The Castle Estate
Kriebstein Castle is a combination of tower and ring castle on an oval footprint. The monumental residential tower of a height of 45 m rises from the highest rock cliff. Its late medieval little bay towers and the ridge turret form the unmistakable roof silhouette of the castle. The tower-like gate house, the ring wall with the utility wing, the kitchen building and chapel wing huddle around the residential tower. To the east, there are the Gothic Hall and the rear castle. The end-to-end upper floor from the 17th century embraces the entire building complex.
A castle emerges on the Kriebstein rock
From 1384, the von Beerwalde family erected Kriebstein Castle as a residential and noble ruling seat. At that time, they already owned the towns of Waldheim and Hartha. In 1400, the construction of the buildings and the extensions leaning out over the steep rock were completed. When Dietrich von Beerwalde died in 1408, the Kriebstein property fell to his widow Elisabeth and later to his daughter Klara.
The second era of importance in the castle’s architectural history began in 1465 when Hugold III von Schleinitz acquired the castle. He assigned Gothic reconstruction and extension works to Arnold von Westfalen, the court master builder and architect of Meissen Albrechtsburg Castle. The utility wing with the New Ballroom and the Water Chamber, the so-called rear castle and kitchen building were given their characteristic appearance in that time. This building effort gave Kriebstein Castle the footprint that is still visible today.
The von Arnim family takes possession of the castle
After Hugold von Schleinitz’s death in 1490, ownership of the castle changed frequently.
Only the last third of the 17th century saw a revival of building activities under the rule of the von Schoenberg family. Floors were added to the buildings attached to the residential tower and to the gatehouse as well as the stairwell. In 1825, Hanscarl von Arnim of the House of Planitz near Zwickau acquired the castle, which remained the property of the von Arnim family until 1945.
Court master builder Carl Moritz Haenel redesigned Kriebstein Castle from 1866 to 1868 in neo-Gothic style. Beside partial changes in dividing rooms, two floors were removed from the utility wing. Also, the north fortification wall lost its wooden battlement. A supporting buttress secured the ring wall and the original half-timbered structure of the kitchen building was replaced by a solid building.
The Castle Estate
In 1930, parts of Kriebstein Castle were opened to the public and performed elaborate restoration works. At that time, Kriebstein Castle earned its reputation as “Saxony’s dream of a knight’s castle”. After the Arnim family was expropriate in September 1945, the castle was at first used for residential purposes and then by the forestry administration. The museum has been in operation since 1949. Since 1 January 1993, Kriebstein Castle has been in the ownership of the Free State of Saxony.
The legend of the faithful lady of Kriebstein
In 1415, during Shrovetide, Knight Dietrich von Staupitz and his men took possession of Kriebstein Castle. Margrave Frederick the Belligerent laid siege to the castle. After a long time, mainly the women did not endure life in the castle. Staupitz’s wife begged the Margrave whether at least the women be allowed to leave the castle with the most precious belongings they could carry. When he granted permission, Frederick the Belligerent was certainly on the understanding they meant their jewelry. But, then, he was truly amazed when, the next morning, the castle gate opened and the ladies were carrying out their husbands on their backs. The Margrave was so touched by the artful deed of the faithful ladies of Kriebstein that he pardoned Staupitz, who had actually deserved to be killed.
Learn more about Knight Staupitz.
Kriebsteiner Straße 7 | 09648 Kriebstein
Property of State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony, non profit
+49 (0) 34327 952-0
Admission & opening hours
- Full rate 6,00 EUR
- Reduced rate 5,00 EUR
Subject to modifications.
Here you can find more information on the history of the castle, its owners and a cross-section of the residential tower.
The Castle Chapel
The murals in the Castle Chapel at Kriebstein counts among the best preserved late medieval programmatic murals in the German lands.