In our blog article "Ghost Beech of Bad Kösen" we already described a section of the network of hiking trails along the Saale river, which ultimately leads to the Rudelsburg and further, partly through a wonderfully shady deciduous forest and partly within sight of the Saale.
The Rudelsburg itself is a hilltop castle above the Saale, which is about 85 meters above the south bank of the Saale on a rocky ridge made of shell limestone and thus allows a wonderful view of the Saale valley near Bad Kösen.
Large parts of the castle have been destroyed by wars and fires during recent years, but the preserved inner castle offers a wonderful beer garden with a restaurant, so that the hiking trail and castle complex are heavily frequented on weekends.
So you hike a mostly paved path above the Saale, which, with the exception of a passage directly in front of the lion monument, just climbs slightly and is passable too for cyclists and families with prams.
The lion monument erected in 1926 below the Rudelsburg commemorates the 2,360 corps students who died during the First World War. It shows a lion as a relief that was hit by numerous lances. The monument was designed by the Berlin sculptor Hermann Hosaeus.
In 1848 student corps from Leipzig and Jena founded the Kösener Seniors Convent Association (KSCV) on the Rudelsburg, the oldest association of German student associations. Seven years later, the corps students met for the first time at the Rudelsburg. The annual meeting of the corps students takes place on Pentecost to this day.
Hermann Allmers created the song "There Saaleck, here the Rudelsburg" in 1863. The song is still considered the recognition song of the Kösener Corps students: "There Saaleck, here the Rudelsburg".
In the years 1870 to 1872, the former core castle was subjected to extensive repairs, with the entrance area being redesigned, the knight's hall restored and extensive masonry work being carried out. The work was completed at Easter 1872.
In honour of the corps students who died in the Franco-Prussian War, a column for the fallen was inaugurated on Whitsun 1872 after two months of construction by the corps students opposite the Rudelsburg.
In memory of Kaiser Wilhelm, who died in 1888, the corps students erected the imperial obelisk in 1890 on the site of the former outer bailey. The obelisk, unveiled on May 25, 1890, was restored between 1996 and 1998. The dedication, which was destroyed in 1953, and the relief portrait were recreated based on the old model.
Another monument was erected at the foot of the former inner bailey in 1895 for Prince Otto von Bismarck's 80th birthday. It shows the young Bismarck, although the representation as a young corp student on April 27, 1895 which was approved by Bismarck himself.
The Bismarck monument was destroyed and demolished in 1951/52 for reasons that have not yet been understood. The cost of erecting the Bismarck monument amounted to 66,500 marks. Due to numerous donations, the memorial was rebuilt in 2005/06 and inaugurated on April 1st, 2006, the 191st birthday of Bismarck.
After student activities came to a standstill from 1935 and connections were banned in the following years, the Rudelsburg, previously part of the Kreipitzsch manor, became public property after the end of the Second World War and thus became the property of the city of Bad Kösen due to the land reform. The ceremonial handover of the Rudelsburg took place in May 1948.
After the Rudelsburg became more and more dilapidated during the German Democratic Republic, archaeological investigations of the area were carried out in 1990, which was followed by extensive maintenance work in the following years. Since 1995 the corps students have been meeting every year for their annual meeting in Bad Kösen. Today, the Rudelsburg, located on the Romanesque Road, is once again a popular destination for visitors from near and far.
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