Monday, April 9, 2012

Hohenzollern Castle


After we returned from Cologne last month, we visited the two castles of Weinheim, the Windeck Ruins and Wachenburg.  Seeing those two castles sparked my interest, so soon after we traveled nearly two hours to a mountaintop just outside of Hechingen to explore the Hohenzollern Castle.


Hohenzollern Castle is the fairy tale palace of your dreams, manifested.  Resting in the foothills of the Swabian Alps, the castle towers more than 700 feet over the towns of Hechingen and Bisingen, dominating the skyline and providing gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.  This incredible castle is considered the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family, which rose to prominence during the Middle Ages and eventually became German Emperors.

The structure that exists today is actually the third Hohenzollern Castle to stand in its spot.  The first, despite being considered "the most fortified House in Germany," was destroyed completely in 1423.  Construction on the second castle began soon after in 1454, and the Hohenzollern seat was reborn stronger and larger than ever.  This structure weathered the Thirty Years' War, but was sadly neglected, and fell into total disrepair by the beginning of the 19th century.  Only the chapel still remains from the medieval castle.

Hohenzollern Castle was then largely ignored until Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia visited it in 1819, and decided to have it restored once more.  In 1844, having been crowned King Frederick William IV, he wrote in a letter, "The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, it was especially the sunset we watched from one of the Castle bastions, ... now this adolescent dream turned into the wish to make the Hohenzollern Castle habitable again..."  And so in 1850 construction of the castle began one last time, producing, for the most part, the structure we are left with today.  In the years since, the castle has been filled with valuable artifacts by one family member or another, most of which are still displayed for tourists.  Visitor's fees fund the castle's upkeep entirely.


I absolutely adored this castle.  For ten euro each, we were able to explore the outside areas and chapel on our own, as well as partake in a guided tour of the inside.  There are not words for the beauty of the view from castle grounds, or for the decadence of the interior (no cameras are permitted inside, sadly).








(Searching for lost treasures behind loose stones.)






(Statues of various prominent members of the Hohenzollern family.) 





 (Entering the inner grounds.)













{History Sources: Castle Website, Wikipedia}

12 comments:

  1. every version of myself (past and present) is so jealous. i'm definitely adding this to my bucket list. it looks amazing. i really like the picture of you sitting in the window.

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    1. Thank you! :) We loved it so much. I really recommend going if you ever get the chance. It isn't really near any other major attraction, but it's well worth the road trip.

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  2. OK first of all, your outfit is totally adorable.
    Second, the image 2324 and the last one are stunning!!
    Are you a closet history buff?

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    1. Thanks!! :) And no, I'm not a history buff by any means. lol. I read up on this place because the name "Hohenzollern" is the same as the bridge in Cologne, the "Hohenzollernbrucke," which I loved. So I finally figured out that the Hohenzollerns are a prominant family (as mentioned above), that the statues on the four corners of the bridge represent noteworthy Hohenzollern family members, and that this castle is their ancestral seat.

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  3. this is absolutely unbelievable! I can just imagine what the inside must look like... wow!

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    1. There are some photos of the inside on the castle website (linked to above). It really was incredible.

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  4. Oh my gosh. I wish you could've taken pictures inside! I can only imagine how beautiful it must look on the inside if that's how beautiful it is on the outside! It really is like a fairytale popped out into real life.

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    1. There are some photos of the inside on the castle website: burg-hohenzollern.com :)

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  5. Oh wow, I never would have thought Germany had so many castles (not sure why...) but this does look like a fairy tale!

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    1. I never associated Germany with castles until I moved here. But then, I didn't know anything ABOUT Germany until I moved here, either. ;)

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  6. I am SOOOOO JEALOUS right now! I instantly fell in love with this castle the first time I saw it (in the internet)! I'd like to see the interior but... can't you really secretly take pictures inside? =)) This is probably my favorite castle!!!

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    1. If we'd been in a larger group, and I'd had a smaller camera I might have managed to sneak a few, but there were only about ten of us touring, and my camera is a beast. ;) This castle is my favorite of the ones I've seen, too. But Burg Stahleck comes in at a close second, and when we go see Neuschwanstein next month, it just might beat it out of first place.

      Here's a link to Burg Stahleck, if you're interested: http://address-the-world.blogspot.com/2012/07/bacharach-burg-stahleck.html

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