Mainberg Castle near Schweinfurt

This guest post is written by Lance M. Goolsby, who originates from Seattle, Washington. However, he spent 15 years in the U.S. Army, serving in the city of Schweinfurt, Germany for four of them. He says he is married to the most wonderful woman, Antje (Pronounced: Auntie-A), a local Schweinfurter. After leaving the army, he decided to settle down in Schweinfurt and place his roots in this beautiful small city. This is what he has to share with us.

Mainberg Castle

Mainberg Castle

A couple days ago, I was searching the internet to get some source photos for a renovation project I am conducting and came across Maria’s blog.

I had heard of a local castle, but had never gone. Many times the unit would hold a party in the castle, but somehow I was either deployed to some foreign country, or on duty. So I was always otherwise occupied.

A few months ago I was invited to a birthday party being held in the castle, and I thought it would be my chance to see it first hand. Somehow I met the manager, and we started talking. He was in the works of finalizing the plans for the renovations of the castle with the owner. Hours passed with him telling me stories of the history of the building, from its major involvement in the German Peasants war of the 1500s, to the unsavory occupation of the castle during the second world war by generals Hermann Goering, and Heinrich Himmler.

One thing led to another, and I was hired as the groundskeeper of the castle. My dream job. Bringing the long unattended gardens back to their former glory, which had not been seen by visitors since the renovations of the castle in 1924.

The castle name is Schloss Mainberg, located around 3 kilometers, or about 2 miles outside Schweinfurt.

The tower of the castle was the first thing built, in around the year 980 to 1005. In the late 1300s and early 1400s, the local duke built the original castle. The castle was mostly destroyed in the Peasants War in the 1520s. Twenty years later, the castle that stands now, was built. The only thing original to the castle prior is the tower, which only lost around 30 feet from its top in the war.

After the Second World War, the entire contents of the castle were either carted off under orders of General Goering, or looted by the American soldiers or the local towns people. All statues with the exception of one, were used by various soldiers as target practice or targeted by vandals, and all heads are missing. Later the castle was shortly used as a factory for a hair care products company. After that, it passed through a few hands, but never was renovated or repaired.

In the last 60 years, the castle has slowly fallen into ruin. Cracks are allowing water to seep into the building, staining and ruining many murals painted on the walls and ceilings.  Vines, crawling up the walls, are undermining the concrete and pieces are falling to the ground. Eventually without the proper care, the castle would fall to the ground.

My job will be to bring the grounds to the quality they were in after the 1822 renovations. In one author’s writings, he described the gardens as an almost heavenly walk. Looking right, the view over the local Bavarian valley afforded him the possibility to see for miles on end. Three fountains adorned with mythological creatures gave the area an ethereal sound and the flowers planted gave the garden a scent that he couldn’t forget for several years before he wrote the book.

Further investigation into the grounds has recently produced a second garden from the same era, which it seems no visitors has ever seen. It’s a garden for the woman of the house at the time to retreat to with one of her favorite books, to relax and read. We now refer to this one as the secret garden. It was built in the rear of the castle, which is on the uphill side. It was made up of one main terrace, and three others, adorned with flowers, and rock walls. They had in effect carved 4 level areas out of the castle, adorned them with flowers,  benches, and tables, then fenced it off from the main castle garden for privacy. It must have been a vision in itself and to me was much more beautiful than the main garden.

I thought for the readers of Maria’s blog it would be cool to see some recent photos of the same castle, of which she shared photos taken by Russell Satterthwait in the 60s and to compare how the castle has slowly fallen into almost ruin.

With luck, in the next two years, the castle will be back to its regal status. I also invite all readers to come by and take a tour with me when it is completed. You will not be disappointed. We will be able to have some coffee in its café, or if you like, spend the night in the castle hotel.

Mainberg Castle is one of the regions most important and beautiful castles. Soon it will be open to the public again.

Thanks for reading my long winded article.

