Discovering treasures, while being forced to just walk around Basel
Now that I am able to drive again (how much I enjoy this!), I often park my car in Muttenz to explore the northern part of the Gempen plateau. My next target is the Schauenburg area with its Schauenburger Fluh (rock), its old and new castle (Neu/New-Schauenburg and Alt/Old-Schauenburg) and the related farm Neu/New Schauenburg).
The Schauenburger Fluh is easy to find; the border trail is marked clearly with the Swiss yellow rhombus and guides hikers safely to the Fluh (see my earlier blog). Also the way to Schauenburg Bad is clearly highlighted. But to find the ruins and understand which ruin is “new” and which is “old”, I had to come back several times. Again and again I got lost, as the naming confused me and not all paths are on my map. My friends from Austria – the knowledgeable nordic walking guides – laughed and comforted me: “This happened to us as well – we always got lost, when we started exploring the Gempen plateau.”
This is the map showing the Wartenberg mountain (between Muttenz and Pratteln) and the long stretched plateau of the Gempen (about 500m above the valleys). The Schauenburg area is highlighted.
Source: Bundesamt für Landestopographie 213T – Basel
Old Schauenburg is new and New Schauenburg is old – yes!
There are two Schauenburg castles: Neu-Schauenburg (New Schauenburg) and Alt-Schauenburg (Old Schauenburg). However, “Old Schauenburg” is newer than “New Schauenburg”: The family Schauenburg built “New Schauenburg” in the 11th or 12th century and, in the late 13th century, added “Old Schauenburg”. In the 1356 earth quake of Basel both castles were destroyed. The family Schauenburg abandoned the newer “old” castle and rebuilt the older castle that now was named “New Schauenburg”. At the end of the 14th century, the Schauenburg family died out. Around 1500, also the castle Neu-Schauenburg was abandoned. In the following centuries, the owners of the Schauenburg possessions surrounding the ruins changed repeatedly.
These are the ruins of Neu/New Schauenburg
Neu/New Schauenburg sits strategically on a small pass below the Schauenburger Fluh ( rock).
… and the ruins are not in a good state: “Attention: Falling Rocks. Ruin closed.” I think there is much left of this castle given the fact that it has not been inhabited for 500 years.
These are the ruins of Alt/Old Schauenburg
The ruins of Alt/Old Schauenburg are hidden in the forest on a rock called “Chleiflüeli” (literally translating to “little small rock”). It has not been inhabited since the 1356 earthquake of Basel and can be visited using the ladder – on our own risk.
I climb the ladder to enter the ruin and enjoy the view. I look back to the Schauenburger Fluh (imagining it with the Roman temple – see my earlier blog). Below – facing the meadow – is a small white spot. This is Neu/New Schauenburg.
From the north, there are two paths leading to “Alt/Old Schauenburg”, and both are unmarked: The first is a narrow footpath starting on Schauenburger Fluh and following the edge in the trees. The second is a road branching off earlier. Only with the hints of my friends from Austria I eventually found “Alt/Old Schauenburg”.
The farm “Neu Schauenburg” (Hof) – acquired by a “Wellness King”
Below the ruins of Neu/New Schauenburg is the farm “Neu Schauenburg”.
The origins of the farm go back to a monastery built in the 15th century. First monks lived here, and in 1502 nuns took over (Beguins or – in German – “Beginen”). After the reformation with Basel becoming protestant, the monastery became just a farm. The last farmer is now retiring. According to “Schweiz am Sonntag”, the farm “Neu/New Schauenburg” has recently been acquired by a “Wellness King”, in May 2014. The Wellness King plans to build appartments for families that want to live with their grand parents. In addition he intends to reactivate the bath tradition by installing a sauna and a steam bath.
Below the Schauenbuger Fluh and the Chleiflühli is the hotel/restaurant Bad Schauenburg.
Here I spent several trainings thirty years ago, when working for Ciba-Geigy and later for Hoffmann-La Roche. At that time I did a lot of jogging in the area. But when running, I did not notice the gems that I discovered now.
There are more gems just near Basel
The area around the Schartenfluh hides more gems on the Gempen plateau that I I will talk about later.
[…] have already visited the three castles of the Wartenberg and I have done some scouting around the new Old-Schauenburg and the old New-Schauenburg. Interesting is also the Burgengratweg on […]