The castles of Ottrott were built on the plateau of Elsberg about 500 metres above the surrounding land. Two ruins, separated by barely fifty metres, now stand here: the "Rathsamhausen" on the west of the site and the "Lutzelbourg" in the east.
Recent excavations uncovered the foundations of a primitive castle between the current ruins of the castles. This primitive castle, named Old Lutzelbourg, was most certainly built before 1076 on the initiative of the counts of Eguisheim solicitors of Hohenbourg's monastery (Sainte-Odile) located some kilometres away.
This first structure was destroyed by the Hohenstaufens at the beginning of the 12th century but was immediately raised again by them to be finally enfeoffed to Conrad de Lutzelbourg in 1196. In 1198, it was destroyed by arson by the Eguisheim-Dabos.
The construction of the new castle, known in the middle of the 16th century as "Rathsamhausen", was begun by the beginning of the 13th under Otto of Burgundy who had decided to take back control of the region.
The works must have ended after 1220, the Lutzelbourg being always present on the scene, because in 1230 Elisabeth de Lutzelbourg was appointed abbess of the monastery of Hohenbourg. By the middle of the 13th century the castle presently called "Lutzelbourg" was built just below "Rathsamhausen".
Visitors to the site notice that the defences of "Lutzelbourg" are turned towards its neighbour, always in the hands of the Hohenstaufen. Historians suppose that it was built on the initiative of the Bishop of Strasbourg, Henri de Stahleck, to gain control of the imperial possessions.
During the works, the defenders of "Rathsamhausen" were not idle and built an impressive keep facing its neighbour.