We can distinguish between the main castle and the outer bailey. The entrance to the latter is an 8.2 metre long archway with a niche that was used both as living quarters for the gatekeeper and as a prison. The dungeon, a tower which held prisoners and martyrs, has been preserved. The 2.5 metre thick walls rest directly on the rocks of the cliff. The tower is 22 metres high, and on the inside is a tunnel vault with an opening through which prisoners were lowered. The actual door to the tower can be made out at a height of 9 metres.
The main castle is entered through a gateway 10.4 metres long and 2.8 metres wide, with walls 3 metres thick. The only living rooms to have been preserved are on the south side, and today these contain the restaurant and the publican’s accommodation. The residential quarters of the castle were reconstructed in good time for the castle’s jubilee in 1998, and today are used as a cultural centre.
The Jungfernturm (maiden’s tower) on the southern side of these earlier rooms has windows and machicolations for defensive purposes. The most splendid part of the castle is the 36 metre high keep, which served as a watchtower and as accommodation. This has 5 floors, the first of which is filled with rubble. The walls are 2.5 metres thick up to the third storey and 1.5 metres thick above this, so that there is a battlement parapet 1 metre wide.
The view from the large keep impresses many visitors. The original velocipede made by the master forester Karl Freiherr von Drais, which used to be here and was discovered in 1817 in Mannheim, is now once again in its original place in the main hall of Eckartsburg Castle. Of further interest for visitors are the diorama housed in the keep and a smaller museum. Ekkehard I of Meißen had Eckartsburg Castle built in 998 to safeguard his kingdom and protect the trading routes. The large tower house nowadays houses a diorama, whose 6,000 tin figures show the double battle of Jena and Auerstedt (14 October 1806).
Daily from 10 a.m.
Sat/Sun from 11 a.m.
By arrangement only
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