Ruin to visit Birkenfels Castle

On the hills of Ottrott, in the heart of the Obernai forest, between white fir trees, maple trees and sessile oaks, the impressive remains of this small castle are thought-provoking.


Built illegally around 1260, at the time of the Great Interregnum (period when there was no emperor), it reflects the power struggles between its probable builder, Albrecht Wissebeger, Burgomaster of Strasbourg and enfeoffed to the bishop of this city, and the supporters of the Emperor. The latter finally won and Rodolphe de Habsbourg entrusted it from 1289 to Burkhard Beger whose family would keep it until 1532. The castle, ruined after the Thirty Years’ War, was no longer inhabited beyond the 1550s. Today it is owned by the town of Obernai.


Having no strategic value, the construction of Birkenfels Castle can only be explained initially by the desire of the Beger Family to secure its much desired membership of the nobility in return for the annual payment of a pound of wax to the city of Obernai. Its last offspring died in a duel in 1532.

Key points

Its unfinished pentagonal-shaped keep, its impressive main residential chamber over three levels with loopholes in niches and large bays with multiple windows set into it; the closeness to Kagenfels Castle, accessible in forty minutes on foot by following the Fortified Castles’ Trail.

Practical informations


67530 Ottrott

From the car park located on the RN426 connecting Mont Sainte-Odile to Hohwald, follow the blue rings to the forest path then the yellow crosses which lead to the ruin, also indicated by the signs for the Fortified Castles’ Trail of Alsace.
Walk time from car park
20 min
Nearest tourism office
Office de tourisme d'Obernai
Place du Beffroi, Obernai - 03 88 95 64 13 - Facebook @VisitObernai
Conservation association
Association pour la Conservation du Patrimoine Obernois
Facebook : @ Obernai ACPO - Association pour la Conservation du Patrimoine Obernois
GPS coordinates
Lat.: 48.42960231 - Long.: 7.38418201


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