned a considerable amount of property in the nearby city of Basel. In 1311, the castle was inherited by the noble Hachberg-Sausenberg family, relations of the house of Baden. This marked the high point in the castle’s history – with a territory stretching from the High Rhine, in what is now Switzerland, to southern France, and good relations with the regions beyond. Rötteln Castle acted as a hub of cultural exchange between present-day southwestern Germany and the French-speaking regions to the west.

Rötteln Castle

Rötteln Castle.

An impressive and unmistakable castle

The fortress was expanded to its current size under the ownership of the Hachberg family. Stretching from northwest to southwest, the complex spans 300 metres. It is divided into an upper ward and a lower ward. A small defensive tower, like a bastion, protrudes to the west. A drawbridge takes you from the lower ward to the upper ward, the oldest part of the castle. The two tall keeps give the castle its distinct appearance – instantly recognisable even from a distance.

In 1503, the house of Baden took possession of Rötteln. In 1678, it was damaged by French troops. Since the 19th century, the ruins have been appreciated anew for their historic aura and attractive setting. Today, the site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Upper Rhine Valley. The Grüner Turm (green tower) in the upper ward offers a wonderful 360° view of the town of Lörrach and the Wiesen valley – and beyond, to the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps.

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