In our days, Castles are the emblematic icons of magnificence and mythical tales. Beside their dazzling look and antiquity, they disclose an old vivid and truthful fable.
German castles originate from 9th to 10th Century, the time when the Great Age of Castles began. Castles embrace the necessity of nations to get protection by other nation’s invasions, ran also as residences of olden royal families. These amazing buildings typify tactical and solid rocky constructions, built by kings and emperors to guard nation’s territories in warfare and to impose rule among populaces in the peacetime.
German Castles evolved in “Medieval Ages”, the fall of Ancient Rome and beginning of Renaissance Area in 14th Century, considered as an area of art and architecture. German castles’ architecture grabs a mixture of towers and fortified walls, with amazingly decorated interior and exterior, situated in high peaks of mountains and valleys, nearby waterways, enabling a full-surveillance on the surrounding territory.
Modern Germany enjoys a brilliant heritage of Castles, counting round 2100 castles spread all-around the territory of Germany. Behind the doorways of these impressive castles, a very brightly and amusing history is to be exposed. Around 100 years ago, not so far from now, kings, emperors and their families have been there, lived there and operated there. Historical resolutions agreed there, while many soldiers lost their lives there protecting their nation from invaders’ attacks.
In our day, these spectacular ancient buildings serve as cultural objects, museums, guesthouses and antiquity references.
Let us take the time to explore what these magnificent architectural buildings of Germany have to reveal.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle
This is one of the most outstanding castles of Europe and world, located in the Bavarian Alps near the town of Füssen, in southeast Bavaria, Germany.
The architect Eduard Riedel between 1869 and 1886 of 19th Century built this tremendously gorgeous castle for the mad King Ludwig II or Louis II of Bavaria. The King of Bavaria ordered it as a retreat and reverence to the famous German Wilhelm Richard Wagner, an eminent German artist especially known for his noble opera work.
The building holds the motive of 13th Century Romanesque architectural style, including mural images inspired by Wagnerian operas like “Tannhäuser” and “Lohengrin”. The architectural massive is also shielded by pieces of granite, combined with running warm water on all its floors.
An interesting modern fact related to this architecture ancient giant leads us to California, USA, the Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, built as an imitation of it, after the inspirational European trip of Walt and Lillian Disney. Certainly, the copy does not get close to the original form of the castle.
2. Hohenzollern Castle
The Hohenzollern Castle originally known as Hohenzollern House is one more exceptional historical heritage of Germany, situated in the mountain of Swabia, Bisingen, 50 km south Stuttgart, Germany. The castle originates from 1061, primarily cited as “Castro Zolre” 1267, while modern literatures cited the castle as the “Crown of all Castles in Swabia” and as “The Utmost Solid House in Germany”. The Castle has a panoramic mythical shape and the view from there is fabulously captivating, as it surrounded by a pleasing nature, and stands on the top of the greenish mountain.
The Castle was demolished in 1423 to rebuild in 1454 in a tougher and larger architectural structure. It was ruined in earlier 19th Century, lacking the proper preservation. The Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia renovated the castle for the third time in 1819. Later being the King, Frederick William IV reconstructed the Castle transforming it into the utmost impressive castle, in a neo-Gothic style. The reconstruction took place in full accordance to the concepts and projections of the historian Rudolf Count Stillfried and of the architect Friedrich August Stüler. The architectural structure of the castle involves high fortresses, decorative motif, sharp arches and windows’ frames, patterned grounds, rich colors and decorations enriched by symbolic structures. In 1952, the Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia furnished the Castle with sundry interesting art pieces and relics linked to the olden times of Prussia and its superiors.
Privately owned, the Castle nowadays stands as an attraction for many visitors from around the globe. The owners offer for the visitors the opportunity to visit the panoramic neo-gothic interior and exterior of the Castle, the old pictures of the family dynasty, art pieces and Prussian King’s Crown, movies in the cinema inside, various concerts and exhibitions, as well as many other special events. Another interesting modern feature about the castle is the Christmas market inside the Castles facilities.
3. Eltz Castle
Name Eltz was primarily mentioned in the 13th Century during the period of Stauffer Dynasty. This stunning castle is 850 years old and nowadays breathes preserved in its original structure. The beautiful and ancient castle of Eltz is located in the Moselle valley, surrounded in the three sides of it by the Eltzbach River, between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. Designed as a residency rather than a fortress, the castle served as a house of Rodendorf, Kempenich and Rübenach families.
