Spessart. Mespelbrunn castle

Last Updated on 06/03/2023

I don’t know too many German films. But “The Spessart Inn ” and “The Haunted Castle” are familiar even to me.

Spessart are wooded mountains, quite high in places, located between the A3 and Main and further beyond the A3 towards Fulda. Through the Main to the south, the mountains continue, but are already called Odenwald. And Odenwald then goes to the Black Forest. And it turns out such an extended mountainous-wooded strip up to Switzerland.

The name Spessart in its original form meant “woodpecker mountainous forest”.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Castle Road. 3. From Sinsheim to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Castle Road. 2. Neckar valley cycle route. From Zwingenberg to Bad Wimpfen
Franconian Switzerland and Upper Palatinate. Map of attraction


Spessart was advertised to us for a long time, but it took us a long time to get ready for it. The film used Mespelbrunn Castle – this is the main point of attraction for tourists. I have not found any other attractive points of a similar level in the Spessart mountains. Much of it is focused on the Main. Therefore, it was surprising to see a fairly developed infrastructure in the mountains. There are many very touristy looking hotels, painted houses like in the Alps.

Spessart and Main attractions on the map.

Just as 19th century German romantics served as tourist managers for the Lorelei Valley, so Wilhelm Hauff did his best for Spessart. However few people remember Hauff in connection with Spessart. But the film based on his short story really glorified the region.

Hauff wrote a small frame novella in which several travelers walk through Spessart, famous for their robbers, and decide to spend the night in a tavern in the center of the forest. As they quickly realize, the tavern serves as a cover for the robbers and a place where they can actually be robbed. So they decide not to sleep and tell stories instead.

This is followed by four tales, the most famous of which is “The Cold Heart”. After that, the Countess arrives at the hotel. And after her the robbers – they want to get a ransom for her. One of the travelers, a young jeweler, offers to exchange himself for a countess. Thanks to this, she can run and return home. The rest find themselves in the dungeon of the bandits, from where they escape safely.

In the film, the Countess is turned into the Count’s daughter, who is given in marriage for money. And the leader of the robbers turns out to be practically Robin Hood. The countess’s father, a scoundrel, did not pay his father … The end is not tragic – the couple runs safely after all the dressing up and down, the races and the singing of songs.

How to get to Mespelbrunn

Now let’s get down to reality.

The forest is mountainous, there are only two main roads, winding and sometimes narrow, but not steep. One goes from A3 to Miltenberg, the other cuts off a piece of A3 and leads to Aschaffenburg. From the autobahn to Mespelbrunn it takes about 10 minutes, from the Main – 20 minutes.
Public transport – bus 40 from Aschaffenburg.

The valley of the river leading to the Main is very densely built up along the road. Therefore, it is difficult to believe in robbers. But at the entrances from the side of the autobahn, a beech-oak forest, mountains of red sandstone, which is common in these places, and in some places steep slopes create a suitable atmosphere.

Castle Mespelbrunn

The land for the construction of the estate was granted by the archbishop of Aschaffenburg to his knight, the chief forester Echter in the middle of the 15th century. The place was wild, with Hussites and robbers really roaming there. Therefore, the archbishop did not lose anything at all from his gift, but only gained. Echter’s son built a small fortified castle on the site of an ordinary house. Which was significantly rebuilt by descendants in the middle of the 16th century and acquired the appearance of a Renaissance castle on the water.

Quite a typical story, but it is not typical that the castle has practically preserved its original appearance. This count’s family reached its peak precisely in the 16th century, during the rebuilding of the castle. The son of the then owner became the prince-archbishop of Würzburg, re-founded the university there, built many characteristic churches and expanded the Marienberg fortress.

Most of the members of the clan were only of various levels city officials, burgomasters and councilors. They did not have money for the next restructuring, but they could maintain it in the desired state. And the wars did not touch the castle because of its location – who needs to climb into such a wilderness.

Folgen Sie mir

The count family still uses half of the castle. The male line was interrupted in the 17th century. But on the female line, this is the same family. They were allowed to add the coat of arms and surname to the new surname von Ingelheim.

In the part that is shown in the warm season, you can see pictures and things that are not too valuable (from the point of view of seeing). Mostly portraits of members of the clan, some old cabinets and tables. An interesting dining room with a small amount of weapons and a porcelain study room. In total, they show one room on the first floor and four rooms on the second – a building to the left of the tower. Taking pictures is not allowed.

I would say that it is not necessary go inside. But you can get closer to the castle only by paying for the entrance and excursion. .

Main entrance. Above him is a married couple – the “remodelers” of the castle and the parents of that famous archbishop. The door bell is still functional, but they are not allowed to ring.

The tower houses a guest room, a library and an archive, and these picturesque staircases are used by the owners.

In general, Mespelbrunn is recommended to visit “along the way”, although it is not so easy to plan a suitable way to go there.

A map of the region’s attractions, which will help choose the way, is here.

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