The Castle Complex
The tower castle
The tower castle is the oldest visible building of the castle complex and was erected in about 1080. It was the family home of the lords of Hagen and for about 100 years the seat of the stewards of the imperial private hunting forest of Dreieich.
From the side facing the pond, parts of the cellar and the separation of the floors of the living quarters can still be seen.
The residential tower is one of the largest of its period, with an original height of 25m (5 floors), walls nearly 3m thick and a surface area of 12.5m x 13.2m.
Tightly enclosed within a surrounding wall, it dominated a 30m x 40m island in the middle of the Hengstbachtal swamp.
In about 1180 when the castle complex was enlarged the tower castle was added on to it and from then on used as the second keep instead of a residence.
In 1750 most of the tower castle collapsed and only the 22m west wall still stands today. It is now used as a backdrop to the scenic open air stage.
The keep (the round tower) was built in 1180 when the castle complex was enlarged by the lords of Hagen-Münzenberg.
With a height of roughly 30m and a diameter of 14m it is considered one of the largest keeps to have been built in Germany. It served not only as a status symbol but also as protection of the castle and a shelter for the town’s inhabitants, as well as a storehouse, repository and dungeon.
During the years 1792-1793 the keep was taken down to its current height, with the stones being used elsewhere.
Today the former cellar of the round tower serves as the registry office, a romantic setting where many couples have taken their vows.
The von Hagen-Münzenbergs also erected the palace in about 1180 as a representative residential building. Under the von Falkensteins extensions were made to the east and the south 100 years later. The architectural concept of the palace shows similarities to the Castle Münzenberg in Wetterau, the second castle bearing the name of the von Hagen-Münzenbergs.
Today Romanesque and Gothic construction elements can still be seen, attesting to different rebuilding phases. The entrance is next to the keep, on the west side of the building. On the left behind a door, the remains of a stone staircase tower, used to access the upper floor, can be found. A narrow passage leads to the former kitchen on the right, with a brick oven base and an adjoining pantry. Behind it is the large meeting or dining hall in the centre of the palace, in which the fireplace and column bases can still be seen.
During the years 1792-1793, the outer walls of the compound were broken up and the stones reused. In 1802 the first parts of the walls collapsed.
Underneath the palace is a spacious vaulted cellar which can be rented for private events.
The castle church
The remains of earlier sacral buildings from the 11th century were found at the site of the present castle church.
The church in its present form was built between 1710 and 1718 to replace the earlier church which burnt down in 1669. Anyone who enters the church can read this inscription in the gable over the entrance:
You, O Holy One himself and the protector of sacred sites, let this not be destroyed by fire without reason. For those of you who experienced the destruction of the earlier church, let him spread his protective hand over the new one.
It is unclear whether the inscription is an allusion to the destruction of the old church (Mr Weissbender, the village baker, brought a footwarmer to the Sunday service at Christmas 1669. A piece of hot coal fell out and set the old building alight), or to the tiresome religious disputes between the Reformist Isenburg ruling house and the Lutheran population, which had held up the rebuilding.
The valuable Baroque organ dating to 1791 was made by the well known Stumm family of organ makers.
The workshop of the Dreieichenhain carpenter Aron Seitz has been preserved with its original equipment.
Please click here for further information on the church parish.
The castle garden
The castle garden is the historical centre of Hayn Castle and therefore also of Dreieichenhain.
When the tower castle was founded a two storey hunting lodge already stood there. That was followed by mediaeval residences and commercial buildings belonging to the various lords. The town estate of the former Patershausen cloister, a small Latin school, a residence for the priest taking early prayers, a bake house and pottery kilns, all from different periods, have been excavated here.
The demesne had its origins in the 12th century, when the squire’s town was being established outside the walls of the castle. It consisted of six buildings – the mansion, a house for young noblemen, barton, a cattle house, stables, a kennel and a rectory.
On the behest of the emperor a special type of hunting dog was bred and kept, the Bracke breed. In Emperor Ludwig of Bavaria’s private hunting forest it was said: ‘If an emperor wants to hunt in the Dreieich private forest, he should ride to the forester’s house in Hayn and there he will find a white Bracke with striped ears, on a silk cushion with a silk lead, and with that dog he should search the forest’.
The only building still preserved today is the former house for young noblemen, the Faselstall restaurant is there now. (For over 100 years it served as a Faselstall, a building in which male breeding animals belonging to the parish were kept, hence its current name).