February 8, 1847

Detail from Merian's view of the city, 1648. On the right, next to the Walpurgis Church, the landgravial castle.

Alsfeld tears down!Decision to demolish the landgravial castle

On February 8, 1847, all instances (city council, district council, Oberbaudirektion) voted not – as we would wish today – for renovation and restoration, but for demolition of Alsfeld’s Landgericht.

This was of great significance in that the district court was housed in the former landgrave’s castle of Hermann “the Scholar” and thus this historically significant building irretrievably disappeared from the cityscape.

In the eighties of the 14th century, the landgrave had decided to make Alsfeld his residence town and to have a castle built there: a proof of the importance of the town at that time. Three copperplate engravings by Dilich (1605), Merian (1640) and an unknown artist (1648) give us an idea of the approximate appearance of the landgrave’s castle, which had a brick, stone first floor, above which rose two, possibly even three other floors and a high Gothic roof, and was adorned with eight turrets.

After the decision to demolish the building, there were several public tenders for the demolition works, concerning carpentry and masonry. This meant that Alsfeld citizens willing to build who had a need for lumber, sills, purlins, beams, posts, stairs, railings, doors, windows, stones, etc., could buy them directly on site at the building’s demolition site.

So in many an older Alsfeld house today, original building components from the castle that were installed in the mid-19th century can probably still be found. MNic