Haldenstein castle ruins
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The Chur city bus, line no. 2 from Chur rail station with destination Obere Au, takes you to the starting point of this historic hike. At Obere Au, where the municipal sports facilities with swimming pool and barbecue area are also located, you cross a sparse copse, past the sand tennis courts to CampAu. The Plessur flows into the Rhine here. Now cross the Plessur bridge and continue along the right bank of the Rhine to the Pardisla bridge, where you finally cross the Rhine. Now follow the left bank of the Rhine until a path branches off to the left towards Haldenstein Dorfa. Continue through the upper village and follow the road up to Haldenstein Ruin.
During the 12th century, the lords of Lichtenstein, mentioned in documents in 1180, split into two lines. The Lichtenstein branch retained the castle of the same name, while the Haldensteins, first mentioned in 1260, built their ancestral seat above the village of Haldenstein. After the extinction of the Lichtenstein branch, their property passed to the Haldensteins. The family died out at the end of the 14th century. From 1381 onwards, there were several changes of ownership. At the beginning of the 16th century, the castle was owned by Conradin von Marmals. After the death of Jakob von Marmals, the dominion and Haldenstein Castle passed to the French envoy, J.J. von Castion, the second husband of Jakob's widow. He had the new castle built in the village in 1542. Haldenstein Castle was still inhabited until 1695. In 1567 Gregor von Hohenbalken bought up the lordship, which developed into a sovereign dwarf state thanks to a letter of protection from the three confederations. Thereafter several changes of ownership. On 24 Dec. 1769, the south wall of the palace collapsed. After further earthquakes, in 1771 and 1787, other parts of the building collapsed. In 1803, the dominion lost its independence and was united with Graubünden.The Haldenstein ruins are difficult to access. The interior of the castle can be reached via the original access, fragments of which have been preserved (narrow rock band along the vertically sloping rock edge). Alternatively, there is a narrow window embrasure through which you can pull yourself through lying on your back.
>> Descend again briefly and then straight up until you reach the turnoff to the left to the Grottenstein ruins.
As the name suggests, Grottenstein is a grotto castle. It exploits a natural cave under a prominent rocky outcrop. Water still seeps out of the rock in the cave today. This water deposit could have been the reason for the use of the rock overhang. The grotto castles are well protected from the weather by their location under the natural rock canopy. The need for renovation at Haldenstein's Grottenstein Castle is correspondingly low.
>> Return the same way and walk up a short distance along the road, then turn right and follow the path to the Lichtenstein ruins.
The ruins of Lichtenstein Castle are dominated by the main façade, which is visible from afar and set against the outermost edge of the abruptly sloping rock face. The preserved silhouette is reminiscent of a reclining cat with erect ears, hence the popular name "Katzenburg" (cat castle). The steady decay of the Lichtenstein ruin can be traced in historical illustrations. The stucco depiction from 1780 from the banqueting hall of the castle shows, in addition to the tower that still exists today in the northeast, an equally high part of the building in the southwest. The courtyard wall in the north-east still has intact battlements.
>> Return the same way and, after branching off into the lower road, shortly afterwards follow the hiking trail to the left in the direction of Haldenstein and on to Haldenstein Castle.
Haldenstein Castle is located on the southern edge of the village. It was built in the early 16th century on the site of an older stone house and was extended and sumptuously furnished by Johann Jacob von Castion in 1544-48; among other things, it has rich panelling that was sold abroad in the 1880s and can now be admired in Köpenick Castle near Berlin. In 1703, the castle came into the possession of the von Salis family. In 1731, Hubert von Salis added a storey, but it was largely destroyed by fire in 1732 and restored in 1732/33. From 1763-1771, the northern part of the castle housed an important seminary with up to 100 students at times, which was later moved to Marschlins Castle near Igis. In 1832, the castle passed to the Salis-Soglio family, who had it rebuilt around 1900. In 1922 it came into the possession of the Batänjer family and has been the property of a foundation since 1966. In 1986-1999 the castle was restored; today it serves as the headquarters of the Haldenstein municipal administration and the Graubünden Archaeological Service. Its rooms are made available by the foundation on a rental basis for a wide variety of events.
>> Way back to Chur
From the castle, follow the stairs down and along Bahnhofstrasse and over the Rhine bridge towards the Haldenstein-Rheinbrücke bus stop. Just above is the Haldenstein railway station. By train or bus you can get back to the city centre of Chur.
Responsible for this content: Chur Tourism.