Neidlingen, The county of Esslingen
Height: Circa 743 Meter
The castle on the Erkenberg, which was called Merkenberg in the Middle Ages, can be traced back to the Counts of Aichelberg. In the 12th century, they received part of the Zähringer and Nellenburger possessions on the northern edge of the Middle Alb, which they managed as part of the Lordship of Aichelberg. The name originates from their castle on the so-called Aichelberg and the nearby village. Although they controlled Weilheim an der Teck and Neidlingen, they did not possess the Limburg. This is probably why they strived to build more castles in their sphere of influence and chose the representative, cone-shaped Merkenberg to do so. It is only connected to the Alb by a narrow ridge. The construction began in the mid-13th century, but never seems to have been fully completed. Diepold and Ulrich of Aichelberg named themselves “of Merkenberg” in 1247 and were the first of the family to do so. Their father, Count Egeno of Aichelberg, is considered to be the castle’s founder. However, the two brothers did not continue to live there after their father’s death around 1250. The last time a representative of the Merkenberg family is being mentioned, is the grandson of Ulrich of Merkenberg signing a document in 1322 right before he sold the castle to Württemberg between 1334 and 1339. In 1535, it was described as a Burgstall, referring to a dilapidated and abandoned castle.