Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.
In the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, lies one of Germany’s most beautiful castles: Plön Castle. The castle gets its name from the city it is situated in, and the edge of the lake it is built upon. The castle has a colorful and chequered history. It was first built during the 10th century as a defensive fortification on a hill. Schleswig-Holstein is a very flat state and a hill was seen as a natural place to build such a structure. The castle originally called Plön Castle was built on an island on the Lake Plön, but was later moved to the bank of the lake. Plön was initially under Danish rule. During the Danish Civil War – also called the Count’s Feud – the castle was burned and then rebuilt. The estate was transferred to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg. It was later granted to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Plön.
Between 1618 and 1648, Europe was embroiled in the Thirty Years’ War between Protestant and Catholic kingdoms. In the middle of the war, in 1632, the Duke of Plön decided it was high time the castle be rebuilt. Perhaps the timing wasn’t so right, but luckily, the castle was built on the double and completed in just three years. This time, though, it was built in the Renaissance style and was intended as a residence (German Residenz) for the Dukes of Plön. During the next two centuries, the castle was renovated from the inside and changed hands many times between the Danes and the Prussians. It eventually fell into Prussian hands in the late 1800s.
The Prussians decided to make Plön Castle into a military school for cadets in 1864. It remained largely so until the end of the Second World War. When the war ended, it served as the headquarters of British Forces in Schleswig-Holstein due to the fact that it has survived aerial bombings. From 1946 to 2001, the castle became a boarding school. In 2002, it was sold to the Fielmann Akademie foundation and has now been completely renovated and restored to its former glory.
Plön Castle has many a beautiful sight to see. Not just outside the castle, but inside as well. The Knights’ Hall, the Galery Hallway and the various luxurious bedrooms inside the castle are a must see. The Plön Hall (Plöner Saal) was originally located at this castle as well but, has now been moved to the Gut Emkendorf manor house located about an hours drive away. Why this was done, is anyone’s guess.
Tours of Plön Castle are conducted by the Fielmann Akademie. Unfortunately, their website does not mention the tours or their prices. However, it is best to call and ask. As far as I know, tours are conducted by them. While in the neighborhood, its a cardinal sin not to visit any of the numerous beautiful lakes in the area. The city of Kiel is also nearby. It’s a wonderful city and if you are a ship buff, and feeling adventurous, you can even do a Kiel Canal tour. As if all the lakes in the area weren’t enough already, Plön Castle is also situated close to the Baltic Sea. Take some time to check it out as well. There are plenty of beaches to be found all along the very long coastline.