Initially the castle had a Roman style for an another part to be built in 1472 holding a Gothic style, while in 1540 another part was built, followed by the last part’s construction which took place in 1530. The castle therefore holds three parts of it, presenting a triple-parts complex.
Built by three local emperors, the Castle location represented an important route that linked rich Romanians farmers with the market where they sold their goods. Still owned by the 33rd generation of Eltz Families, the Castle stands on the top of 70 m high rock, with eight towers round 40 meters tall, eight floors and hundred rooms.
The complex today has two parts opened for the visitors, while the third part is where the Kompenich Family still lives.
This spectacular place has a lot to offer for the guests. A unique architectural structure positioned in a natural paradise. A living antiquity, the Armory and Treasury of Castle, The Knights Hall: Suits of Armor and Jester’s Masks, The Rodendorf Kitchen, The “Madonna with Child and Grapes” painting of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Diana “The Goddess of Hunting” by Joachim Friess, the Lindberger’s masterpiece “Gluttony being conveyed by Drunkeness” make this place an exceptionally enjoyable place for visitors around the globe.
4. Heidelberg Castle
The other marvelous destination is the Heidelberg Castle, situated in the height of 92 meters above the city of Heidelberg, Germany. The Castle holds different structures, signifying the chronological history of German architecture periods. The Castle embodied the supreme outstanding building of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1300, the first part of castle was built, becoming the residence of the King of Germany Prince Elector Ruprecht III. In 1764, the castle demolished by stormy fire, caused by lightning that hit twice the castle. The demolishing was helped also by the war attacks. A very curious fact is that castle was set on fire three times: in 1689, 1693 and 1764.
In 1800, Count Charles de Graimberg begun reconstruction of the remained structure into a structure preserved even these days.
The castle is a great composition of a renaissance and gothic architectural style. Surrounded by gardens, the castle has an amazing view over the Heidelberg city, the Nectar River and Rhine plain and occasionally of the Mannheim city.
Visiting this panoramic gigantic structure there is a lot to be seen in addition, such as The Heidelberg Tun, or the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel” built in 1751, seven meters high, holding an amount of 220,000 liters of wine. The Apothecary Museum revealing a history of medicine, with rare 1000 medications and many interesting treatment collections is so unique and interesting to be seen.
5. Schwerin Castle
The Schwerin Castle has a lot to expose. This exceptionally beautiful and fascinating architecture masterpiece was an important building of Romantic Historicism in Northern Europe. Found in the heart of greenness and landscape of lakes, in the city of Schwerin, Germany the view from it is exceptionally panoramic. Nowadays the castle represents a gigantic structure holding 653 rooms, classically decorated, with pattern grounds with artifacts, ornamentations, prettified by rich and tall walls. The castle is legendary also about the story of a living ghost in the castle named “Petermännchen”, portrayed as a human-friendly ghost possessing many keys to open castle gates when someone needs help.
There is confirmation on the early existence of Schwerin Castle since 973, describing it as a fortress, marking its location the lake of Schwerin. The castle as it looks nowadays was built in 1857, ordered by Grand Duke Friedrich, under the expertise of architects Gottfried Semper, Friedrich August Stüler, Georg Adolf Demmler, and Ernst Friedrich Zwirner. The castle functioned as a residence of dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg. Friedrich Franz II later arranged an altering renovation of the castle, which utterly changed earlier elements of it. The new look of the Castle was inspired by the French Renaissance architectural style, the look that fatherly improved under the work of other architects in the twelve following years.
The Castle was demolished in 1913 of 20th Century by a fire that trapped it. The Grand Duke, who started the restoration of remained ruins, left it unfinished due to the revolution of 1918 that pushed his resignation. From that period until 1948 the castle worked as a museum, while within 1948-1952 ran as a place for the state parliament assemblies. Within the period 1952 – 1981, the castle operated as an educational institution. In the meantime, since 1961, some facilities of the castle run as art and technical museums.
Ever since 1990, the Castle runs as the place for the state assembly of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Sequential restorations tried to return the old pride and fame of the castle.
The Castle nowadays accepts visitors only in a museum area, indicating the Dukes’ lives who resided there before.
6. Marksburg Castle
The Marksburg Castle is another wonder of German cultural heritage. The castle known also as Burg Braubach resides in the top of the cliff, in the right side of the Rhine River, in the city of Braubach, Germany. The dark dome and light colored façade give this medieval architectural giant, a special contrasting appearance. Being 800 years old, the castle preserved in its primitive shape, undestroyed by any storm or armed attacks.
