European Culture Route Fortified Monuments - FORTE CULTURA®

Rüsselsheim Fortress Germany

From the Count's Castle to the Hessian State Fortress

Early modern fortress heritage meets industrial culture of the Main Foreland

The exciting history of the fortress Rüsselsheim begins in 1399, when the Counts of Katzenelnbogen wanted to consolidate their position on both sides of the Lower Main by building a castle. Later, the Landgraves of Hesse came into the possession of Rüsselsheim and built a four-winged fortress around the former castle with ramparts, ditches and roundels.

Rüsselsheim became one of the four Hessian state fortresses besides Kassel, Gießen and Ziegenhain and played a central role during the wars and conflicts of the 16th and 17th centuries. During the Schmalkaldic War, Landgrave Philip I of Hesse, known as the Magnanimous, had his army coordinated from this. The Swedes used Rüsselsheim in the Thirty Years' War as a base for their action against the fortress of Mainz. In 1689, the French ended the military career of the fortress of Rüsselsheim when they blew up parts of the complex when they left.

Various uses followed until the city of Rüsselsheim acquired the fortress ruins from the state of Hesse in 1954 and painstakingly restored it in the 1990s.
Since 1976, visitors can experience the history of the city, the fortress and the largest industrial enterprise in Rüsselsheim in the Rüsselsheim City and Industrial Museum, celebrate in the historic ambience of the fortress cellar and listen to concerts or strengthen themselves in the "Café in the Fortress". The City Archiv Rüsselsheim and the Heimatverein Rüsselsheim have also found their place in the fortress.

The facility is barrier-free and easily accessible by public transport. This way you can reach Rüsselsheim station by train S8 or S9 and from there you can reach the fortress through Bahnhofstraße and Verna Park. It takes about fifteen minutes on foot for the route. From the station you can also take bus lines 1, 31 and 51 of the RMV and get off at the stop "Parkschule". From there it takes only three minutes on foot to the fortress.
Opposite the fortress are the local centre for art in the Opel villas,named after theindustrialist family, as a symbol of a dynasty of industrial culture that has had a decisive influence on the city and region with its work. With the two high bunkers from the time of the Second World War on the factory premises of Adam Opel AG, further exciting traces of the "architectura militaris" can be found in the city of Rüsselsheim.

FORTE CULTURA® Travel Recommendations

Experience World

Fortress with City and Industrial Museum Rüsselsheim


The four-winged building ensemble of the early modern fortress complex now holds the historical memory of Rüsselsheim. The Rüsselsheim City and Industrial Museum, which was awarded the Museum Prize of the Council of Europe in 1979, follows in its conception the connection between technical and social history.
The museum's journey of discovery begins with the first traces of human activity in the region. The fortress history itself begins with the rise of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen in the Middle Ages. The permanent exhibition, redesigned from 2013 to 2017, provides an insight into the various development and construction phases, but also into life in and with the fortress, with a multimedia-designed fortress model. Other focal points of the museum are the craftsmanship, the history of industrialization (amongothers Adam Opel AG) and their challenges for the Rüsselsheimers.
In the north wing of the fortress, an exhibition is dedicated to the history of the city and the work, from the post-war period to the present day.
The museum also offers various special exhibitions of art, cultural and technical history. Every year, various participation exhibitions are shown here, which are especially aimed at families with children. A varied programme for children, teenagers and adults as well as inclusive events for people with disabilities complete the offer of the museum. In addition, media guides with an entertaining and informative tour of the fortress are also available for an individual exploration of the fortress.

©Gerhard Otto_Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim ©Frank Möllenberg_Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim

Main gate with guardroom, gate tower and round bastion (Schlossrondell)


The fortress Rüsselsheim can be reached via the main gate opposite the Opelvillen.

The main gate is also bordered by the Castle-Rondell, one of five bastions of the square fortress.