— Lance Goolsby

grounds keeper at Mainberg Castle

Photobucket by Lance Goolsby:

YouTube by Matthias Breitenbach:

Schweinfurt Garrison Dining Out at Castle Mainberg 2009 (Photo courtesy of Schweinfurt PAO) on Flickr:


  1. Dethtu Ohner says

    After further investigation into the Mainberg castle I learned that the owner is a scumbag and the entire castle should be leveled with him inside.

  2. I agree with Dethtu Ohner. This place is awful and it’s because of the crappy owner.

  3. Sue Panioli says

    I just found this castle, purely by accident after posting at a website looking to figure out just what castle my Dad had taken photos of during WWII. He’s 93 and struggled to remember and said he was all over the place and rarely knew where he was anyway. I can’t believe I finally found it and am SO glad I stopped looking in Germany after Sis said the photos showed they were developed In Schweinfurt. Here’s a link to the posting:

  4. Sue Panioli says

    Sorry, “stopped looking in France”, not Germany. Can’t seem to edit or delete comments.

  5. I’m not an expert on Mainberg Castle, but I’m very sure the photos you posted on travel.stackexchange are of that same castle. If you’d like – and with your permission – I could forward them to the Mainberg Castle archivist for further inspection.
    The castle itself is in bad condition right now, and is being renovated with the help of a euro 700.000 grant by the state. It is owned privately, and a foundation to save it has also been founded on 2 May of this year.

  6. Sue Panioli says

    Thanks for your prompt reply via email also. With credit for my Dad (as per email), I’d be pleased to have his photos added to any Schloss Mainberg archives.

  7. I just got word from the expert himself – these photos were indeed taken at Mainberg Castle.
    (Source: Thomas Horling, Mainberg Castle Historian)

  8. Sue Panioli says

    Sue Panioli back again. We found another photo that looks like it’s inside the garden area at the castle…maybe with my Dad hugging the statue in the fountain (with a silly helmet on the figure’s head). It’s too blurry to tell if it’s my Dad or not for sure. But the photo certainly looks like it’s inside the garden area from the exact opposite “angle” as the THIRD photo you have posted on the “Mainberg castle in Germany in the 40s” page you have…with my Dad, etc. It’s interesting because it shows a bit more detail and things you can’t see from the other angle. I’m not sure if I still have an email address for you…not on this computer for certain. I’m in the process of asking my sister if you can have this photo too…if you want it.

  9. I was stationed in Germany with the US Army in the 1990s and attended GREAT Halloween parties at the Mainberg Castle twice! I hope the schloss comes back to at least some level because it really is very regal. I am planning a trip to Germany once the COVID-19 craziness is over. Please let me know how I can contact the castle for information. Thank you!

  10. Expect to see an update on the castle in your mailbox later.

  11. I am back in the US but want to visit Germany again. A party there or at least a tour of the castle would be great. Hopefully by 2021! I went to the Halloween party there in 1994 and 1995. I remember walking up a hill to get to the entrance. Was it an American event or German event? Because both Americans and Germans attended. Live band, great costumes and fun! If you do it again, I am in. What are some good hotels in the area?

  12. I received your email! Thank you so much!

  13. You find hotels in Schweinfurt on most platforms.
    I personally would use the ‘Mercure Hotel Schweinfurt Maininsel’. Maininsel means Main River island, because that is where the hotel is located. It’s got some good ratings.
    For a more adventurous stay, I would recommend a holiday rental. Type in ‘Holiday Apartments Mainberg Schonungen’. You need the town name Schonungen, because Mainberg is incorporated into Schonungen. There you would get the local touch (versus staying in a hotel). If you stayed in the town of Schonungen (actually a bigger village), it is only 1.4km (less than a mile) to walk to Mainberg.

    In regards to parties, I don’t think Mainberg Castle will host any parties soon, if at all. These events must have been sponsored by the army, so that would make it an American event. In addition, Halloween is not a German tradition, but for the past 20 years or so, it has slowly crept into the German life.
    Do you have any photos from these events..? Would you be willing to share them? 🙂

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