No sleeping beauty: Castle preservation society offers some tender loving care to a remarkable gem
Ancient walls exude charm. This is especially true of the ruins of Steinhart castle, which stand gracefully atop a hill near Steinhart in the district of Hainsfarth in Bavaria, Germany. Built in the 12th century and destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, there are still substantial remains of the wall which once surrounded the rectangular castle complex and fortress. The society founded in 1996 for the preservation of Burgruine Steinhart – as the ruins are known locally – ensures that this fortress is kept very much alive. Restorative stonework, taking scythes to the grass and clearing rubbish – much of the work done today is no different to that undertaken by early Steinhart occupants – the “Späten of Steinhart”. While there are unfortunately no records to prove whether or not the noble family who once owned this castle were fond of throwing a party or two, there can be no doubt that the new “tenants” know how to bring the ruins to life: With festivals and celebrations!
Ulrich Reuter, who works at OeTTINGER Brewery, is one of the preservation society’s 100 or so members who have devoted themselves to conserving the castle. He has been involved with the association since 2001, but was drawn to the ruins during his childhood and youth too. Ulrich explains his never-ending fascination with this mystical place: “The history of the nearby village is very close to my heart. The main reason I got involved in preserving the castle is so that the ruins can also be enjoyed by my children and future generations.” The association does much to make sure that this purpose is achieved: It regularly makes sure that the ruins are safe, nurtures the surrounding area and transforms the ruins into a meeting place where all kinds of events take place, including festivals, Church services and cultural events. And because there are still so many unanswered questions about the history of the castle ruins and village of Steinhart, the preservation society is currently planning to produce a chronology of the Steinhart area and of the families who once lived there.
Helping hands are one thing, the financial means to buy the necessary tools are another altogether. Ulrich Reuter recently received EUR 1,000 from his employer in recognition of his voluntary work in order to support the preservation society.
Other organizations also have cause for celebration thanks to donations in recognition of the voluntary work carried out by OeTTINGER employees: Thomas Simon received EUR 750 for the organization “Kinder wollen leben, spielen, lachen!” (Children want to live, play and laugh!), while Günther Walter was the recipient of EUR 750 on behalf of FFW Reichenbach, a voluntary fire brigade service.