Dilsberg: a thousand years old walled city!

Dislberg, German

Dilsberg celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 2008!
It is a beautiful little medieval town that is surrounded by a city-wall.
You can go to it by bus, by car or even by walk. You can also get a glimpse of it from a boat on the Neckar river.

Neckar River Valle

The Castle

What is very interesting about Dilsberg is its old castle on the top of the hill, overlooking the valley and the Neckar river. It is not surprising to learn that this castle played an important role during the 30 years' war and that it survived the French troops of Mélac while Heidelberg, palace and town, were being destroyed.

It also repelled the advance of the French revolutionary army in 1799.

Unfortunately, most of it was torned down in 1820's and only some exterior walls and staircases still exist, but the view of the valley from up there is incredible!

Dilsberg Castle

There is also some animation and some vendors in the castle walls in summer.

Dilsberg Castle

The well

Another interesting feature of the castle is its old well. This well was first dug out around 1150AD to provide fresh water to the castle. This well must have been around 21 or 22 meters (about 70 to 80 feet) deep at first but got a lot deeper later on as the castle grew bigger (around 1650AD) and even supported a garrison. It is now about 40 meters (130 feet) deep.

One of the major problem, while building this very deep well into the sandstone on which the castel is built, was the lack of oxygen. This is why a gallery was also built, to be use for ventilation. However, because the gallery was only at a depth of 30 meters (100 feet) it seems that the ventilation was not sufficient and that a fire broke out in it resulting afterward in a better ventilation.

Dilsberg well

Once the well shaft was finished, the gallery was filled in and it remains in the collective mind as a kind of legend: a secret passage leading from the castle of Dislberg to a castle in Neckarsteinach, a passage under the Neckar river.

Dilsberg Well Entrance

We have an American-German by the name of Fritz von Briesen to thanks for its reopening in 1926. In fact, it seems that it is after reading Mark Twain's "A Tramp abroad" that von Briesen decided to do some research about this secret passage and embarked on an adventure from New York to Dilsberg to find it.

Once in the castle, he had himself lowered down into the
wells and found the entrance of the gallery. We can now walk into the gallery by an entrance in the Höllenberg forest area.

The well itself was also partially filled in when the castle was partially destroyed in 1820, but the community clean it up and re-used it in 1870.

Dilsberg Walls

Rose von Dilsberg

Another legend that deals with the castle is the Rose of Dilsberg. Following that legend, Rosamunde (Rose), the daughter of the Count of Lauffen, had two suitors: Ulrich of Steinach (from accross the river in Neckarsteinach) and Wolf of Hirschhorn (a knight from up the river).

And it so happened that Rose felt in love with Wolf and thus, rejected
Ulrich. Ulrich was so upset by this that he swore to take revenge for this affront and on the day of the wedding, when Wolf was on his way to the town, he stabbed him from behind and killed him.

Rose was so distraught by the news of her lover's death that she threw
herself from the top of the castle's walls.Since then, a rosebush is supposed to be growing at the foot of the wall where her body had fallen.

Dilsberg Village

Of course many poets wrote about her romantic saga and plays were also written and performed. A reenaction of the play "Rose von Dilsberg" was performed in 2008 for the 1000th anniversary of the town and is still part of the local cultural life of the town.

Dilsberg Street

Restaurants and Pensions

There are a few little Cafes and restaurants in Dilsberg and also a few "Pensions" where you can rest. Some of these Pensions also offer complete meals on top of the regular breakfast.

A little word about the "regular German" breakfast: we usually ate so much during these breakfast that we can barely eat anything at lunch time! They usually have an assortment of cold meats, jams, bread, eggs, cheese, coffee, tea, juice, etc. Nothing like the French or the Italian breaky!

Dilsberg Linden of Peace

Linden tree of Peace

There is also a beautiful old Linden tree called the "Friedenslinde"(Peace Linden) and that was planted in 1878 by the Veterans' Association to honour the veterans of the war 1870-71:
"Zur Ehre der Kriegsteilnehmer aus Dilsberg wurde diese Linde um 1878 vom damaligen Kriegerverein gepflanzt."

Dilsberg Entrance

Go back from Dilsberg to Home

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