Wachstube Schlossrondell

Great Fortress Courtyard (Großer Festungshof)


The four-winged building complex forms the Great Fortress Courtyard in its centre. The pavement of the fortress courtyard today reveals the location and floor plan of the medieval castle of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen, which formed the historical core of the later fortress Rüsselsheim. Today, the fortress courtyard offers space for cultural events or the popular artisan market, which takes place annually on the first advent weekend.
The "Café in the Fortress" also offers its guests cosy outdoor places as well as breakfast buffets and a weekly changing lunch table.

Well chamber (Brunnenstube)


Below the casemate at the western bastion is the Brunnenstube in the inner defensive moat. The room has been extensively restored and shows a small exhibition of archaeological finds from the moat. The original function of this part of the fortress still puzzles the researchers to this day. The Brunnenstube can be visited as part of a guided tour of the fortress.


West rondel (Westrondel) with viewing platform


From 1507, the Hessian Landgraves equipped the earthen ramparts of the fortress with defensive, two-storey roundels. From an observation deck, visitors can enjoy a wonderful view over the apron of the complex and the Main river to the heights of the Taunus. From the walk-in wall you also get a good overview of the entire fortress.

walkable ramparts

East rondel (Ostrondel)


The Ostrondell, also known as the Haßloch Rondell, was originally one of 5 shelters. During the Thirty Years' War, these turrets were also used to house the soldiers, including their wives and children. Guided tours organized by the museum give you a vivid impression of the conditions in the fortress barracks and bastions. The Ostrondell can also be visited outside the museum's opening hours

Fortress cellar (Festungskeller)


As an event location, the two vaulted cellars of the Rüsselsheim Fortress lend an extraordinary setting in a historic ambience to events and celebrations. Variety of adventure-gastronomic offers such as crime dinners, themed breakfasts as well as concerts enrich the Rüsselsheim cultural life. The small fortress cellar with its natural stone walls offers a rustic setting. The bright cross vaults of the large fortress cellar offer space for large companies. The "Café in the Fortress" on the ground floor of the Fortress Museum and in the Fortress Courtyard offers delicious breakfasts, coffee and delicious cakes or a nice glass of wine.
The Rüsselsheim folk and jazz club "Dorflinde" regularly organizes concerts here.

High bunker (Luftschutzbunker-Hochbunker LSB 1400)


Two identical air-raid protection high-bunkers were built in 1943/1944 on the premises of Adam Opel AG. As a "war-important company", which during this time produced mainly for the military and with the use of forced laborers, the plant was thus given the opportunity to protect up to 2800 people from airstrikes. The bunker "H40" (shoe bunker) in Weisenauer Straße is not open to the public. The high bunker "D 20" (Cola Bunker) not far from the Opel main portal can be visited today during guided tours. Parts of the original equipment and furnishings of the bunker were preserved.
The Rüsselsheim City and Industrial Museum in the fortress offers fixed dates for guided tours of the high bunker in the Opel building (D 20). Since there is a limited number of participants in the guided tours, you have to make a reservation in advance.

Participation fee: 160€ per group (max. 20 people)
Contact/ticket pre-sale: Museum Phone +49 (0) 6142 83-2950

Hochbunker Rüsselsheim Hochbunker Rüsselsheim

Tour Offers and Information

Fortress for young and old

  • Bulwark of the Landgraves - Fortress tour

  • The fortress in torchlight - atmospheric night tours through the fortress Rüsselsheim (fixed dates or individually bookable)

  • Fortress Rally - Knights, puzzles and ruins - A fortress adventure of the city and industrial museum for children (primary school students)

Guided museum tours with different focuses

  • Museum tours - diverse themes and offers

  • Rüsselsheim - Everything you need to know - Museum tour 100,000 years in time-lapse

Rüsselsheim - City Museum inclusive – Offers for people with disabilities

  • Learning and experiencing with all senses - multi-sensual and multi-stage guided tours for exhibition and fortress - offer for support schools, inclusive primary school classes and other groups

  • In the footsteps of the lansquenet - Museum tours for the blind and people with visual impairment - Multi-sensual guided tour in the fortress for the blind and visually impaired From work

  • benches, steam engines and chicory coffee - Museum tours for the blind and people with visual impairment

