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Crests inside Oberstein Castle

The creststone above the entrance door shows eight crests of Wirich IV.'s great-grandparents, who lived from 1415 to 1501. They represent an outstanding stonecutter craftwork from 1475.wappen

 In the hallway to the "Eselbückdich-Turm" ("Donkey bow down tower") you find a stonecutter craftwork from the baroque age, financed by Countess Elisabeth of Salm-Reifferscheid, who married Philipp Franz of Daun-Oberstein in 1592.wappensteinEmbedded in the entrance hall wall is the crest of Wilhelm Wirich (1613-1682), showing a count's crown. Displaying a capstone, it is also the crest of the city of Mülheim/Ruhr, where Wilhelm Wirich resided.Wappen Wilhelm WirichIn the "Wappensaal" you will find all 16 great-grandparents of the archbishop and elector of Cologne, Philipp of Daun-Oberstein (son of Wirich IV.), added by the crest of Idar-Oberstein city and the county of Birkenfeld. wappen wappen stadt idar oberstein

Idar-Oberstein crest

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Historic overview

There are not many historical locations connected by a mutual history and as close to each other as in Idar-Oberstein, as you can see on the Merian engraving from 1654.

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 The first masters of "Stein" were mentioned in 1075, and they were occupying a cave called the "Castle in the hole". This cavern was developed by Wirich IV to the Felsenkirche (Rock Church)

Above this "Castle in the hole", the masters of Daun-Oberstein built  Bosselstein Castle on a spur. This castle was mentioned first in 1197. For details on Bosselstein Castle follow this link

Around mid 13th-century the Daun-family from the Eifel-region married into the Oberstein-family. In the beginning, both families were living together in Bosselstein castle. Before the year 1330, the Daun-Oberstein family built a new castle close to Bosselstein, the later Oberstein Castle. This new castle had its high time in the 15th century and was expanded into a comfortable chateau by Wirich IV.

The great fire of 1855 destroyed most of Oberstein Castle. The ruin was handed over to national property and was endangered by significant disintegration. In 1998, the city of Idar-Oberstein bought the castle ruin. The Oberstein Castle Club was  tasked to take care of the castle and to reconstruct parts of it.

Today, some of the former rooms are reconstructed and can be used for celebrations, seminars and other events. 

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The Felsenkirche (Rock Church)

Building the Felsenkirche took only 17 months from 1482 to 1484 under the regency of Wirich IV, so it is most likely that the construction basicely was a redesign of an existing defensive installation. The almost 7 feet thick outer walls are a hint, too.


Inside the Felsenkirche one can find several testimonies describing the history of the masters of Daun-Oberstein:

Remnants of old glass paintings show a picture of Wirich IV. and the crest of the von Leiningen family, the ancestors of his wife Margarete (three silver eagles on blue background)

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In the side stairways you will see the crests of the masters of Daun-Oberstein.

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The epitaph of Pilipp of Daun-Oberstein, Wirich IV.'s father,  in ful armor who died 1432 from his wounds he took when fighting for the Duke of Lorraine. Close to it you find a tomb slab of Philipps wife Mena.


                                     Philipp II.von Daun Oberstein komprimiert 

The picture of Sebastian shows the family of Master Sebastian of Daun-Oberstein, Count Falkenstein with his wife, his three sons and two daughters. To the left of Sebastian you can see his eldest son Philipp, wearing three necklaces.

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The last master of Oberstein, Philipp Franz, who lived at the castle, was buried 1624 inside the Felsenkirche.

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Blue blood from Oberstein Castle

It is almost unknown that there is some blue blood from the Daun-Oberstein masters running in the veins of many European ancestral portrait galeries.

The great-great-granddaughter of Wilhelm Wirich (1613-1682), Maria Luise Albertine von Leiningen-Heidesheim, was married to the landgrave of Wilhelm von Hessen-Darmstadt. Three of her daughters were married - directly or indirectly - into the most important European dynasties. Because of her relation by marriage, Maria Luise Albertine was called "Grandmother of Europe" respectfully.

Looking at these dynasties, the following European dynasties are - to some extent - successions of the masters of Daun-Oberstein:

Bavaria, Bulgaria, England, Denmark, Greece, Hannover, Luxemburg, Austria, Prussia, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Württemberg.

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The Count as industrial patron

During the regency of Philipp Franz von Daun-Oberstein, Count of Falkenstein (1559-1624), the "Auschleife" grindery was founded, to be transformed to the "Doppelschleife" later. Fragments of the grindstones from these early production facilities are embedded into the northern frontal wall of the castle. Philipp Franz enacted the "Guild laws for agate stone grinders" in 1609.

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German King Elections

The son of Wirich IV., Philipp von Daun-Oberstein, was appointed as archbishop and elector in Cologne in 1508. He was born in Oberstein Castle around 1643 and died 1515. Being one of seven electors (four religious and three secular), one of his tasks was to elect the German king.

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