Burckhardt House in Gelnhausen

Another prominent feature of Gelnhausen is the “White Villa” or Burckhardt House, which like St. Mary’s Church is visible from many places up and down the Kinzig Valley.

Until 2008 the White Villa belonged to the Burckhardthaus Society, an organization affiliated with the Protestant church which held educational meetings and seminars here. In the spring of 2008 the White Villa itself was sold, along with part of the property including the kitchen, and there were rumors that the entire institution might have to be closed for lack of funding. It now seems, however, that the property is being run as a hotel (“Hotel Babalou im Burckhardthaus“) which still offers facilities and catering for meetings and seminars.
The address is Herzbachweg 2, 63571 Gelnhausen.
GPS: 50°12’15.53″ North;  9°11’6.51″ East

Caryatids on the façade of the Burckhardt House

Unusually for this part of Germany, the façade of the Burckhardt House features several caryatids, sculpted female figures that serve as columns and seem to be supporting parts of the building on their heads.

Seminar building at Burckhardthaus

This seminar building at the back (upper) end of the Burckhardt House property is where I used to hold teacher training seminars in the 1970s, back in the days when we had enough money in the budget to pay for that sort of thing.

This is a very practical purpose-built seminar building in which all the meeting rooms have odd shapes that lend themselves to a variety of communicative seating arrangements.

I hadn’t been there for many years, but in the summer of 2010 I found it again after riding around the hills on my bicycle for a while. When I arrived the building was closed, though some of the rooms were evidently being used as accommodation for visiting choirs from other European countries that had come to Gelnhausen for the “First Choir Competition in the Heart of Europe”.

Butten Tower (Buttenturm)

This tower is up on the hill behind the Burckhardt House. It is presumably the oldest existing tower in Gelnhausen, having been built in the year 1328 as part of the outer defense ring of the city.

Entrance to the Butten Tower

When I was there in 2010 the tower looked rather neglected, but it is said to be in good condition and can be used for (civil) wedding ceremonies, which are held in the top room overlooking the town and the Kinzig Valley.

My photos in this post are from 2010. I revised the text in 2018.

See more posts on the town of Gelnhausen, Germany.
See more posts about buildings with caryatids in various European cities.


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