• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

The Local's guide to German castles

The Local · 6 Oct 2011, 11:59

Published: 06 Oct 2011 11:59 GMT+02:00

From the ruins of Heidelberg, which American author Mark Twain loved to frequent, to the Disneyesque splendour of Neuschwanstein, swathed in the mystery of “Mad Ludwig’s” sudden death, castles across Germany don’t fit a particular cookie cutter shape.

The buildings’ purposes over the ages have been as diverse as their construction, and include a porcelain factory, a private office, a children’s summer camp, a hostel, government residences, Nazi headquarters and even wedding receptions.

Click here for a virtual tour of The Local's top thirteen castles

Some rivers flowing through Germany, such as the Rhine and Mosel, feature stretches where castles pop up along every second hill. In Rhineland-Palatinate, three medieval fortresses along the Rhine’s left bank have never been destroyed. One of the three, the Castle of Eltz, has been owned by the same family for over 800 years.

Germany originated as a patchwork of states, kingdoms and territories, which periodically fought each other, teamed up against common enemies, united and then faced off against each other again.

This political and military uncertainty created perfect conditions over the centuries for the construction of a huge range of castles, palaces and in-between buildings such as fortified monasteries. Although, even after the trend towards building the elaborate structures had subsided, rulers such as Landgrave Wilhelm IX in Hesse commissioned new buildings designed to resemble ancient ruins.

Story continues below…

Legends and myths have, of course, grown along with the battlements, and while Schwerin’s parliamentary seat may not really have a small ghost roaming its halls, the island palace may still be worth a visit.

Erin Huggins

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:13 October 6, 2011 by gtappend
So which are the best 12 of the 13 shown?
00:18 October 7, 2011 by zeddriver
While that's a really subjective question. I recommend seeing as many castles as you can while living here. I even enjoy seeing the ruins that are nothing more than a few walls in the forest. I find it fun and it stimulates the imagination trying to envision what it was like living there. And wondering what events caused them to be abandoned. I have lived here for 1 year and have been to 13. As there are 25,000 castles and ruins in Germany. I only have 24,987 to see in the next 4 years.
05:31 October 7, 2011 by Shirazz
Nice.

I've been to 80 percent of the castles shown here. Was fun to guess them as the pix downloaded before seeing the names.

Ruins are also very interesting. One of my favorites is Burg Frankenstein in Darmstadt. Been there many times. They also hold spooky Halloween fest there every year. I even made a TV show of it.
18:26 October 7, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Has anyone seen the roman ruins in Mainz and Trier? Awesome stuff for those who love history!
17:52 October 10, 2011 by bsullivan
I have been to both Mainz and Trier and see the roman ruins. I have been able to see "The Burning of Heidelberg Castle" and the salt mines of Salzburg. I have been to see many of Germany's many beautiful things. I miss my home and wish I could go back for a visit.
18:49 October 16, 2011 by yummy.german
The article promises castles, but unfortunately later on confuses castles and palaces. Would have been better if the author had concentraded on castles and presented palaces in a separate article.

Photo 13 claims that Wewelsburg is located in Rhineland-Palatinate.

In fact it is located in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Today's headlines
'We'll freeze Turkey talks' warns EU as arrests continue
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a radical purge against anyone suspected of complicity in the coup attempt. Photo: DPA

As Turkish authorities on Friday widened their sweeping post-coup crackdown to the business sector, the European Union's enlargement commissioner implicitly warned that the bloc would freeze Turkey's accession talks if the crackdown violated the rule of law.

I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

Opinion
How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
10,527
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd