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“The Palatinate is a blessed region when compared to other regions and everything is good in our dear homeland. Among the regions of the world, the Palatinate is a land of plenty.” These were the words used by Lieselotte, Princess of the Palatinate, romanticising her beloved lost home. There is no doubt that this most famous daughter of the Palatinate would have preferred to reside in sunny Edesheim Castle than at the court of the Sun King in Versailles.
And it was the King Ludwig I of Bavaria who rhapsodised: “Place of my youth, Palatinate, it is you I love and your people, like you, love me. This is my home and home is where, some day, I want to go with my beloved ones …”. He made his dream come true by “building a summer residence in one of the most beautiful square miles in my kingdom.” On this precious piece of earth – in a marvellous area surrounded by vineyards and a spellbound park – situated in one of the country’s warmest regions you will find one of the most beautiful castle hotels in Germany: HOTEL SCHLOSS EDESHEIM
First mentioned in the records of the Benedictine Abbey in Weissenburg, France, in the year 756 the history of this “fairytale castle” dates back to the times following the Franconian occupation. The Christian clergy not only laid the foundation stone but also led the castle into a first period of prosperity and developed the estate into a place of learning and a significant centre of government.
In 1483, following an interim period of decline in the 16 th century and having suffered plundering and destruction during the Peasant Wars, the castle, together with the village of Edesheim, was acquired by the Prince Bishops of Speyer.
Under the aegis of the church dignitaries – at the same time secular sovereigns in the Bishopric of Speyer – the castle served as the Prince Bishops’ see and administrative area. 100 years after Edesheim Castle regained its importance (1594), it was destroyed by the French during the Palatinate War of Succession, to be totally rebuilt in the years to come.
The manorial building was documented as a moated castle in the 15 th century, with the origins of the water system allegedly reaching back into the 12 th century. It is still possible to imagine how the castle looked to visitors during the feudal years. Next to today’s main building, the complex had a rectangular construction that was used as a manor house as well as a living and guest house. Its demolition in 1748 was followed by a re-construction in keeping with contemporary architecture, including a tower building, in the 19 th century.
Since the Middle Ages, the castle building, situated in the low plains, was surrounded by a broad moat for protection. Visitors coming from the outer castle path had to cross a drawbridge to get inside the castle and it was not until the 19 th century that the drawbridge was replaced by the solid stone bridge still in use today. From the stone bridge a second, u-shaped moat went off towards the east and served to protect the castle’s commercial buildings (today’s residence). The intersections of the castle path with the main road were also secured by additional drawbridges and served as checkpoints and customs offices to levy the toll for using the road between Neustadt and Landau. It is still easy to recognise the old branch channel that fed the castle’s moats. The old canal runs parallel to the wall that separates the castle’s premises from the buildings below. The neighbouring area of the so-called “Kupperwolf-Schlössel” castle (formerly home of Baron de Holbach, a famous Edesheim-born Palatinate winegrower’s son and French encyclopaedic), together with other nearby servants’ quarters, also used to belong to the castle. Edesheim Castle is surrounded by a strong wall some 2,000 metres in length. This wall reveals traces of trimming techniques used in the Stauffer period and also consists of square stone blocks. Based on both the techniques and the stone material, the conclusion can be drawn that this wall was constantly worked upon over the course of many centuries. A document stone found in the wall bears the date 1570 but significantly older sections can also be found. During the 1,250 years since the foundation stone was laid, Edesheim Castle – situated in a large area and surrounded by vineyards and a spellbound park – has seen people and times come and go, prosperity and decline, destruction and re-construction, war and peace. In 1804, after centuries of being in church property, the castle was nationalised under Napoleon in line with his secularisation plans and later became the private property of various owners. At the end of the 2 nd millennium, the old castle was extensively renovated and Hotel Schloss Edesheim was established as a 4-star hotel. The works included the re-construction of a 500m² large and 2.20-m deep part of the castle’s moat, including a footpath and footbridge. The path leads around the castle to a marvellous open-air theatre whose impressive stage has been permanently installed in the lake. The theatre and its semi-circular, rising tiers offers space for some 1,000 visitors and gives the impression of an antique amphitheatre: a place of culture, which does credit to the region of the Southern Wine Road and the entire Palatinate.
Edesheim Castle: established in historical tradition – preserving the old in a modern way – is a landmark with a high identification value for the region of the Southern Wine Road and is known far beyond the borders of the Palatinate.
Embedded in a Mediterranean flair and offering a very special ambience, Edesheim Castle combines the courtly charm typical for the heyday of the feudal period with modern comfort that meets the highest demands.
The new millennium marked a new beginning for this “fairytale Palatinate castle”. In 2001, Hotel Schloss Edesheim became the property of the Dr. Lohbeck Group of Companies, which also owns other hotels in historic buildings, such as Trendelburg Castle Hotel situated on the German Fairy Tale Road, as well as various retirement homes and newspaper publishers.
Dr. Lohbeck’s motto “In order to successfully design the future, we have to look at the past and understand it” not least reflects the Group’s hotel concept.