The living spirit of history

The castle’s two octagonal towers rise proudly into the sky. They flank the castle entrance with two onion domes. The left tower and the castle itself were built by Valentin, an architect from Zittau, for the mayor, Dr. Christian von Hartig, between 1651 and 1654. The smaller, right-hand tower was built in 1853 as a staircase tower, while the atrium was built in 1892.

The site of porcelain research
The research into the famous Meissen porcelain continued in the vaulted room of the old tower. The inventor of the burning mirror, Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, researched the manufacture of porcelain together with Johann Friedrich Böttinger in around 1707. Tschirnhaus also conducted alchemist experiments in the castle with Jakob, the son of the castle owner, Christian von Hartig, which led to a fire in the laboratory. Jacob fled and the frightened villagers expelled Tschirnhaus as a practitioner of the black arts. However, the experiments eventually led to the invention of European porcelain in 1708.

Althörnitz remained in the hands of the von Hartig family until 1771. There followed many other owners, until Hans Rudolf von Sandersleben, a Saxon chamberlain, acquired the castle and lands in 1881. Neuhörnitz and Althörnitz were united on 1 July 1912. After the Second World War, the von Sandersleben family was disappropriated and the building was occupied by evacuees. From 1948 to 1991, members of the FDGB, the East German trade union association, holidayed here in simple conditions. Despite great efforts on the part of the town of Bertsdorf-Hörnitz the castle fell into ruin.

Hotel conversion
Rudolf von Sandersleben, who had worked in Leipzig as a banker and Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Sweden for the Leipziger Messe since 1990, put together a concept for the new use of the castle and park with his family, the town of Bertsdorf-Hörnitz and the hotelier Karl-Dieter Gaydoul, a member of the Historical Hotels Cooperation. In 1993, they jointly purchased the entire location from the Treuhandanstalt, the agency established to privatise state-owned companies in the former East Germany after unification. After 16 months of construction, the hotel was opened in February 1996. The hotel has been operated as Althörnitz Betriebsgesellschaft GmbH since 2015.