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The castle at the Kocher River and the Neckar River in Bad Friedrichshall

In Kochendorf, a district of Bad Friedrichshall, the former water castle 741-lehe is located right at the shore of the Kocher River in the middle of a quiet park. The name of the facility "Lehe" (fiefdom) leads back to the fact that the castle used to be a fiefdom of the German empire. The castle owners were directly subordinated to the emperor.

Sightseeings and excursion destinations

Visitors mine stone salt mine in Bad Friedrichshall
A visit of the chute of the salt mine Kochendorf in Bad Friedrichshall is a very special adventure, an excursion into geology in a depth of 180 meters. Independent from the weather conditions above, there is always a temperature of about 18 to 20° C in the visitors mine. There are underground distances with a total length of about 100 kilometers.
On a well constructed round path with 8 stops, the visitor gains information about the construction of the salt stock, mining and the world of the miners, the salt and its various applications. At the station no. 4, the technique exhibition, you can collect salt crystals and take them home with you as a souvenir. A very impressing construction is the 25 meters high cupola hall with slide and monumental relief groups.
Since 1999, there is also a memorial which reminds of the former concentration camp Kochendorf. The memorial is supposed to remind of the mine's prisoners who had to work in the mine for projects of the armaments industry.
Opening hours: 1 May to the end of October, Saturdays, Sundays and on holidays 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Guidances are possible upon prior notice.

Greckenschloss castle in Bad Friedrichshall
The Greckenschloss castle on the Lindenberg mountain, a mountain range flanked by the Kocher River, has a very impressive look. The castle was built by Wolf Conrad Greck II. von Kochendorf between 1599 and 1602. After the castle was destroyed in the Thirty-Years-War, it was rebuilt until the year 1661. After the lapse of the gender of the Greck family, the Greckenschloss castle became property of the knight's branch office Odenwald. In 1806, the castle was property of the state Wurttemberg. In 1914, the communitiy of Kochendorf bought the facility. The outer walls, roofs, economic and gate facilities which were severly destroyed in the Second World War were restored until the year 1950. Today, the Greckenschloss castle serves as a domicile and it can only been viewed from the outside.
The impressing Greckenschloss castle is representative for those stately homes which fitted the needs of the sophisticated and feudal lives of the lower class  aristocracy. Between the two, two-story wings with high hipped roof, there is a polygonal stair tower. The two swung renaissance gables with obelisks are beautiful to look at. The west wing and the south wing enclose two courts. Towards the east, a moat divides the castle from the Lindenberg mountain. The moat served as defence system against hostile attacks. Across the moat, there used to be a tournament place on which knightly battles were performed.

Sebastian's church in Bad Friedrichshall
Below the Greckenschloss castle, there is the protestant parish church St. Sebastian. Some construction elements like the roman east tower, round arch windows and pillars with cube capitals of the Wehrkirche church which was first documentary mentioned in the year 1274 are still preserved.
Several modifications and attachments in the course of the centuries have strongly changed the original look of the church.  With the initiation of the reformation in Kochendorf by Wolf Conrad Greck I. in the year 1549, the church became protestant. The outer damage which had been caused by air attacks during the Second World War was fixed during the postwar period. Unfortunately, a lot of the interior fixture was lost. Despite that, you can still see the renaissance memorials of the Greck family of Kochendorf and the lords of Gemmingen in the church. The choir is decorated by a tabernacle, late gothic frescos and renaissance paintings.

André'sches castle in Bad Friedrichshall
The André'sche castle is located very close to the old town hall. This castle was finished in the beginning of the 18th century by Friedrich Magnus von Saint-André and is located right across from the castle 741-lehe. The construction of the castle was finished in the year 1710. The inscription and the date above the entrance door remind of the year of the end of the construction. Originally, the basement was located at this place, which was inhabited by Walther Greck of Kochendorf and his family only one century before. The highlight of the André'sches castle is the portal which can be reached by an outdoor staircase. The gable above the wooden entrance door, which is carried by classical pillars, is opened on the head. Attached to the gable, you can find the emblem of the constructer and his wife Saint André/Weiler. On the left side, the André'sche emblem shows an anchor with an armored arm. On the right side, you can see a lion. Unfortunately, a sightseeing of the interior is not possible.

