When Goethe wrote his ballad of Faithful Eckart, he was sitting waiting for the next stagecoach right in front of the romantic ruins of Eckartsburg Castle. And it is no doubt the very special atmosphere of the ruins that have drawn many couples here to get married ever since. After all, there can hardly be anything more romantic than closing the knot under an archway that is 1,000 years old and apparently indestructible! The finishing touch comes in the form of the castle’s lovely location on a ridge high above Eckartsberga.
From the 36-metre-high keep, the landgraves of Thuringia once had a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Did Anne of Austria, who was banished to Eckartsburg Castle in 1457 by her husband Duke William III, enjoy this view from the “Jungfernturm” tower, which has survived to this day? Nobody knows. One thing that is certain, however, is that momentous decisions have been made here over the centuries, and numerous modifications undertaken. Towards the end of the 19th century, the building stopped being put to agricultural use; it had in any case only been used to store cereal crops for many years. The castle became increasingly dilapidated; it was only thanks to its popularity that steps were taken to save it in the 20th century.
Today, the ruin and its restaurant are a popular destination for day trips on the southern part of the Romanesque Route. The restored central building holds an atmospheric multi-purpose room that is used as a registry office.