If you walk through Miltenberg, the Mildenburg castle high above the town immediately catches your eye. Even if the way up is steep, it is worth visiting the castle complex.
History of the castle
The Mildenburg was built around 1150 by order of the Hohenstaufen king Konrad III. Around 1200, the castle came into the possession of the archbishop of Mainz. A keep about 27 metres high was built on a rising slope. This is demonstrably the oldest part of the castle complex and from there it was possible to detect the enemy very early on. It also served as a customs post on the south-western Main quadrangle.
Over the centuries, the castle was extended again and again, but large areas of the complex had to be rebuilt again and again due to the destruction caused by war. Until the 18th century, the Mildenburg served as the residence of the archiepiscopal burgraves.
From 1807, the castle was privately owned by several owners. One of the owners was the archaeologist and Limes researcher Wilhelm Conrady. He did not have far to go to his field of research: the Limes met the Main near Miltenberg.
The castle was bought by the von Normann-Loshausen family in 1908. The family had the castle courtyard redesigned in the style of the castle romanticism popular at the time. Further reconstruction and modernisation measures followed inside the castle. The family’s heirs continued to own the castle until 1979, when the town of Miltenberg acquired the property and had it extensively renovated.
How the castle got its name
The name Mildenburg is derived from the Middle High German words milte and bërc. Milte means kind or generous, bërc means mountain or castle. I wonder if the name said something about the owner at the time?
There is a story that supports this assumption:
In 1140, after the battle of Weinsberg, the victorious Konrad promised the women at Weinberg Castle free departure. They were allowed to take everything they could carry with them. Surely Konrad had not reckoned with this, the women carried their men from the castle into the valley. In this way they saved them from execution and were henceforth called the “Faithful Women of Weinsberg”. Weinsberg Castle was renamed Weibertreu Castle. Of course, Konrad kept his promise and when two new castles were built a little later, one was named Mildenburg out of gratitude to Konrad.
Visit to the Mildenburg
The path from the Schnatterloch in the old town up to the castle is steep, the stones uneven and especially the older visitors to the town certainly think twice about walking up this path. But after my visit to the Mildenburg, I must make it clear that it is worth going up the path.
Even on the way, you have a fantastic view of the Main and the higher you get, the more impressive the view of the city becomes.
The castle complex is surrounded by a wall and you can enter the castle courtyard through a large gate. At first, I was almost magically drawn to the keep. The entrance to the tower can be reached via a staircase directly on the castle wall.
At a height of about 11 metres, a bridge then runs from the wall to the tower entrance. After a few steps inside the tower, you reach a viewing platform at the top. From there you have a 360-degree panoramic view over Miltenberg, the castle complex and the Main valley. A fantastically beautiful view!
From up there, you can also see the renovated building that now houses the museum. The museum was the next destination of my castle tour.
The castle museum
Since 2011, the castle has housed the Museum Burg Miltenberg. It houses an exhibition of 170 works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries, Russian and Greek icons from the 16th to the 19th century and Romanian reverse-glass icons.
I liked the art objects in the exhibition. However, my attention was more focused on the rooms themselves. Some of the rooms still show something of the castle’s character. For example, there is a room with a large fireplace and numerous coats of arms on the walls. I had always imagined a knight’s hall in exactly the same way, the only thing missing was a long table with heavy chairs in front of the fireplace.
Finally, and this should have been done at the beginning of my visit, I visited an exhibition area that revealed something about the history of the castle. My tip is to see this part first! You learn a lot and understand the structure of the castle better.
Museum Burg Miltenberg
16 March – 1 November:
Tuesday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
also open on public holidays that fall on a Monday!
2 November to 15 March: closed (open for guided tours, workshops and children’s birthday parties by appointment).
The photos are used with the permission of the Deputy Museum Director of the Museums of the City of Miltenberg.