Hiking tip: Extraordinary buildings on the edge of the Spessart

LSlightly offset, they are opposite, the two “Wallstadts” on the Main. Labeled “large” on the left and “small” on the right. This could, of course, give rise to misunderstandings, since it is the opposite of their names. In terms of area and population, Kleinwallstadt is the larger and, thanks to the closed old town and its location in front of former terraced vineyards at the transition to the Spessart, the more worthwhile of the two, most recently enhanced by the restoration of important buildings from the 13th century, the Templar House and the Old Castle.

The connecting element of the sister cities was the centuries-long affiliation to the Archdiocese of Mainz. A few tower foundations in Kleinwallstadt testify to the fortified expansion, but here too the naming is misleading. It does not refer to walls (“ramparts”), but rather the early medieval “Walenstat” to the originally “Welsh”, i.e. Roman population Großwallstadt recall.

It was from there that the right-wing Main was founded – originally called “Bischofswallstadt” to distinguish it, as it was the mother church of the surrounding villages and a stage for pilgrims to Walldürn. With its rich baroque furnishings, the parish church of St. Peter and Paul will not have failed to shine. After being destroyed, the high altar, which occupied the entire choir room, was seen as a triumph and return of faith, with which the archdiocese continued its former sacral function, which, however, could hardly be separated from the political power, here to keep the Rieneck counts in check.

The walls of the ruined castle

The walls of the ruined castle “Altes Schloss” east of Kleinwallstadt could be reconstructed thanks to several years of excavations. They provided the extraordinary finding of a complex planned around 1250 and just as systematically demolished just two decades later. The castle, which was designed with a double ring wall, probably had to be demolished at the behest of Kurmainz.

Image: Thomas Klein

Even years of excavations could not clarify whether this caused the construction and destruction of the Old Palace. Rieneck may have carried out the provisions of a treaty with the Electorate of Mainz from 1266, according to which it had to raze its fortresses near the Main. Unexpectedly, it was found that the planned system was laid down around 1270 just as systematically. First the wooden buildings went up in flames, then undermining caused the double wall ring to collapse. Later rebuilt by a regional family as a “castle”, it fell into disrepair from the 17th century and the rest was used in the new parish church.

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