The Jagdschloss Kranichstein (hunting lodge) is a complex of buildings in the district of Kranichstein in the north of Darmstadt. The castle was built from the 1570s by Landgrave Georg I of Hesse-Darmstadt.
It is one of the few remaining horseshoe-shaped palace complexes in Germany from the Renaissance period. The castle was ruined during the Thirty Years’ War, and it was rebuilt in the Baroque style in the following years and extended later.
In the 18th century, the landgraves (who were enthusiastic about hunting) used the hunting lodge as a starting point for par force hunting in the forests of southern Hesse. The zoo, enclosed by a high quarry stone wall, was used for the rearing and care of the game. The bake-house pond, which is still preserved today, was created for fish breeding.
Today, the hunting lodge is owned by the Stiftung Hessischer Jägerhof (Hesse Hunting Farm Foundation). It houses an important hunting museum and a hotel. Since September 2008, the Bioversum-Museum for Biological Diversity has been housed in the former arsenal of the hunting lodge. The idyllic English-style park of the castle with avenues and ponds invites visitors to take a walk at any time of the year. In the summer of 2004, the castle park with the old trees was opened to art.
Via the A5 exit Weiterstadt, on B42 towards Darmstadt, then towards Rödermark, later follow the signs to Kranichstein.
By public transport:
From Darmstadt main station, take bus F in the direction of Oberwaldhaus (bus stop on the west side of the main station, rear exit) to the “Mathildenhöhe” stop. Other stops nearby are “Pützerstraße”, “Jugendstilbad” and “Alexanderstraße/TU”.
From the train station Darmstadt Ost it is a 10 to 15 minutes walk.