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1000 years of Ottenburg: A look back at the largest fortress far and wide in the Middle Ages


It was one of the largest fortresses in the Middle Ages far and wide. Now the anniversary would have almost gone down because of the pandemic: 1000 years.

It was one of the largest fortresses in the Middle Ages far and wide.

Now the anniversary would have almost gone down because of the pandemic: 1000 years.

Ottenburg / Eching

- Many round club birthdays could not be celebrated due to the corona pandemic.

But also a very big historical jubilee is now in danger of being completely forgotten: The 1000th anniversary of the most important place, or the largest fortress and castle complex in the Middle Ages far and wide, the Ottenburg, which later became Ottenburg Castle.

Long before “Munichen”, today's state capital Munich, played a role in the annals of historiography, the names “Otinpurc” or “Outinpurk” appeared in records of changes of ownership in the 11th century. The name is probably derived from a nobleman named "Uto" or "Otto", to whom the castle and settlement go back. In rural Germany at that time 90 percent of the population lived widely scattered in sparsely populated, heavily forested and largely uncultivated areas in which, comparable to small islands, manageable towns were the exception.

Today the town of Ottenburg with its around 200 inhabitants, which is still characterized by the castle and the castle chapel, together with Deutenhausen and Günzenhausen, belongs to the northern “satellites” of the municipality of Eching, located on a chain of hills.

Before that, however, one could read in documents for centuries: “Eching bei Ottenburg”.

(By the way: Everything from the region is now also available in our regular Freising newsletter.)

According to the current state of research, the first and oldest written mention of “Otinpurc” appears around 1020 in a list of goods belonging to the Tegernsee Monastery, which was the most important Benedictine abbey in Upper Bavaria until 1803. At that time this had several properties in what was then the parish of Fürholzen, including “Otinpurc”. Shortly after this first mention, the Ottenburg appears in history as a fiefdom of the Freising Prince-Bishop and the seat of the Hofmark and thus belongs to the domain of the Freising Hochstift. From this derives its outstanding position in the Middle Ages, because in the Ottenburg, among other things, the so-called lower jurisdiction was exercised.

In the course of the conflicts with the Bavarian dukes, the medieval castle was re-fortified under Bishop Otto I. von Freising and expanded into a bulwark against the secular ruler of the time, the Bavarian Duke Heinrich the Lion.

And then came the big bridge dispute

The climax of the dispute is the famous "Föhringer Bridge Dispute", in which the latter had the Isar bridge on the Freising site burned down in 1158 in order to build a new one a few kilometers upstream at "Munichen", on the site of today's Ludwigsbrücke.

With this, Freising's bishop lost his bridging toll on transport, especially the trade in salt from Reichenhall and Hallein.


Around 100 years ago, Ottenburg Castle, which was then owned by the Reinhardt family, looked like this.

© Wilms

In the “Augsburger Schied” on June 14, 1158, Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa decided at the Reichstag that Henry the Lion had to give a third of the customs revenue to the Bishop of Freising.

With that, Freising, which was so important at the time, began to lose importance compared to Munich, which was getting richer.

The construction of the new bridge is considered to be the hour of birth of Munich.

Good to know

A detailed overview of the development of Ottenburg can be found in the chronicle of the local history researcher Ernst Keller from Fürholz under the title "Ottenburg - Living and dying in an old castle and its Hofmark", which was published in 2011.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-10-15

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