The Castle originates from 12th Century, cited as “the Marksburg Castle” in 1231, built by the Lords of Eppstein as a complex-castle, owned by the Elector of Mainz – family member of the Eppstein family who kept it until 1283. The castle later (1283 – 1479) belonged to the Count Eberhrard II of Katzenelnobgen, as he was wedded to the daughter of the Eppstein family and when she passed away, he became the inheritor of the castle. During his proprietorship, he added a part in the Castle of a Gothic architectural style.
Subsequently, the castle belonged to the Landgrave Philip II of Hesse through his matrimonial with the daughter of the Count Eberhard II of Katzenelnobgen, who died in 1479. He restructured the castle putting weaponries collections and fortifications. The next successor of the castle became the Duchy of Nassau within 1803 – 1866, once the fall of Old German Empire befell, functioning as a state-run jail and shelter for the handicapped soldiers.
In 1866, the castle took the ownership of Prussia, operating as lodging. At that period, the castle lacked the proper preservation, suffering the risk from demolishment. In 1900, the German Association for Castles Preservation bought the castle with a symbolic price of 1.000 Gold Marks, thru the support of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Even caught by barrage of bullets from the American soldiers who were attacking Nazi army positioned in the castle in 1945, the castle never destroyed.
The castle these days stands as the location for German Castles Association HQ that carries activities intended to help preservation of castles as priceless cultural heritage of Germany. Visiting the castle there are also many books, videos and other antique masterpieces to see, despite the panoramic architecture of the castle.
7. Cochem Castle
Here is the next German brilliantness, the Cochem Castle, with a breathtaking natural glasslike, wooded and rocky surrounding, positioned in the top of 100-meter highness of the hill near the river Moselle, Cochem-the biggest town of the Cochem-Zell, district of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Being the symbol of the town, the castle holds a vintage history of 180 years.
The son of Count Hermann Pusilius, the Count Ezzo of Palatinate, built the Castle in 1100. In 1051 Richeza, the Ezzo’s daughter also the Queen of Poland gave the ownership of the castle to her nephew Count Henry I. In 1151, King Konrad III and his soldiers invaded the Castle by setting up his royal domination. Castle since then transformed into a royal castle, while during the Staufer Dynasty time and on, the so-called “Lords of the Castle” were accountable for guarding the Castle and its assets. The Castle later, in 1294, together with the Cochem town and other fifties nearby villages were pledge for the Boemund I of Trier, to enthrone the King Adolf Nassau as the German King. Since then, the King Adolf and other heirs could not keep the promise, making the Boemund I of Trier the inheritor of Cochem until 1794.
Transformation of the castle into a bigger and stronger construction occurred in 1307-1354 by the Archbishop Balduin. In 1419, local administrators substituted “Lords of the Castle”. In 1688, the French King Louis XIV and his soldiers entered the Castle once they invaded the Rhine and Moselle.
In 1689, just a year after, the French aggressors set the Castle aflame and destroyed the town of Cochem.
The Castle was leaven behind until 1868, when the German capitalist Louis Ravené paid for taking the ownership of the left ruins of the castle, transforming them into a neo-gothic architecture castle enriched with renaissance and ornamental furniture, functioning as a summertime house for his family.
The Castle ownership was taken by the Cochem town since 1978 and now remains one of the biggest attractions for people who visit the region.
8. Burghausen Castle
The Burghausen Castle is one of the biggest antique structures in the world with a dimension of 1000 meters length. The mythical glaze of the castle, positioned in the top of the hill, combined with rich surrounding; make it a major destination for many visitors around the globe. With an image of a medieval architectural structure with colorful iconic apexes and blunt walls and fortifications, it instantly reveals its antiquated legend. Its disparate and dissimilar structure, enjoying several attractive fragments such as the main gothic style castle, the gothic temple, museums, several backyards and modern apartments, make the castle even more enjoyable to visit. The Castle is situated near the Salzach River of the Bavarian side of the Austrian-German border, close to Munich, Germany.
Primarily mentioned in 1025, the castle was populated by Lower Bavarian Wittelsbach dukes within 1255 – 1503. The Duke Otto I enlarged the castle in 1180, while the Duke Henry XII gave the current look of the castle in 1255. The structure of the building was strong, as rich Dukes wanted to keep their precious items of silver and gold there safely.
