The Kaiserpfalz Gelnhausen is a former imperial
palace in Germany, 45 km away from Frankfurt.
Gelnhausen Palace Description
Gelnhausen Palace was founded by Frederick I
Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor, who apparently planned it as part of a gradual expansion of his
ancestral Hohenstaufen lands.
Situated on an island in the River Kinzig, the palace is a fortress
protected by water. Next to the palace Frederick founded a new town with a regular street plan
and two markets on the great Frankfurt–Leipzig trade route.
The Imperial Palace of Gelnhausen seems to be the
earliest building on the site. Dendrochronological tests have now provided a date of 1182 for
one of the foundation piles driven in at the gateway of Gelnhausen Palace. Since the palace
rests on approximately 18,000 to 20,000 such piles, which would have taken 15 to 20 years to
drive in, this provides a relative date of the castle’s foundation year.
Gelnhausen Castle fell into decay from the 14th
century because of disturbances in its foundations, and it has been a ruin for centuries.
Nevertheless, almost all the plan is discernible: a surrounding wall of rusticated masonry, a
gateway divided into two aisles, each of three bays, with the palace chapel above, a tower
built of rusticated masonry connected to the gate-house behind the defensive wall, and the main
living quarters set at an angle of 110 degrees to the gate-house .
Excavations made around 1930 revealed the foundations of a building
adjoining the living quarters to the east, as well as those of a thick-walled round tower and
of the castle guards’ houses.
Visit Gelnhausen Palace
You can reach the town of Gelhausen by following the A66 motorway. The
Gelnhausen Castle is in ruins but they are pretty well preserved.
63571 Gelnhausen, Germany
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