Eight years of work
Work started on the castle almost as soon as it had been bought
by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The German emperor wished to
rebuild the fortress completely, just as it would have been in the
15th century. He put the architect and historian
Bodo Ebhardt in charge of the project.
Major work on clearing the site to get it ready for construction
work started in 1900. Numerous photographs of the site were taken
and this archival work continued throughout the duration of the
The first stone of the château du Haut-Koenigsbourg was laid in
1901. The castle keep was the first part of the château to be
rebuilt. Its reconstruction symbolized the power of its new owner.
Also, in more practical terms, it meant that the castle site could
be cleared of stones. Almost immediately, sharp
criticism of the work was heard…
In 1906, the imperial eagle was mounted at the top of the keep.
The project should have been finished by this time, but cracks in
the walls greatly slowed down work. Extra funds were also needed to
complete the project.
The castle is unveiled
Two years later on May 13th 1908, the château du
Haut-Koenigsbourg was finally unveiled to the public amidst much
fanfare. Finishing work and the design and decoration of the
interiors, including wall paintings by Alsatian artist Leo
Schnug, continued until the First World War. With the
start of the war, all work on the castle stopped, resulting in some
decorative work being left unfinished, such as the 'golden' room in
the keep, which was left undecorated.