The Pearl of the North: Plön Castle


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.


Plön Castle viewed from Lake Plön.

Plön Castle viewed from Lake Plön.

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. Continue reading

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Straight Out of a Book: Lichtenstein Castle


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.


Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle

In the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany, lies one of the country’s most underrated castles: Lichtenstein. Located about an hour’s drive from the beautiful city of Stuttgart, this castle is perched on a cliff, overlooking the Black Forest. Lichtenstein Castle gets its name from the Knights of Lichtenstein who were a noble family in the then Kingdom of Württemberg. The family had the castle built in 1390, after deciding to relocate from a fortress located down the mountain from the new location. This decision proved to be more than worth it because Lichtenstein Castle withstood every single attack mounted on it throughout the Middle Ages. In 1567, the Lichtenstein family – which, by now, were Dukes – shifted their seat to another castle, and the Lichtenstein Castle was ignored. By 1687, the last of the Lichtensteins perished fighting the Ottoman Turks, and no one tended to the castle at all. By 1802, all but the foundations of Lichtenstein Castle remained, and somebody had the audacity to construct an unpretentious hunting lodge over it! Continue reading

The Presidential Palace: Bellevue


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.


Bellevue Palace is the official residence of the President of Germany.

Bellevue Palace is the official residence of the President of Germany.

This week, I will write about a palace which, in my opinion, is quite ignored by tourists and Germans alike due to its inaccessibility. But just because one cannot go inside unless invited, doesn’t mean we should overlook it. Bellevue Palace is located in Berlin and serves as the official residence of the President of Germany. The President stays in the palace and receives guests and foreign dignitaries there as well. Due to this fact, the palace is not open usually to the general public, however, if you decide to take up German citizenship and are among the chosen few invited to take it directly from the President himself, you will be invited there for sure. Of course, there are other ceremonies happening at the Bellevue Palace for the public round the year. Continue reading

Majestic in Ruins: Heidelberg Castle


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.


The Heidelberg Castle.

The Heidelberg Castle.

In my first post of 2015, I have chosen one of Germany’s most well-known and recognizable castles which takes its name from a city which is quite popular with Germans and foreigners alike: Heidelberg Castle. Located in the city of Heidelberg, in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, this castle is a landmark. It dominates the skyline of the old city because of its position atop a hill towering over the Neckar valley. The castle was the primary residence of the Prince Electors of the Rhine, and is a great example of German Renaissance architecture.  Continue reading

Sigmaringen: The Castle on a Cliff


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.


Sigmaringen Castle.

Sigmaringen Castle.

Hohenzollern Castle is not the only castle which can be attributed to one of Europe’s most famous royal houses. The castle was present as far back as 1077 in records of the area. This points to not only the long history of the castle itself, but also of the Houses of Hohenzollern and Sigmaringen, the latter family being the namesake of the castle. The castle is located on a chalk projection in the Jura Mountains in the Swabian Alps in the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg.  Continue reading

The New Palace Herrenchiemsee: Ludwig’s Versailles


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.


Last time, before my computer fiasco, I explored the Linderhof Palace. If you have not read that post, I suggest you read it before continuing with this one. Our story starts in 1878 when the Linderhof Palace was nearing completion. King Ludwig II of Bavaria was now in search of a new project to play out his fantasies of fairy tale castles in perfect splendor. He felt justice had not been done by the Linderhof Palace to King Louis XIV ‘the Sun King’ of France and the Versailles Palace. Therefore, Louis – spendthrift that he was – embarked on the creation of a new palace on the island of Herrenchimesee*. This island is present in the beautiful Chiemsee Lake about an hour’s drive from Munich. The palace was unimaginatively named the New Palace.

The palace is located on an island on the Chiemsee Lake.

The palace is located on an island on the Chiemsee Lake.

Before construction started on the New Palace, it went through 13 planning stages in which Ludwig is said to have taken an avid and personal interest. Work finally started in 1878. The original plans for the palace were grand; there was to be a huge complex with a main alley of sorts with gardens and a main building and many buildings were to be built around it. Unfortunately, Ludwig died in 1886 due to mysterious circumstances by drowning in the Starnberg Lake near the Neuschwanstein Castle and the New Palace was never completed. Only the main alley with its gardens and the main castle building were completed. Sections of the castle, specially those left incomplete due to the king’s death were later demolished and Ludwig’s dream of a Bavarian Versailles never came to fruition. Continue reading

The Mad King’s Obsession: Linderhof Palace


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.


