This castle, in the middle of Steinau near the town hall and the marionette theater, was built in the years 1528 to 1560 as the country home of the Count of Hanau, who was the ruler of this area at the time.
The castle is surrounded by a dry moat. There are two bridges across the moat, leading to entrances at opposite sides of the castle. During the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) the castle was attacked at least once, namely in 1634, when one wing of the building was destroyed by Croatian troops.
The thing to remember about these armies that came from faraway places like Croatia and Sweden to fight in the Thirty Years War is that they had no supply lines, meaning they had to live off the land, i.e. steal everything they needed from the local population and sometimes even the local aristocracy.
In the castle there is a museum about some of the prominent people who have lived in Steinau, including of course the Brothers Grimm. Also there is a kitchen on display, as it might have been in the 16th century, and other exhibits about the history of the castle. I was especially impressed by the large historic tapestries, which must have made the cold stone castle at least seem to be a bit warmer during the severe winters of the Little Ice Age from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
Just in front of the castle is the Town Hall (Rathaus), which was built in 1561. The façade includes eight statues (four of which are visible in the photo). They represent eight occupations that used to be common in Steinau in bygone centuries: the blacksmith, the bricklayer, the harvester, the carpenter, the mother, the potter, the scholar and the innkeeper. I was pleasantly surprised to see the mother included in this list, since that is an occupation that was (and still is) typically overlooked in this sort of listing.
The statues we see now are modern replacements for the original statues that were put there when the town hall was first built, the originals having disappeared at some unknown time in the course of the centuries.
The fairy tale fountain, between the town hall and the marionette theater, is a recent addition, dating from the 1980s.
These restaurants and cafés are in front of the town hall in the pedestrian zone of Steinau’s main street, the Brüder-Grimm-Straße.
My photos in this post are from 2008 and 2012. I revised the text in 2021.