Stadt Neuffen, The county of Esslingen
Height: Circa 743 m
The Hohenneuffen, which is one of Württemberg’s greatest fortresses, is one of the most prominent castles in the area. It was acquired at the end of the 11th century as a residence for local aristocracy, but was constantly renovated and expanded up until the 18th century and once even was a prison. The fortress as such was given up in the 19th century. It continued to gain importance as a sight and viewpoint and additionally served as a symbolic place on the way to the formation of the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Mangold of Sulmetingen founded Hohenneuffen around 1100; a few years after his father had built the castle of Sperberseck. His son named Egino named himself after the newly built castle in 1122. He died childless, which is why it was passed to Berthold II of Weißenhorn, who could have been a brother of Mangold. The family’s reputation and influence grew greatly during the Stauffer period. They had possessions scattered all over Swabia and founded a number of cities and villages. Due to their closeness with the kings Philip of Swabia and Frederick II, they became, in absence of the emperor, regents of Swabia and the tutors of the emperor’s son Henry VII. When the latter rebelled against his father around 1235, it comes as no surprise that the Neuffen family stood by their former protégé.
The suppression of said rebellion by the emperor in 1235 greatly affected the Lordship of Neuffen. They endured an economic and social decline in the decades that followed. In 1290, the Swabian line died out and the castle as well as the Lordship of Neuffen was given to Count Eberhard I of Württemberg in 1301. For the latter, the rule over Neuffen’s territories meant a significant expansion of its jurisdiction.
The castle permanently remained under the control of Württemberg. It could not be conquered in the War of Cities in 1449, during the expulsion of Duke Ulrich in 1519 or in the German Peasants’ War in 1525. After his return, the Duke had the medieval castle expanded to be one of his seven fortresses.
In the Thirty Years’ war in 1635, after fourteen months of siege, the fortress was handed over to the Imperialists, although the provisions would have allowed for a much longer siege. The people inside thought a longer wait to be pointless.
Additionally, the fortress was repeatedly used as a prison. For example, Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, the adviser of Duke Karl Alexander of Württemberg, was held there and sentenced to death after a show trial in 1738.
In 1735, Duke Karl Alexander of Württemberg had begun to expand the Hohenneuffen and to adapt it to the current demands of warfare technology. With his death in 1737, however, the construction work came to a halt and ultimately led to the fortress being abandoned in 1736 and becoming a ruin. Nowadays, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, which can also be attributed to the numerous conservational measures carried out in 1966 and 1967 as well as in more recent years.
Hohenneuffen was also the scene of the so-called Three-States Conference, at which important politicians of Württemberg-Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Baden met to negotiate the foundation of a unary Southwestern State. The conference is decisive in the founding of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in 1952.
Burg Hohenneuffen von Horst Guth, Cinecopter
Musik Martin Olschewski