The German state of Bavaria is known as the Land of Castles, and rightly so. We will explore today another of the ‘Mad King’ Ludwig II of Bavaria’s castles: Linderhof Palace. I have already posted about the Neuschwanstein Castle, another of Ludwig’s creations. The site where this palace was built had previously been a hunting lodge for King Maximilian II, Ludwig II’s father. Ludwig had grand plans for the site. He wanted a Byzantine palace with lots of grand buildings. Due to the financial burden of building such a palace, plans had to be altered and Ludwig had to settle for a more downgraded castle. But the new castle was by no means lacking in grandeur. Linderhof Palace was to be built with Ludwig’s favorite palace in mind: Versailles.

The Linderhof Palace

The Linderhof Palace

Linderhof gets its name from the weeping willows (Linde in German) found in the forest around the area. The palace was built from 1869 to 1879 in different phases and was intended to be a home away from home and a refuge for King Ludwig II much as Versailles was for Queen Marie Antoinette. King Ludwig II was a great admirer of King Louis XIV the ‘Sun King’ of France and sought to emulate him through his castles. This was why Linderhof was built in the style of Versailles. In fact, certain statues and two pavilions at the Linderhof Palace were acquired at the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris. Continue reading

Eltz Castle: Home of the Knights


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.


Nestled between the Moselle River valley and the city of Koblenz in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is the Eltz Castle. The castle – meant to be a hill fort – was gifted to Rudolf von Eltz by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa in 1157. It was intended to protect the strategically vital trading route on the Moselle River and is, thus, a great place for knight enthusiasts. The castle is encircled on three sides by the Elzbach River which is a tributary of the Moselle. In medieval times, this added to the defense of the castle. Today, it serves as a feature adding beauty to the castle surroundings.

The castle is located in the woods in the Moselle valley.

The castle is located in the woods in the Moselle valley.

The Eltz Castle has remained in the same family for over 850 years. During the centuries since the construction of the castle, the Eltz family gained prominence through their control of trade on the Moselle and Rhine Rivers, Trier and Mainz. In 1733, the family was given the title of the Counts of Eltz. TheEltz family’s fortunes suffered a setback during the French rule in the Rhineland from 1794-1815. Afterwards, through 1845-1888, during the days of the Prussian Empire Count Karl zu Eltz embarked on a major restoration of the castle. The castle was restored again between 2009 and 2011 by the State Office of Historic Monuments of Rhineland-Palatinate and is now a tourist attraction once again. Continue reading

Mecklenburg’s Versailles: Ludwigslust Castle


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.


Located about 40 km south of Schwerin Castle is the picturesque Ludwigslust Castle in the state of Mecklenburg-West Pommerania. Ludwigslust Castle gets its name from Prince Ludwig Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin who ordered it built in 1724 as a hunting lodge. The lodge was expanded between 1772-76 to become a residence of the dukes and here is where they eventually lived until 1837. The castle became a museum from the 1920s onwards until land reforms in East Germany led to it being used for administrative business. In 1986, it again became a museum and is slowly being restored to its original glory.

Ludwigslust Castle

Ludwigslust Castle

Ludwigslust Castle is often referred to as the “little Versailles in Mecklenburg” in reference to the famous castle in France. It is built in the Late Baroque style and has various building in its surroundings complementing the castle itself. A pool of water is just across from the castle building adding to its beauty and reverence.  While Schwerin Castle goes for the shock and awe approach to castles, Ludwigslust goes for the more soothing touch. The castle and its grounds are a great place to spend a Sunday, walking around or having a picnic. Continue reading

Sanssouci Palace: Germany’s Heritage


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.


The city of Potsdam is located near Berlin in the state of Brandenburg. It’s known as the City of Castles and rightly so. In the city is located Sanssouci Park which houses two castles and numerous other buildings of beauty as well as immense historical importance. The palaces and parks – Sanssouci Park among them – of Berlin and Potsdam are together a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Before I tell you more about this place, let me say this: you have to go to this place to really fathom the sheer size as well as the great beauty of the different buildings and the park. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

King Frederick II the Great of Prussia is credited with the creation and subsequent expansion of the Sanssouci Park and the various structures and monument within it. He succeeded his father King Frederick William I on the Prussian throne in 1740.

The Sanssouci Palace with the beautiful terraces at the front.

The Sanssouci Palace with the beautiful terraces at the front.

His primary residence was the Sanssouci Palace and almost immediately after taking over, he set about expanding the grounds around the castle. Eventually the park grew to a size of 290 hectares and 70km of walkaways!

Continue reading