A SHORT OUTLOOK ON HISTORY OF WOLFSEGG CASTLE
Wolfsegg Castle is situated 15km to the north-west of Regensburg. Most recent investigations into its history showed that the oldest parts date back to 1278. The castle was altered or enlarged at later periods (1325-50, around 1419, in the 16th century, around 1721, and in the 19th century). The imposing brick stair tower was added in the 16th century. Due to its slight strategic importance the castle has never been destroyed in its 700 years of history.
For centuries mediaeval Wolfsegg Castle was the seat of tenants (i.e. estate officials from the lower ranks of nobility, German 'Ministerialen', cf. p. 5 ). It belonged to various aristocratic families, beginning with that of Wolf von Schönleiten, who presumably built and named Wolfsegg, and including the Lichteneckers, Laaberers, von Ecks, Thumers, Götzengriens and Silbermanns, and finally the Oberndorfers.
In 1886 the latter gave the partially ruined castle to the local council. Until 1933 the buildings were first used as a school and living quarters for the teachers, and later as an accommodation for poor families.
In 1933 Georg Rauchenberger from Regensburg bought the residential tract and the courtyard, which were in a semi-ruined state, and saved them from further decay at great personal sacrifice. The other buildings on the premises are now either in private hand or church property.
In 1970 a trust was founded by Georg Rauchenberger. It is now responsible for the upkeep of castle and courtyard, a place of great architectural and historical importance.
From 1986 to 1989 the buildings were completely renovated, and a permanent exhibition was prepared. From 2017 to 2019 the exhibition was completely revised. With the help of authentic material it tries to paint an unvarnished picture of life in a castle in the Upper Palatinate, a life full of hardship and privation for the tenant, his family and the attendants.
A TOUR OF WOLFSEGG CASTLE
THE COURTYARD / GROUND FLOOR
The castle gate shows a unique door lock. The lock bar may be blocked by another bar in the cellar wall.
Excavations showed that the courtyard was filled with household refuse. During renovation a special classroom was built on the foundation walls of a former kitchen adjoining another building. In it special lessons are held for visiting schoolclasses.
Every summer the stage and the terraces are used for cultural performances of all kinds.
Room 01 / Cellar
This room formerly was a storage room and now contains an introduction to castles in the vicinity of Regensburg and to Wolfsegg Castle in particular.
The display next to the door illustrates the various phases in the construction of Wolfsegg Castle (13th to 20th century).
The two copies of memorials shows owners of the castle in their armour and weaponry.
Room 02 / North tower
The room in the north tower shows a short summary of proprietary rights of a medieval castle.
Room 03 / Lower cellar (Cave Museum)
Beneath Wolfsegg Castle there lies an extensive system of caves; its proportions are shown on a plan and in a model. The bones of animals and examples of mediaeval household refuse – all found in the caves – are displayed on the gallery. A life-size model shows a complete set of equipment of a cave-explorer and a media station enables a virtual exploration of the cave.
Room 05 / Stair tower
The upper stories of the castle can be reached via the 16th century stair tower in the courtyard. The tower holds a chimney which allowed smut and smoke of candles to escape. These candles were lit in darker periods to illuminate the stairs.
Room 07 / Parlour
This was the only room that could be heated, by means of a tiled stove; for this reason it was used as the representative living-room of the tenant's family. Here the family members ate, slept and worked. Later the school-room and the teacher's living room was situated here.
Room 08 / Ante-Room
The panels give information on mediaeval economy: mediaeval coinage (Regensburg and Amberg pennies), the feudal system and agriculture.
The feudal system made the king the apex of a hierarchy of lords and vassals, and landlords and tenants. The lord-vassal relation ship was personal (allegiance), and involved military service and various duties in return for landholding (i.e. a fief or feudal tenure). The tenants-in-chief held their lands directly from the king and swore to assist him with contingents of knights. These knights rendered military assistance to the tenants-in-chief in return for lands. The German kings tried to reduce the influence of the higher nobility. They had reliable men from their own estates educated to take over duties as administrative or court officials, later as warriors, too. Within a few generations these estate officials ('Ministerialen') rose from serf to lower nobility, kept the estate as fief and owned a castle as was the case with hereditary nobility.
Especially noteworthy are a display of foodstuffs typical of the Middle Ages, and the Gothic doorway of this room and its square window niches, both dating from the 15th century.
