The watchtower is 14 metres tall and is situated on a hill called “Wartberg” (394 metres above sea level) to the southeast of Buchen. According to its inscription is has been constructed or rebuilt in 1490.
It was used as an observation tower in times of war, in order to be able to warn the population of the highly fortified medieval town of advancing enemy troops. As can be seen in the oldest illustration dating from 1593, at that time the tower, equipped with a hipped roof, was freestanding to facilitate the unobstructed view in all directions.
The tower consists of a circular substructure (5 metres tall and with a 5 metre cross-section) and a superstructure of only 4.4 metres. Due to the different wall thicknesses of the substructure (1.2 metres) and the superstructure (0.95 metres), there are assumptions as to whether the lower part might be 200 years older and thus has been built during the first encirclement of Buchen. However, both material (rubble stone) and technique do not indicate any difference.
The original ogival entrance at the level of the landing could only be reached via a ladder, which was pulled up in the event of an enemy attack. Above the entrance, the date 1490 has been inscribed onto an ashlar with a stonemason’s mark. Also above the entrance is well-preserved machicolation used for the defence against hostile invaders.
Extensive restoration of the tower was initiated in 1894 by the former “association of beautification” (which today is the tourist office). By opening up an entrance at ground level and the construction of a spiral staircase inside the tower, the ascent of the tower has been facilitated. At that time the castellated platform has been constructed.
Even though the tower, which is owned by the town of Buchen, had been renovated thoroughly in 1958, time has taken its toll; at some point the tower was not accessible anymore. Thanks to the citizen’s initiative “Save the Watchtower” this ancient Buchen landmark has undergone a radical renovation in 2000 and is now open for visitors once again.
The magnificent panorama one can enjoy when looking out from the platform of the tower offers the view of two contrasting landscapes whose border roughly runs in a North-South divide. In the East the rural Bauland and in the West the Odenwald forest. The reason for this characteristic is its difference in geological formations. The rural land in the East shaped by the lacustrine limestone with its agriculturally used alteration soil, whereas the West with its variegated sandstone possesses a high percentage of forest.
Looking at Buchen, the medieval town centre within the town wall can be seen, as well as the expansion of the urban area since the beginning of the industrialisation.
Opening times: the watchtower is open on weekends from April throughout October, usually from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.! By prior arrangement and payment of a deposit, the keys can be obtained from the tourist office Buchen (Odenwald) for visits outside the regular opening times.
For more information contact:
Tourist Office • Platz am Bild • 74722 Buchen (Odenwald) • Germany