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Baldenau Castle: the only moated medieval fortress in Hunsrück

Located in the charming valley of the upper Dhron brook, Baldenau Castle was built by the Trier Elector and Archbishop Balduin of Luxemburg around the year 1320. Initially designed as a hunting lodge, it was later on, beginning in 1324, completed to a residential seat through the construction of additional buildings, stables, and barns. The principal Balduin who initiated the building and gave it his name, was born in 1285 as the youngest son of Count Henry VI. of Luxemburg. He studied theology and Canonical Law at Paris and should become one of the most influential politician of the first half of the 14th century. Already with age 22, in 1307, Balduin was elected by the Trier cathedral chapter as Archbishop and Elector, while ordained bishop one year later by the pope. Since then he was one of the seven Electors who constituted the "Council of Electors" and had the exclusive rights since the 13th century to elect the Roman-German King (the 7 electors: the archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier; Count Palatinate, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Brandenburg, King of Bohemia). In one of his first offical acts, Balduin succeeded in the year 1308 in getting his brother Henry VII. elected as Roman-German King.

When approaching Baldenau Castle from what direction soever, one is always impressed by the mighty keep (central tower) with its 25m height and 10m width. Once having entered the inner courtyard, one gets even more impressed by two more characteristics: the keep's wall is 3.5m thick and its original entrance is about 10m above the ground. In consequence, people could enter the keep only over wooden stairs and a gallery from the northern fortification wall. The surrounding moat is 12m wide. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), Baldenau Castle was seriously damaged by Swedish troops, but reconstructed throughout the years 1649-1654. However, only 35 years later, in 1689, the French army devastated the castle in a definite way.

The world-renowned movie director Edgar Reitz stems from nearby Morbach. His well-known movie trilogy "Heimat", a Hunsrück family saga, has become a memorial to the area. It is not surprising then that a key scene in the movie was filmed at Baldenau Castle. In fact, the castle's unique location along with its mystic charm create a perfect setting for great stories. And this has been the case ever since Balduin's time.

vSpacer Baldenau Castle, the only moated medieval fortress in Hunsrück («Idarwald» Forest)

Rosemarie Cordie-Hackenberg: Der Archäologie- und Kulturpark von Belginum und sein archäologisches Museum; Kreis Bernkastel-Wittlich, Jahrbuch 2002
Located near Morbach in the valley of the Dhron, the «Baldenau» was the only moated castle in the Hunsrück region and was built around 1320 by Balduin of Luxembourg. Initially conceived as a hunting lodge, it underwent significant expansion shortly afterwards.

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