Further restorations of the castle were carried under the Napoleon I order, which took place in 1809. Failing the attempt to destroy the castle, in 1896 some novel renovations took place.
An unpleasing historical fact about the Castle complex is that place was used also for torturing and killing people, such as prisoners and notable figures jailed during the wartime.
Nowadays touring the castle there is a lot to see, five backyards, parts of the castle with differing medieval architecture, panoramic view of the Salzach River and many more.
9. Marienburg Castle
This fabulous medieval architectural structure grasps within a very specifically distinguishing history. Built as present for the 39th birthday for Majesty Queen Mary from her husband King George V of Hanover, this gothic architectural magnificence has 160 rooms with an amazing flora view of 30 meters, signifying love and compassion amid couples. The castle is located in Lower Saxony, Germany. Being a building constructed under love motif, is one of the most romantic and interesting places to visit.
Famous designers of Hanover Conrad Wilhelm Hase and Edwin Oppler, so-called nowadays the Sleeping Beauty Castle, built the Castle of Marienburg within 1858 and 1867. Unfortunately, even before the castle construction ended, in 1866 the Prussians invaded the place pushing the King George V to leave the country and move in Austria, for his wife to join him next.
For the 80 following years after the King and Queen Émigré, the castle remained abandoned and hence incomplete. However, the castle had its safeguards the reason for still having a preserved look of interior and exterior of it.
In 2004, the Castle ownership was token by HRH Ernst August Prince of Hanover, the great-great-great grandson of King and Queen who renovated the castle returning the old magnificence of it.
Visitors nowadays can see the panoramic view of the castle and surrounding area, sightsee museums of arts, as well as attend concerts and other festive events organized by the new prince who renovated the castle.
10. Moritzburg Castle
Beneath the sharpened domes, having stunningly framed windows with an astonishing surrounding nature with lake and forests, in the Moritzburg, Saxony, nearby Dresden city, Germany rests the gorgeous Baroque Castle of Moritzburg. The architectural chic of a late 16th Century from the Baroque area bursting murals and illustrations, sundry architectural elements, ornaments, unique façade, with four towers perfectly symmetrical and an amazing view of lake and forest, makes the attraction exceptionally interesting destination for anybody.
Constructed primarily as a home for the Duke Moritz of Saxony within 1542-1546 by the architect Wolf Caspar von Klengel, in 1661-1671 the Elector John George II of Saxony enlarged, also adding the chapel. This chapel served for catholic rites in 1697, as the grandson of John George II, Elector Augustus II converted into Catholicism for running the throne as a King of Poland.
Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and Zacharias Longuelune, famous architects of Renaissance renovated the Castle in 1723 – 1733 under the order of Elector Augustus II and King of Poland by adding parks and ponds that altered it into a unique architectural building.
The great-grandson of Augustus II, Elector Frederick Augustus III refurbished the look of the castle, especially the surrounding zone at the late 18th Century. The Pheasant building were constructed within 1770-1776, followed by the built of Bird Nets’ Storage, the Well of Venus, apartments for the Count Camilio Marcolini and nautical place positioned on the Grand Lake.
The latest owner and inhabitant of the Castle was Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony who resided there in the period of 1933-1945.
Tourists today can get exclusive things to discover, such as the 17th Century luxurious gold-aureate leather covering all the interior walls of the castle, 18th century Meissen and East Asian porcelain, hunting trophies, the globe’s heftiest red deer horn, exceptionally eye-catching furniture, paintings revealing the old history of the Saxony.
11. Braunfels Castle
Placed in 100 meters height above the Lahn Valley, revealing a medieval history with a 19th Century gothic architectural style, covered by amazingly shaped domes at the top, in the romantic and pleasing town of Braunfels, Germany breathes the extraordinary architectural building of royal Braunfels Castle.
Primarily mentioned in 1246, it transformed its look through the years through construction of new parts and demolition of some old ones. In addition, a terrible fate tracked the castle, as in 1679 caught by fire. The rebuilt of left ruins from the flamed castle was done by the Count Heinrich Trajektin.
The baroque elements were brought into the castle between 17th – 18th Century, thru the order of Count Wilhelm Moritz.
A gothic style and the Knight Hall was added to the castle complex, once the renovations took place under the order of Haunter Prince Ferdinand in 1845.
The distinguishing shape of the castle with towers and many specific external windows called oriels were given from the Prince George following the year 1880.
The castle since then has remained the same and visitors can observe a combination of a unique medieval gothic and baroque style of the architecture of the castle.