Offers for children and adolescents / schools

  • Fortress Rally - Knights, Puzzles and Ruins - A Fortress Adventure of the City and Industrial Museum for Children (Primary School Students) with additional material

  • Study days (for upper secondary school students) Industrialization/ Globalization/ Jewish Life in Rüsselsheim


Noch mehr SEO

Monument and History


The exciting history of the fortress Rüsselsheim has its origins in the "festesHaus" of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen, who first mentioned in 1399, who wanted to consolidate their position on both sides of the Lower Main. The floor plan of the more than 600-year-old medieval castle of the counts can be found today by attentive visitors in the pavement of the fortress courtyard. The Landgraves of Hesse came into the possession of Rüsselsheim in 1479 through an inheritance of the count's family, which has since become extinct in the male line of the count line. From that time on, they built a four-winged fortress around the former castle with ramparts, ditches and from 1507 with five roundels, which was completed around 1540.
The wars and conflicts of the 16th and 17th centuries did not pass without a trace at Rüsselsheim and its fortress. The fortress rüsselsheim played a central role as one of four Hessian state fortresses. The Protestant Landgrave Philip I of Hesse (1504 - 1567), called the Magnanimous, had his army coordinated from here during the Schmalkaldic War (1546/1547). After the defeat of the Protestant princes, the fortress had to be demolished on the orders of Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), i.e. its fortifications had to be demolished, but it was rebuilt a few years later. The Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648) made the fortress rüsselsheim a bastion of the Swedes for battles for the fortress Mainz for two years. After the death of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf (1594 - 1632) and the completion of their own fortress Gustavsburg in 1634, the Swedish forces finally withdrew from Rüsselsheim. The War of the Palatine Succession of 1689 led to a military loss of significance for the fortress of Rüsselsheim after the occupation and imminent detonation of large parts of the complex by French troops in 1689. Before the fortress ruins were acquired by the city of Rüsselsheim in 1954, it served in the meantime as a disability house, prison, hospital, mushroom breeding grounds and youth hostel.

Quelle: ©Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim Zug der Landsknechte, Detail (Ölgemälde 1928, Hans Waldhausen) 28_©Stadt- und Industriemuseum.jpg
Quelle: © Wikipedia Commons


The floor plan of the more than 600-year-old medieval castle of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen is recognizable in the pavement of the fortress courtyard today. The permanent exhibition of the museum located in the fortress gives an insight into the various development and construction phases of the complex with a multimedia fortress model. The four-winged fortress with ramparts, inner and outer moat had a total of five roundels from 1507. The Schloss-Rondell is bordered by the main gate with kennel. The four corners of the fortification were given two-storey turrets, in which the fortress crew had to live in some of them.

Festungseingang um 1806 - 1811 (Graphitzeichnung, Leopold Stein) Festungsgraben 1828 (Aquarell, Aquarell Morgenstern) Schlossrondell 1829 (Aquarell, Carl Morgenstern) Torhaus 1900 Südflügel 1957 Luftbild Festung Rüsselsheim

Quelle: ©Stadtarchiv Rüsselsheim
Quelle: ©Udo Koranzki Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim
Quelle: ©Frank Möllenberg Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim
Quelle: © Udo Koranzki

Nature Experience

The Main Foreland, in which the fortress Rüsselsheim is located, is increasingly developing into an important recreation area with parkland and games and sports facilities. Not far from the fortress is the Verna Park (City Park), a gem, designed as a romantic garden in the style of English landscaped gardens. Many botanical features, exotics, a bird aviary, a small artificial mill, artificial castle ruins, a pond, rest and play areas make the parkt a popular recreation area in the city.
The City and Industry Museum also regularly offers guided tours of nature, parks and fortresses that appeal to "all senses". Another connection between nature in the Main Foreland and the Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim is created by the "Art Path Mainvorland" - with art in public space.

Quelle: ©Frank Hüter / Stadt Rüsselsheim
Quelle: ©Frank Hüter / Stadt- und Industriemuseum Rüsselsheim