Katzenstein Castle is one of the oldest remaining Hohenstaufen castles in Germany. It is located in a borough, named after the castle, in Dischingen in the Heidenheim district of Baden-Württemberg. The castle is open to visitors and contains several dining rooms as well as hotel rooms.
The castle is located in a side valley of the river Egua, near the old Roman road Faimingen–Oberdorf bei Bopfingen (also known as the Frankensträßle or Frankish Avenue). The castle is situated about 538 m above sea level.
In 1099 the Lords von Cassenstein were first mentioned. The family was a Ministerialis or unfree knight family in the service of the Graf (or Count) von Dillingen. In 1262 Edlen von Hürnheim was listed as the owner of the castle von Katzenstein when it was sold by Hermann von Hürnheim-Katzenstein.
Ownership changed again in 1354 when the Graf von Oettingen acquired the castle. He quickly pawned the castle on the Graf von Helfenstein, who gave the castle to Berthold von Westerstetten in 1382. In 1572 the Katzenstein line wiped out the Westerstetten line. The inheritance of the Westerstetten family was sold again to the von Oettingen family.
Since 1939 the castle has been privately owned.
In 1973 the St Laurentius chapel was opened and cleaning began. Under the dirt and partially completed Baroque paintings, impressive Mediaeval paintings were discovered. The fresco paintings date from 1250 to 1280 and show the transition from Romanesque art to early Gothic art.
- (German) Max Müller, Gerhard Taddey (Hrsg.): Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands, Band Baden-Württemberg. Kröner, Stuttgart 2. Aufl. 1980. ISBN 3-520-27602-X
- (German) Michael-Nikolaus-Nomidis Walter, Burgverwalter Burg Katzenstein: Geschichte und Beschreibung der Burg Katzenstein. MissionsDruckerei&Verlag Mariannhill, Reimlingen
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