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Castles of Germany
German Castles and their History
A beautiful palace that survived the ravages of WWII; one of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany; and a castle that was set ablaze several times, partly demolished, looted, and left for ruin until extensive renovations brought it back to the beauty it is today. This and more can be found on this page of German castles and palaces.
The Castles on this page are: Sanssouci Palace, Burg Eltz, Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg, Ludwigslust Palace, Schweriner Palace, Wewelsburg, and Hardenstein Castle.
Located at Postdam, Schloss Sanssouci built in the Rococo style, was the retreat of Frederick the Great, and was designed by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747, but was finished by Jan Bouman, a Dutch architect.
The grounds of Sanssouci Palace is covered with grand gardens and beautiful architect, which includes fountains, temples, pavilions, and statues. In the 19th century, Sanssouci Palace was enlarged by order of the resident of that time, Frederick William IV, the Grandnephew of Frederick the Great.
During WWII, works of art were transferred from the notable residences in the area to Brandenburg (Rheinsburg) and Thuringia(and Bernterode im Eichsfeld), but the storehouse in Brandenburg was discovered and fell into the hands of the Soviet Union. Many of these artifacts were not returned to Germany, but the American soldiers found the pieces at Thurnigia, and these items were sent to Charlottenburg palace in West Berlin. Sanssouci Palace itself was left in good condition despite fighting in the area.
Sanssouci Palace and Park
Located in Moselkern, Burg Eltz is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Germany. Built on a rock spur, Eltz Castle is set in a picturesque area overlooking the Moselle River.
When construction began on the original part of the castle, the Platteltz Keep, is unknown, although there is mention of Eltz Castle as far back as 1157. In 1472, the RÃ¼benach section was completed, and later the Rodendorf and Kempenich sections. Eltz Castle has been home to these three branches of the family at the same time, since these families were co-owners, and descendants of a common ancestor.
The inheritance laws in Germany at that time dictated that properties were to be split amongst all heirs, and these heirs would unite under a single castle, which made it affordable and easier to maintain.
For visitor's information visit Suite 101.
Large photo of Burg Eltz above courtesy of Sir Gawain.
Located in Ludwigsburg, Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg is one of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany. Building began in 1704, under orders of Duke Eberhard Ludwig, and got it's start as a hunting lodge. Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg was originally built in the Baroque style, but modifications were made by successors, and two different styles emerged, Rococo and Empire.
When King Wilhelm I of WÃ¼rttemberg came into power, he preferred other palaces to the Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg, resulting in the building falling into disrepair, and a decayed garden.
Luckily, the Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg was not damaged during WWII, and work began on restoring the grand palace to it's early glory. The Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg, now restored, also houses three museums: the Baroque Gallery, the Porcelain Museum, and the Baroque Fashion Museum. For visitor's information visit Stuttgart Tourist.
Large photo of Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg in the polaroid above courtesy of Kadavy.
Located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schloss Ludwigslust was built in 1724 as a hunting lodge for Prince Christian Ludwig. The prince loved Ludwigslust so much, that it became his residence when he became duke. As the town grew, so did the need for a grander building, and in 1772, building began on a grander Ludwigslust Palace just behind the older hunting lodge. This new palace with many of it's surrounding buildings and attractions were built at the behest of Friedrich the Pious, who wanted his own mini Versailles.
The property of Ludwigslust Palace is surrounded by several buildings, a canal, a cascade, fountains, monuments, and castle gardens. Today Ludwigslust Palace is the home of the Staatliches Museum Schwerin. For visitor's information visit Germany Tourism.
Large photo of Schloss Ludwigslust above courtesy of DerLangeFrank.
Located in the city of Schwerin, the date of construction is unclear, but a castle is reported to have existed at this site since 973. In 1160, a fort that stood at this site was destroyed, but a new fort was built in 1167. In the 12th century, the area saw the need for a castle, and beginning in 1525, the fortress was transformed into a comfortable and grand castle.
During the 16th century, Schweriner Schloss
fell into disrepair, and in the early 1800's the Grand Duke Friedrich ordered his architect Georg Adolph Demmler to rebuilding the castle. The castle wasn't completely renovated during the Grand Duke's lifetime, and his successor Friedrich Franz II wanted the castle to be refurbished using several different styles. The next successor also had his own ideas of what the property should look like, and made a few other changes.
In 1913, Schweriner Schloss caught fire, and renovations are ongoing because of the massive size of this spectacular castle. Schweriner Schloss is now the seat of the state parliament. For visitor's information go to Germany Tourism.
Located in the village of Wewelsburg, a Renaissance castle, which overlooks the village, was built between the years of 1603-1609. Built for the Prince bishops of the area, the Wewelsburg Castle has seen its share of battle. Destroyed in the Thirty Years War by Swedish troops, Wewelsburg was rebuilt by prince-bishop Theodor Adolf von der Recke, with work continuing by order of Ferdinand von FÃ¼rstenberg.
In 1631, witch trials were held at the castle, with legend claiming that thousands of these accused witches were tortured within it's walls.
The Wewelsburg Castle fell into grave disrepair in the 17th century, and in 1815, fire destroyed the North Tower. Beginning in 1924, minor renovations were begun on Wewelsburg Castle, and it became a cultural center. In 1934, however, SS-leader Heinrich Himmler intended the castle to become the ReichsfÃ¼hrerschule SS (Reich SS Leadership School).
Work began on Wewelsburg and major improvements were made to the castle, but much of it was done by the hands of the prisoners of the German concentration camps. Later Heinrich Himmler wanted Wewelsburg to be the "center of the new world", with grand plans for the entire area, but which would also displace the people of several villages, fortunately, his plans were never realized. Wewelsburg Castle was to be destroyed to keep it out of the hands of the Allied Forces, and the South Tower was demolished, then the castle was set on fire; afterwards, the castle was opened to looting. Two days later, the U.S. Third Infantry Division seized the grounds.
In 1949,restoration began on Wewelsburg Castle, and in 1973, the castle became a museum and war monument and on March 20, 1982, Wewelsburg re-opened with several survivors of the nearby Niederhagen concentration camp in attendance. A memorial was built in honor of the Niederhagen prisoners.
The castle is also home to one of the largest youth hostels in Germany. For visitors information visit this lovely website: KreisMuseum Wewelsburg.
Large photo of Wewelsburg courtesy of Core Force.
Located in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Burg Hardenstein is a castle steeped in folk-lore. Now a ruin, Hardenstein Castle sits in an area that was once an important mining center.
Legend has it that the Dwarf King (or Kobold King), Goldemar, lived at Hardenstein Castle. According to the legend, King Goldemar lived with Neveling von Hardenberg at the castle. The King brought good luck to the family of Neveling von Hardenberg asking nothing but to sit at his table, receive food for himself and his horse, and provide a stable for his horse. King Goldemar forbid anyone seeing him, though, as another condition of good fortune for those at the castle; however, they could touch him and hear him.
The good luck continued until a man tried to expose him by catching his footprints in some ashes. Outraged, King Goldemar hacked the man to pieces, cooked him, and ate him. The next day, Goldemar was gone, leaving behind a note stating that the castle would be as unlucky in the future as it had been lucky in the past.
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