|Bear on the move|
When we were in Germany last month, we visited a castle that had a unique way of defending itself since 1425. Instead of filling the moat separating the castle from the city with water, the duke living in the castle was protected by a bear pit.
When the enemies were approaching the castle, the duke could raise the drawbridge and have the enemy face a moat with bears in it. I'm guessing that the threat of a bear attack kept most enemies from climbing down the twenty foot wall to cross over to the castle walls.
|The bear pit|
|Drawbridge to castle|
|Art on the tower|
One of the unique things about the castle is the tower protruding into the inner courtyard. It was built between 1533 and 1537. The highly decorated tower holds a spiral staircase, leading to the entrance of the ballroom on the second floor.
|Spiral staircase in tower|
They have done a wonderful job of reconstructing the fortress, including the painted decorations around the window casings.
The corner tower with the observation viewing platform completed the four-walled castle. We didn't climb the 163 stairs to have a view of the city, however.
|The bear plays in the pool area|
Today, the three bears living in the moat have pools to play in and rocks and logs to climb on. Somehow, I doubt that was the case when the duke used the bear pit as a defense against attacking enemies.
Information taken from Schloss Hartenfels.de