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Sitting 757 metres above the Alsace plain, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg had all the necessary assets for a fortress. Its strategic position, quite easy to defend in former times, now provides visitors with an exceptional panoramic view over the Alsace plain, the Vosges Mountains, the Black Forest and even the Alps.
Since its construction in the 12th century, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg has been a constant witness to the European conflicts and rivalries between lords, kings and emperors.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and Haut-Kœnigsbourg’s defences were overrun. Besieged, pillaged then finally burnt to the ground in 1633, the château was left abandoned for two hundred years.
Its ruins were classified as a monument historique in 1862. Three years later, the ruins were purchased by the nearby town of Sélestat. A restoration project was decided on, starting with the consolidation of part of the ruins. In 1882, the architect Charles Winkler drew up an ambitious reconstruction plan which would never be carried out. The Alsace region was annexed to Germany in 1871, and Sélestat offered the still majestic ruins of the château to Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1899. He decided to begin its restoration and, after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg was handed over to the French government and awarded the status of a National Palace.
January, February, November and December: 9:30am - 12 noon, 1pm - 4:30pm
March and October: 9:30am - 5pm
April, May and September: 9:15am - 5:15pm
June, July and August: 9:15am - 6pm
The château is open all year round, except on January 1, May 1 and December 25.