A decisive criterion for the construction of a castle was the supply of drinking water. Especially in times of war, sufficient water was needed for a large number of people and animals, in order to be prepared for a siege.
at the plassenburg castle, different forms of storage can be found. The peculiarity of the bundsandstein to be groundwater-bearing in layers causes that in the area of the castle in several places water veins come to light. There were nine wells and smaller ponds. Cisterns were also built to collect rainwater. But the cistern water in particular was stale and at best suitable for fire-fighting purposes.
800 wooden tubes
800 wooden pipes, about four meters long, proved to be a very useful system for the supply of fresh water, which conducted the precious water from the higher-lying area around Zettmeisel and Maierhof through the Buchwald forest.
The disadvantage was that the enemy could easily dig up the water pipe once they knew its course. This happened, for example, in the war of the federation in 1553. the well keeper was captured and revealed under torture where the water came from. The besiegers dug out the pipes and destroyed the conduit built under georg the pious in 1530.
One of the oldest ways of supplying a castle with water was to build a groundwater well, which ensured a secure supply even under siege. The construction of such a shaft was costly and difficult. The first archival record of a deep well at the plassenburg dates back to 1448. It is located in the northeast corner of the beautiful courtyard.
An almost unbelievable achievement
at that time, master conrad brunnmeister undertook to complete a complicated scooping device that would succeed in drawing eight kulmbach ounces of water (equivalent to a daily volume of more than 9,000 liters) from the shaft every day. An almost unbelievable achievement.
From the records it is clear that this structure must have been a roller well, which, in contrast to the old draw well, made it possible to draw water continuously by means of a wheel. It was obviously a larger project, so that one can assume quite certainly that it was a new installation. Master conrad was paid free board in the castle and, after completion and approval of his work by the captain and bailiff, the sum of 160 gulden.
The list of the enemy
During the war of the confederation, the besiegers tried to dig the well. Miners drove a tunnel from kulmbach in the direction of the well shaft. After the Plassenburg was set on fire in 1554, the well was also poisoned. Never again should a castle stand on this mountain according to the will of the enemy. But margrave georg friedrich rebuilt plassenburg castle from 1559 and also secured the drinking water supply by having the well water made drinkable again.
His macabre order from the year 1562 read: "clear and sweep the fountain on such a castle thoroughly and prowieren the water, which is still poisoned, with the help of the diers, and if it is still poisoned, let the fountain be opened even more and prowieren the water openly." according to the order, the unrat should be cleared out and the water should be skimmed off for a long time. To try should be "liedlich weibszeug" (female stuff) come.
Meant were the schnall’n, metzen and hubschlerinnen, i.e. the whores. Unfortunately it is not known if the women were harmed. But since that "drink" there are only decent women left in kulmbach.
Stone fountain house
Until 1845, a stone well house stood above the shaft. It had a square floor plan with a side length of 7.15 meters. Since the construction of the penal institution on the castle, the fountain has been used only as a cloaca and garbage dump, and the fountain building was to be demolished. One of the reasons given for demolishing the house was that it would be easier to control the surrounding area.
Investigations of the well shaft by the THW with illumination and video camera were followed in 1994 by an inspection of the shaft by the "forschergruppe hohle und karst". First of all, she built a wooden platform four meters below the entrance to start the exploration downwards with a transport basket, a motor winch and a steel cable. A test for fountain gas by means of burning candles had previously been negative.
packages with soaked nazi prints
The measurement showed a depth of 83 meters, which is still remarkable today. The rock consists of colored sandstone down to the depths, the shaft is almost rectangular at the top, but changes further down into a more rounded, oval shape. The diameter at the top is almost five meters, after about 30 meters it decreases to about 3.5 meters. the bottom of the fountain was covered with black mud and they found packages with soaked nazi printed materials.
In a report on repair work from the year 1735, it is mentioned that a 138.5 meter long rope was required for this purpose. With that, the well originally went down to the groundwater level of the white main, and by now there was about 55 meters of thick debris in it.
During the inspection of the shaft in 1994, damage to the well head was also discovered, the upper cover consisted only of a wooden lid and an iron cage. In 1996, the construction of a new sandstone well enclosure was begun.
A wrought iron four-piece grate now covers the fountain and an illumination makes it "visible" for visitors. They are always surprised at how long it takes for the water to reach the ground audibly when a castle guide has poured a bucket into the shaft. We would like to thank the castellan of the plassenburg, harald stark, for his expert advice.