16 November 2020
Alt-Falkenstein Castle in the municipality of Balsthal (canton Solothurn) was built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the Balsthaler Klus.
On the other side of the Balsthal lies Neu-Frankenstein castle from the same period.
The castles of Alt-Bechburg and Neu-Bechburg near Oensingen were built in the same period. The Bechburg and Falkenstein dynasties and the Bishop of Basel ruled this territory.
The trade and road through the Balsthal were of great importance. That is the reason of the four castles.
Alt-Falkenstein has historical significance for the sometimes tense relations between the cantons of Bern and Solothurn in the fourteenth century.
Troops of Bern marched through the Klus on their way to Mülhouse in 1345 to help this town against the coalition of Freiburg, Habsburg, Kyburg, Burgundian nobility and Emperor Lodwijk the Bavarian (1282-1347, Ludwig der Bayer). The peace of Königsfelden (1345) made an end to this war.
The last lord of the castle, Hans II von Falkenstein (died 1426), sold the castle in 1420 to Solothurn.
The renovation of the Knights’ Hall and the establishment of the Heimatmuseum (Local Museum) and other adjustments restored the castle (almost) to its former glory. Moreover, the walk to the castle through the Thal Park is already worthwhile.