300 meters above sea level above the Rhine Valley Alt-Ems castle in Hohenems is a great destination for climbing and exploring. With seven gates, a drawbridge and 47 rooms the castle complex once was one of the largest and mightiest strongholds in the area. With an originally lenght of 800 meters and a width up to 85 meters there is much to discover. Built in the 12th century the castle served as prison for prominent people like William III. of Sicily or archbishop Bruno IV. von Sayn. The castle was destroyed in 1407 in the course of the Appenzell Wars. The 16th and 17th century saw a great expansion of the fortress.
How to get there
From Hohenems you will reach the ruins of Alt-Ems castle in less than an hour. Two ways are leading up to the ruins. One is a footpath the other one a forest road. Both are suitable for families with children. However, you should make sure to wear proper footwear.
Picturesque remnants of Alt-Ems castle in Hohenems
You can freely explore the remains of the castle’s walls and towers. It’s safe to discover its hidden secrets as the locals undertake repairs and maintenance work. A dedicated group of people has been renovating the remnants of the proud past since 2006. For your own safety, make sure not to go past the barriers. In the inner courtyard you will find the Konradsbrunnen. As the whole ruin of Alt-Ems decays faster every year, the Konradsbrunnen has fallen into ruin for nearly three decades. Nonetheless, the locals still used its waters at the beginning of this century.
From the castle at 740 m above sealevel you can enjoy an amazing view over the Rhine valley and Lake Constance. If you follow the forest road downhill to Hohenems you will pass by Stoffels Säge-Mühle. This is an open-air museum with a historical waterwheel driven saw and mill. The mill museum documentso the cultural history of over 2000 years of mill technology.
More information about the castle ruin (German.)