Germany has a long and colourful history, told in the many old buildings which dot the country. There are many intensely romantic Schloss, or castles, in Germany – here are just five of these beautiful historic monuments:
This castle sits at 855m on its imposing peak, around 50km south of Stuttgart in the foothills of the Schwäbische Alb. The ancestral home of the Hohenzollern family, the current castle, built on the site of previous earlier castles, was constructed between 1846 and 1867. Today, it is one of the most visited of Germany’s castles, and houses an interesting museum with many artefacts including the crown worn by Prussian kings.
Built in the 12th Century, this untouched-by-war, mediaeval castle perches atop a craggy rock in the middle of dark forests between Koblenz and Trier in the Moselle river valley. It still has some of the original furniture, and the treasure packed armoury held here is said to be one of the best in Europe. The reason for the unique preservation of this castle is that it remained untouched by war throughout the centuries.
This is a fairly recent entrant to the field of German castles, only having been built in the 19th Century to honour the mediaeval Knights of Lichtenstein. But this neo-gothic castle is very striking in its position atop a pinnacle of rock only reachable by means of a bridge which reaches across to it from a neighbouring hill. There was a castle on this site as early as the 12th Century, but it had fallen into disrepair by the time that the current castle was built.
Heidelberg castle stands majestically on wooded hillside over the old town, dominantly looming over the entrance to the valley in which sits the historic city of Heidelberg. These castle ruins are counted amongst the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. A lot has assailed this castle since the first fortification was built here in the 13th Century. An earlier building was completely destroyed in the Thirty Years War, and another was decimated by the French in the 17th Century. It was struck by lightening in 1764, and stones from the castle were gradually stolen to build the houses of the town below. All of these calamities lead to subsequent re-buildings, which have contributed to the charmingly mixed architectural style of the castle.
This is perhaps the best known and best loved castle in Germany. Its fairytale spires were the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This castle is picturesquely situated in the Bavarian Alps near the town of Fussen. It was never built for strategy or defence, it was essentially a giant folly, a fancy of the eccentric monarch, Ludwig II of Bavaria. Inside and outside it is a testament to his interesting taste, eclectic style, and extravagance. It may be a little crazy, like the man himself, but the romantic appeal of this castle can not be denied.
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