Historical marker at the site where the Heimburg Castle once stood

Archaeological Monument Heimburg

This mound where the Heimburg castle once stood is also known as the Altenburg. Archaeological research tells us that first fortifications were most probably built during the tenth century. They were intended to secure the access to the metal mining area which was of paramount importance to German kings and emperors. In the Middle Ages, important connections from the north (Halberstadt / Magdeburg, from the palatinates Derenberg / Wera and from Braunschweig / Lüneburg) ran through Heimburg and the Harz Mountains south. Further stations were the palatinate Bodfeld, the palatinates Nordhausen or Pöhlde and finally then the long runs to Southern Germany and Italy. Numerous remnants of these can still be seen today and bespeak the importance of this traffic hub.

Until approximately 1125, The Heimburg was a royal castle. It was in the hands of the Salier kings, and King Heinrich IV in particular fortified it against the populace of the day. It was during the uprising of the Saxons, that in 1073 the oppressed populations took the castle after an extended fight. After the battle of Welfesholz near Mansfeld the castle again was destroyed in 1115. Later on it got into the possession of emperor Lothar von Suplingenburg and it was then that the castle was bestowed upon the noble gentlemen of Heimburg.

During the controversy between the dynasties of Staufer and Welfes concerning the rights to the throne, the Heimburg was transferred to emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa. In 1181, however, the castle again became a Welfish possession and remained with the von Heimburg family until 1267. Since the year, the Heimburg has then been in the possession of the Counts of Regenstein and remained with the Regensteins until 1599. They resided here and identified a branch of their family with Heimburg.

The etching that Conrad Buno did in 1654 still shows the castle as a rather imposing ruin which was then completely destroyed during the second half of the 19th century. The mound was then converted to a park with a pavilion. From 1891 there exists a plan view of the individual components of the castle.

The final destruction happened in 1988. The then communist regime installed a fortified shelter for observation where once stood the tower. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the castle mound has been made accessible again and a start was made to once again show the remnants that had been heavily grown over.

Author: Heinz A. Behrens
Translation: Anno M. v. Heimburg