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© 2013 Mary-Elizabeth Kadlub
Captured in black and white as I approached the Ehrenberg Castle ruins.
“Just a mile outside of Reutte is the Ehrenberg Castle Ensemble — the brooding ruins of four castles that once made up the largest fort in Tirol (built for defense against the Bavarians). Ehrenberg provides a great contrast to King Ludwig’s “modern” castles and a super opportunity to let your imagination off its leash.
The complex has four parts: the fortified Klause toll both on the valley floor, the oldest castle on the first hill above (Ehrenberg), a mighty and more modern castle high above (Schlosskopf, built in the age when cannon positioned there made the original castle vulnerable), and a smaller fourth castle across the valley (Fort Claudia, an hour’s hike away). All four were a fortified complex once connected by walls. Signs posted throughout the castle complex help visitors find their way and explain some background on the region’s history, geology, geography, culture, flora, and fauna. (While the castles are free and open all the time, the museum and multimedia show at the fort’s parking lot charge admission.)
Historians estimate that about 10,000 tons of precious salt passed through this valley (along the route of Rome’s Via Claudia) each year in medieval times, so it’s no wonder the locals built this complex of fortresses and castles. Beginning in the 14th century, the Klause Valley Fort controlled traffic and levied tolls on all who passed. Today, these scant remains hold a museum and a theater with a multimedia show.
Ehrenberg, a 13th-century rock pile, provides a super opportunity to let your imagination off its leash. Hike up 30 minutes from the parking lot of the Klause Valley Fort Museum for a great view from your own private ruins. Ehrenberg (which means “Mountain of Honor”) was the first castle here, built in 1296. Thirteenth-century castles were designed to stand boastfully tall. With the advent of gunpowder, castles dug in.
From Ehrenberg, you can hike up another 30 minutes to the mighty Schlosskopf (“Castle Head”). When the Bavarians captured Ehrenberg in 1703, the Tiroleans climbed up to the bluff above it to rain cannonballs down on their former fortress. In 1740, a mighty new castle — designed to defend against modern artillery — was built on this sky-high strategic location. By the end of the 20th century, the castle was completely overgrown with trees — you literally couldn’t see it from Reutte. But today the trees are shaved away, and the castle has been excavated.
The European Union is helping fund the project because it promotes the heritage of a multinational region — Tirol — rather than a country."
Excerpted from http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/eur....
Taken at Ehrenberg Castle Ruins, Reutte, Austria.
April 13, 2013
Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS – Digital Elph