Deutschordenschloss castle Heuchlingen
The Deutschordenschloss castle near Heuchlingen in Bad Friedrichshall rises up between the district towns Hagenbach, Jagstfeld, Duttenberg and Untergriesheim on a steep bank above the Jagst River, about three kilometers above the estuary into the Neckar River.
Castle Heuchlingen presents itself to the visitor as a well maintained facility with a four-story main building (Steinhaus / Stone House), side houses and a donjon which enclose an inner court, as well as economic buildings, a defense wall, round towers and bastions around the outer court. The whole complex provides a good impression of the castle building and the renaissance time.
The so-called Steinhaus (Stone House) with a kitchen building and smaller side house is decorated with pretty renaissance windows and a beautiful coving gable. The basement rooms are vaulted. The high mansard roof of the main building originates from the 18th century. The kitchen building connects the Steinhaus (Stone House) with the old building. The old building originally served as the apartment of the office man until the removal to the Steinhaus (Stone House) took place in the 18th century. Connected to the old building, there is a rectangular donjon which is made of large cuboids. The donjon is topped by a cambered hood roof. Located in the north, there is a large garden in front of the outer court.
Underneath of the castle Heuchlingen, there is the old mill of Heuchlingen which is partly preserved. The Heuchlinger mill already existed in the 13th century. The present building was constructed in 1765 and it was completed around 1900.
A sightseeing of the interior is not possible.

Adventure park "Tripsdrill" near Cleebronn
The adventure park "Tripsdrill" near Cleebronn (about 34 km southwest of the 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar Rivers) offers numerous attractions like the highest wild water ride of Europe, tube rafting, a marriage market, a farmer and animal theater, a petting zoo, the Stromberg train express, the wild paradise Stromberg and much more.

Further excursion destinations
Among others, you can also go on one of the following wonderful excursions:

  • the former Kaiserpfalz Palatinate Bad Wimpfen (about 6 km away from the 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar Rivers) with its two districts Wimpfen in the valley and Wimpfen at the mountain.
  • the Deutschorden town Gundelsheim (about 11 km away from the 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar Rivers) with castle Horneck and the Siebengebürgischen museum
  • Bad Rappenau (about 11 km away from the 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar Rivers) with its spa facilities and the historical ruin Ehrenberg
  • Heilbronn (about 11 km away from the 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar Rivers) with the Kilians church, the historical town hall and the Kathchen house
  • the romantic castle fortress Guttenberg (about 13 km away from the 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar Rivers) with the German eagle's station and flight shows with raptors.

The history

There, were the water castle 741-lehe is located today, there used to be a franconian estate during the early Middle Ages. There is almost no knowledge available about the doom of this franconian estate. In the 13th century, a water castle was built on the former site of the estate. The castle was located outside of the town's walls. The water castle was first documentary mentioned in the year 1294. In this document, you can also read that Arnold von Kochendorf left his vineyard as well as the water castle to the liege lord. In return, the liege lord assigned severeal goods, rights and also the patronage right of the parish church to the monastery Wimpfen. Later, Arnold von Kochendorf received the castle back as a fiefdom.

The lords of Kochendorf were engaged as ministers (knightly commissionaires) by the German emperor. It is important to know, that after the advancement of the lord Wilhelm von Wimpfen (1222 to 1257), the economic and social success of the ministers was steadily going downhill. Later on, the ministers held only lower offices. With the death of the clerical brother Johann von Kochendorf in the year 1450, the gender of the lords of Kochendorf died out.

In the 15th century, the Greck family of Kochendorf owned the castle fiefdom. This noble gender had been resident in Kochendorf since the end of the 13th century. The first tenant was Kraft Greck († around 1480). In the year 1553, the water castle was rebuilt as a renaissance castle under the guidance of Wolf Conrad Greck I.

