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Zähringen castle around 1500
|Elevation||478 m (1,568 ft)|
|Parent range||Black Forest|
The ruins of Zähringen castle is what remains of the ancestral seat of the Zähringer. It is one of several castles and towns that the Zähringens built in South Germany and Switzerland (including: Freiburg i. Breisgau, Villingen, Neuenburg, Fribourg-Freiburg i. Üechtland, Bern, Thun, Rheinfelden, Murten)
In the fourth century, during the migration period, the upper part of the northwestern spur of the Roßkopf was flattened so that it was suited for a settlement. Alemannic chiefs dwelt there with their folk until it was abandoned at the end of the fifth century.
The name Zähringen was actually mentioned for the first time in records dating back to the time shortly after the turn of the first millennium. However, it is not clear without ambiguity whether they refer already to a fortification on the hilltop or to the village, the present day suburb of Freiburg.
The first definite mention of the castle was in 1128 in the "Rotulus Sanpetrinus", a parchment roll issued in the nearby abbey of St, Peter. That document was written in Latin and contains the passage "apud castrum Zaringen" (castrum is the Latin word for castle).
Berthold II moved out of this castle to Freiburg Castle on the Schlossberg of Freiburg. He had ordered the construction of that new castle, because he considered that location to be more advantageous both from commercial and strategical perspectives.
Later, between 1275 and 1281, in the wake of controversies between the Empire and the counts of Urach regarding territorial possessions, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt.
The castle was definitely destroyed during the German Peasants' War in 1525.
What is still intact is a large round tower that was built in the 13th century. It has an observation deck that is surrounded by merlons. On the castle hill there is also a restaurant which provides diners with a view of the valley.
The area is accessible by car only from Zähringen following the Pochgasse.