Scharfenstein – the family castle

in the Erzgebirge

Scharfenstein Castle
There are few places as tightly bound up in the myth and magic of the Erzgebirge as the medieval Scharfenstein Castle, built around 1250 when the Erzgebirge mountains were first colonised following the discovery of silver ore in the region.

Scharfenstein Castle is one of the oldest royal residences in Saxony. The castle was occupied and used continuously for more than 750 years, with different building phases shaping its appearance during this time. For example, the keep dates from the original medieval castle (around 1250), while the castle’s famous portal was added 400 years later during the Renaissance period.

The Erzgebirge people survived the first mining crisis around 1650 by turning their talent to crafting wooden figurines. A broader Erzgebirge tradition grew out of this and is documented in the Christmas and Toy Museum at Scharfenstein Castle.

Scharfenstein Castle

Scharfenstein Castle

Scharfenstein Castle



The poacher Karl Stülpner was born in 1762 into the same poverty-stricken fight for survival at the foot of Scharfenstein Castle, and he still lives on in the minds of local people.

Karl Stülpner is a folk hero in the Erzgebirge mountains: a poacher and smuggler, hedonist and survivor who always stayed one step ahead of the much-hated authorities.
During the dramatic social upheaval of the end of the 18th century he became a hero to ordinary people, who elevated his restless and endless wandering to the level of an adventure story.

You might also meet Karl Stülpner on the guided tour of the castle, which brings to life the countless stories about the castle and about the Robin Hood of the Erzgebirge.

Above all, however, Scharfenstein Castle is a picturebook castle for families – with fairytale days, ghost walks, treasure hunts, the traditional, magical Christmas market “Scharfensteiner Adventszauber” (‘Scharfenstein Advent Magic’) and much more.

Looking up to the castle