For more than eight generations the Greck family of Kochendorf had owned the castle fiefdom until the gender died out with the death of Wolf Conrad Greck V. in the year 1749. The empire's fiefdom was confiscated and given to the lords of Gemmingen-Hornberg, an ancient noble gender from the Kraichgau. This family owned the castle 741-lehe for more than three generations.

Because the last castle owner of the gender of Gemmingen, Franz Karl Friedrich of Gemmingen-Hornberg, did not have any male descendants, the castle 741-lehe became property of the state Wurttemberg in the year 1814. Afterwards, the castle had several different owners. In the year 1948, a rearrangement of the barn belonging to the dairy farm took place. Garages were built on the first floor, on the second floor, apartments were constructed. As the fabricant Karl Erwin Merkle from Neckarsulm bought the castle 741-lehe in 1953, he let a hotel be constructed. Still today, the visitor finds a convenient castle hotel in the historical and spacious facility.

The facility

The castle 741-lehe is a three-story stone house in renaissance style. The front is decorated by a swung gable whereas the opposite gable is decorated in a more simple style. Laterally, there is a octagonal stair tower which is topped by a pitched roof. The first floor of the castle is arched. The Knight's hall can also be found there.

South of the castle, there is the front court with the curtain wall and the former economic facilities. Around the curtain wall, there used to be a moat with a bridge. Today, the moat is filled up with earth. In front of the buildings of the front court, there are two massive round towers. Originally, there used to be even three round towers. Between those towers, there is a gate which leads into the castle garden. Above the gate, there is the family emblem of the Greck family of Kochendorf and the lords of Gemmingen. The date 1568 tells you the year of construction of the gate.

The castle hotel

The 741-lehe castle hotel Kocher-Neckar River offers the perfect setting for a relaxing short vacation, a conference, a wedding celebration, a birthday party or every other kind of family festivity, a company celebration, or just a small gourmet dinner.

The furnishing of the hotel rooms, which are, among others, equipped with spacious bathrooms, combines past and present in a very successful way and offers a special living convenience to the hotel guest. Some guest rooms are furnished as individual theme rooms. The well assorted furnishing from antique to modern style demonstrates art-historical expert knowledge. Valuable materials and skilled architecture create an atmosphere of coziness and well-being.

Bad Friedrichshall

Bad Friedrichshall is located in the northern county called  Heilbronn, where Jagst River and Kocher River disembogue into the Neckar River. The city is a commonwealth which is made up of five formerly independent communities who all carry one new name today. The city has a total of more than 17,000 citizens. The name of the city leads back to the King Friedrich I from Wurttemberg who let salt drilling be perfomed successfully in the town in the year 1816.

The colors of Bad Friedrichshall are blue and white resp. silver-grey. On the left half, the town's emblem shows a silver background above three blue wave stripes with a blue empire apple and a silver ring with a black cross. On the right, there is a  silver horse on a blue background. The empire apple reminds of the former affiliation of the districts of Bad Friedrichshall to the German empire. The three wave lines symbolize the three rivers Jagst River, Kocher River and Neckar River which meet up here. The horse stands for the knights of Duttenberg, Hagenbach, Heuchlilngen and Kochendorf who servied military and sentry service for the German emperor.

Bad Friedrichshall is not a traditional spa town because it does not own a typical spa park and spa orchestra. But the town has many cultural highlights and sights to offer. You can see, among others, several different castles and fortresses, historically interesting churches and angular town centers. Worthwhile is a sightseeing of the visitors mine or a visit of the open-air brine swimming pool.

In Bad Friedrichshall, the Castle Road, the German Vacation Road, the Alpen-East-Sea and the Swabian Wine Road meet up. The scenery around Bad Friedrichshall is stamped by fertile agricultural areas, forests and former river landscapes. The beautiful scenery lets your stay become a special nature adventure. Bad Friedrichshall and the surrounding are characterized by a mild and comfortable climate.

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