Count Frederic II of Ferette constructed the Engelbourg Castle to guard the entrance to the Thur Valley. Completed in 1224, the castle stood for centuries. Its towers were crucial in defending the valley and protecting the people of Thann.
In 1618, a massive religious war erupted between the Protestant and Catholic states of Europe. It became known historically as the Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648). Over the three decades of conflict, chaos, destruction, and famine, 8 million people including 20% of the German population had perished. The conflict didn’t bypass the Thur Valley and the King of France, Louis XIV, ordered the destruction of Engelbourg Castle in 1673.
The castle’s walls were pulled down, its great halls burned, and the towers were toppled. All that was left standing was a mound of rubble, and one section of tower that remained to form the famous L’œil de la Sorcière, The Witch’s Eye.
Know Before You Go
Watches over the town of Thann.
Walking distance from the Thann Centre train Station on the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF, French National Railway Company.)
Just off the Route Nationale 66.
There is a free parking space near the Witch's Eye called, Parking Randonneurs. It's located at the very end of Rue de Kattenbachy. After parking, one can walk the Schlossweg to the ruins. Mind that this is an unpaved, very steep pathway and can take about 30 to 45 minutes to climb.