Room 09 / Kitchen
The kitchen was built in here in the 17th century possibly because of its ancient tiled floor. Its original location is unknown.
Cooking was done in a huge open fireplace. Mechanical spits (as that to be seen) came into use in the 16th century. Further items on display: a cupboard made of pinewood (mid-17th century), a case containing crockery, a holder for a chip of pinewood, a primitive means of lighting rooms, and two waffle-irons.
A main task of mediaeval housekeeping was also preserving various kinds of food for the winter.
Room 10 / Garderobe (Latrine)
The latrine shaft is leading down into the open, i.e. the outer wall. This latrine could have had another function: in case of conquest and if it was the last refuge it could be defended by only one warrior in the corridor while the rest of the inhabitants tried to escape by abseiling through the window. On the other hand it was not unknown for a castle to be taken by soldiers intrepid enough to climb the shaft and risk the consequences.
Room 12 / Side chamber
This room is used for changing exhibitions.
Room 13 / Chamber
This room is dedicated to the topic women at the castle. Running the household and bringing up the children were two most important duties among many others for a noblewoman.
This room owns a certain notoriety: it is said to be the place where a noblewoman was murdered by her husband for alleged infidelity. Hence she has become the "White Lady" – an apparition that a number of persons have witnessed to turn up; several mediums say they can locate this very room by its gloom as the "White Lady's" of Wolfsegg Castle. Historical sources tell us that something terrible happened at the end of the 15th century, but there hasn't been any scientific proof of this apparition so far.
Room 14 / The Knight’s Hall
This room seems to have been used on important occasions (receptions, meetings, balls) because it is decorated with what remains of a late Gothic vine ornament mural.
The exhibition focuses on various aspects of knightly life: courtly behavior, hunting, tournaments and also war.
The displayed armour and weapons are of the type used in tournaments, at war as well as for hunting.
Room 15 / Tower chamber (Rauchenberger memorial room)
Georg Rauchenberger (1895-1973) was the last private owner of Wolfsegg Castle. He was a common man, bought the property in 1933 and saved it from complete ruin at great personal expense.
He founded the trust (Kuratorium Burg Wolfsegg e.V.) in 1970 that is now owner of the castle and has taken responsibility for the upkeep.
This room is dedicated to his memory.
- Wolfsegg Castle – a short guide in english, second edition 1997
- Burgzeitung, MZ, Regensburg 1989
- Hans-Uwe Rump, Ritterliches Leben auf Burg Wolfsegg, Regensburg 1990
english text: adapted and emendated by Manfred Schön, Andreas Schenkel and Wolfgang Söllner, 2023
REGULAR OPENING HOURS & FEES
The castle and the museum are normally open:
Saturday, Sunday and Bavarian Public Holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May, 1st to October, 3rd.
Adults: 4,00 € per person
Children (to 14 years of age): 2,00 €
Family Ticket (2 Adults and up to 3 Children): 10,00 €
Group Tours of 8 or more persons: the per person entry fee plus a 30,00 € Tour Fee for the Group. Group Tours need to be arranged in advance by using our Contact Form under "Contact Us".
Please be aware that Wolfsegg Castle has been built on a moderately high stone outcropping and can only be entered after negotiating numerous steps and a sharp incline on foot! Persons with an Orthopedic Handicap will most likely be unable to enter the Castle. Currently there are no special facilities for the Handicapped available within the Castle itself. If you have any doubts or concerns please contact us for more information before coming.
HOW TO REACH THE CASTLE
Coming by Car: program your Navigational device with either GPS coordinates N 49.10648, O 11.97668 or "Wolfsegg and Zip code 93195". When you`ve reached Wolfsegg you will immediately see the Castle and just need to follow the signs for the Castle Parking (Burg Parkplatz) located on the south side of the Castle. The GPS coordinates will take you directly to the Castle Parking lot.
Coming by RVV Public Transport (Bus): Bus line 14 leaves regularly from the Regensburg Train Station and stops in Wolfsegg. Be sure to leave the Bus at the "Ortsmitte" stop in Wolfsegg.
In both cases, go by foot following the signs "zur Burg" to reach the Castle entrance which is located on the south side of the Castle.
Please use the contact form for obtaining information concerning Guided Tours, Weddings, Planned Events, or anything else you may wish to know. We shall do our best to get back to you in a timely manner.