Originally, the Vaulted Archive served as the office’s archive. It was erected in 1695/1696 between the Gothic Chapel and the bailiff’s offices. Today, the Vaulted Archive and the adjoining chapel accommodate the exhibition »The Messages of the Saints – Carved Sacral Art from Five Centuries«.
Up to now, the silhouette of Mildenstein Castle has been characterized by the prominent residential tower that stands at the heart of the castle. It was erected in the mid-12th century under Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as a symbol of his power. At a diameter of 14 meters, a wall thickness of four and a half meters and a height of 32 meters, it is one of the mightiest towers in Saxony.
The 60-m-deep well that was situated in the inner bailey near the eastern battlement was backfilled to be finally roofed over by a vault in 1810. It probably originated from the early 14th century. Supplementary to the well and probably at the same time, a water pipe system was installed for supplying the castle with water.
The castle chapel was built around 1100 under Wiprecht von Groitzsch as a single-story stone building with a wooden beam ceiling and a saddle roof. Only the foundation walls of this oldest sacral building in Middle Saxony have been preserved. The chapel was enlarged around 1170 under Frederick Barbarossa. In the bailey, the impressive Romanesque round-arched portal refers to the chapel. The chapel saw further conversion in the course of building measures performed under William I. A Gothic choir was attached then, reaching up to the edge of the rugged castle rock.
Castle gate & Burglehn
The present-day fortification is smaller than the former Staufer imperial castle. The area situated at the entrance to the castle originally used to be the outer bailey. That is where there once were the stables and warehouses for storing supplies as well as buildings for running the estate. Until the end of the 16th century, that area was still called »outer bailey«, but later renamed into »Burglehn«.
Those who visit the castle today will feel that this area does not belong to the castle grounds anymore. Merely the preserved watchtower reminds of the once mighty fortification complex having consisted of numerous towers, walls and moats. The inner bailey can be accessed via a drawbridge and a second castle gate housing the museum cash desk today.
The Hall Building
The Hall Building has emerged from a building that had presumably been started before 1407 already, under Margrave William I. It could not be clarified so far whether there had been a Romanesque predecessor building in the same place.
Today the Hall Building appears to have been strongly influenced by later conversions intruding into the original building structure. While remainders of Gothic masonry belong to the first construction stage, the spiral staircase, some windows and the avant-corps were not built until 1551.
The court parlor, where castle residents used to take their main meals, was on the ground floor originally. It could be heated and was joined to the kitchen by a large chimney. There were two spacious halls – the dining hall and the princes’ hall – on the first upper floor, which were later subdivided in several ways.
Residential building & Mirus Park
The residential building was erected in 1452 as the bailiff’s offices. Today, the former bailiff’s offices and adjoining buildings accommodate the castle administration as well as the historical library of the castle.
The Lower Castle has an 8-m-deep ward with a round tower in front of it. In the early 18th century, smaller residential buildings were set up on both sides of the ward. The first building houses the castle cash desk and museum shop today.
From 1798, the park named after its designer, town councilor Mirus, was laid out on the eastern castle slope as a Romanticist landscape park. The centerpiece of the park is an artificial ruin with a rock tunnel, erected around 1866.
The Pages’ House has a long, largely unexplored construction history. Today’s outer walls were built in large parts in 1384, thereby integrating older structural parts. Architectural-historical investigations allow to assume that there must have been a palace-like predecessor building in the 12th century already. The Pages’ House served the electoral family until the mid-15th century mainly as accommodation when staying here. Later on, it housed parts of the administration of the Leisnig Office.
The keep with the donjon and the inner bailey had originally been enclosed by a ring wall with a battlement on its inside. What can clearly be seen at the previous entrances to the manor and front castle is the original height of the enclosing walls of ten or 13 meters, respectively. Remainders of a fortified tower integrated into the east wall serve as viewpoints today and are called Altan (lit. balcony).
The Lower Castle
The Gate House is of Romanesque origin: its building fabric goes back to the 12th century. Conversions were made at the Gate House in 1416 and 1593. The inner bailey with the keep could be accessed through this gate in past times already.
The Lower Castle unites buildings of different eras of construction. The main building can be traced back to the building activities performed under Margrave William I towards the end of the 14th century. It consists of the south and northwest wing that stand to each other at a right angle. Today, the three knights’ halls on the second floor leave no doubt that the castle had been planned mainly as a representative residence. The so-called granary attic with its unique roof construction spans over the two main wings of the Lower Castle. Both roof trusses date back to 1395/96. The granary attic is deemed a masterpiece of 14th-century carpentry and is regarded to be one of the best preserved of its kind throughout Germany. The Lower Castle accommodates the following areas of the permanent exhibition: »A Symbol of Power Built in Stone« and »Captured – Tortured – Executed« as well as »Leisnig – Ex Officio«.
Burglehn 6 | 04703 Leisnig
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