No, Neuschwanstein is not the only castle in Germany. In fact, Germany gives home to more than 25.000 castles, fortresses & palaces despite of decades of war throughout the centuries, like the Nine Years War, the Thirty Years War and WWII – not to forget alll the local rencounters and intrigues in history. Unfortunately, not all castles could be repaired or rebuilt completely.
As you will see you don´t need any expertise in history or architecture to notice that each castle has got its unique personality, purpose of life and relationship to its surroundings.
There are well-designed castles as well as organically grown ones that look like patchwork buildings.
I don´t want to provide you with an information overkill. Thus, I didn’t comment all castles & fortresses.
Dornröschenschloss (=Sleeping Beauty Castle) close to Sababurg / Hessen. The hill castle appears in 1334 as the Zappenburg to protect pilgrims to the nearby pilgrimage site of Gottsbüren. In 1490, the hunting lodge of Zapfenburg grew out of the medieval castle site. After 1957 the site was restored and since 1959 has housed an hotel. Visitors enjoy the Sababurg Wildlife Park and the virgin forrest Sababurg Urwald.
Herten Castle in the district of Recklinghausen / North-Rhine-Westfalia. It is located within an old English landscape garden incl. orangery & tabacco house and its first men-tioning dates back to 1376. In 1962, the main castle building was declared a cultural heritage monument.
The main castle today is a venue for numerous cultural events, such as classic concerts and exhibitions. Every year at whitsun, the castle’s park hosts a two-day arts and crafts market including several performances.
The castle houses a café with two rooms in the northern wing. During summer time, there is seating also on the wooden bridge across the moat. It is possible to have civil weddings in the castle.
The carriage house is used as a social center and day hospital.
Palatial Castle of Schwerin in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state (Northern Ger-many). For centuries the palace was the home of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg and later Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Today it serves as the residence of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament (German: Landtag). The castle is regarded as one of the most important works of romantic Historicism in Europe and is designated to become a World Heritage Site. It is nicknamed “Neuschwanstein of the North”.
Altena Castle, near Lenne in North Rhine-Westfalia. The castle was erected by the early Counts of Berg in the year 1108. Eventually, the House of Berg abandoned Altena and moved their residence to Hamm. Today, Altena is a tourist attraction. During the first weekend of August a yearly Medieval Festival takes place in the castle and town. Part of the castle is used as a restaurant.
Imperial Palace Goslar (11th Century, residence of the Salian Emporers) / Lower Saxony. 1253 was the last time a German king, William of Holland, resided at the palace. Thereafter it fell into decline.
The Imperial Palace is one of the most outstanding tourist attractions in the town of Goslar and the Harz region. The Kaiserhaus may be visited daily and guided tours are available, whilst, the old quarters are used for administrative purposes and exhibitions. In addition, in the Goslar Museum (town museum), there are exhibits from the palace district, especially from the Monastery of St. Simon and St. Jude, for example, the Krodo Altar and a number of stained glass windows.
Since 1992, the palace district, together with Goslar’s Old Town and the Rammelsberg Mine have been designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Braunfels Castle (13th century) in Hessen. The Castle was mentioned in 1246 first time. Originally the Castle served as a fortress for defense purposes towards the Duke of Nassau, then it became the family domicile of the Duke of Solms in 1280. The Castle was rebuilt / upgraded, but also conquered and damaged many times – in particular during the 30 years-war.
Today, the castle contains a family museum and showcases various collections of antiques.
Castle Satzvey (12th century; first time mentioned in 1368) in Mechernich / North Rhine-Westfalia. Every year in September the Castle host a medieval Tournament / knights festival for two days.
Burghausen Castle (= longest castle worldwide with 1051 m), the oldest parts have been built in the 10th century (but in fact the Celts and Romans have been the first settlers). The Castle was mentioned first time in the year 1054.
Glücksburg (= Good Luck Castle built 1582) is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe. It is the seat of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and was also used by the Danish kings. Situated on the Flensburg Fjord the castle is now a museum owned by a foundation, and is no longer inhabited by the ducal family. Its board of directors is chaired by Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, the current titular duke and head of the House of Glücksburg and House of Oldenburg.
Eltz Castle located between Koblenz and Trier was built in the 9th century – starting as a Manor that was extended to a fortress. Burg Eltz was never destroyed in history. Therefore, the old lady is in quite good shape. She is still family-owned but is partially open for visitors.
Wettin Castle (Saxony) is a former castle that stood near the town of Wettin on the Saale river in Germany, and which is the ancestral home of the House of Wettin, the dynasty that included several royal families, including that of the current ruling families of the United Kingdom and Belgium. That castle is a rebuilt ruin, used as part of a building that houses a school and other public institutions but other castles owned by the Wettin family, from the 15th century, still exist in Meissen,and on the Elbe river.
Schloss Marienburg close to Hanover (Lower Saxony). The castle was built between 1858 and 1867 as a birthday present by King George V of Hanover (reigned 1851–1866) to his wife, Marie of Saxe-Altenburg. Between 1714 and 1837 there had been virtually no royal court in Hannover as the House of Hannover had ruled the kingdoms of Hannover and Britain by personal union, and so the Castle was also built to serve as a suitable summer seat for the House of Hannover in Germany. The British Royale are still closely related to the House of Hannover.
Heidelberg Castles is the Landmark of the City of Heidelberg. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.
The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is served by an intermediate station on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway that runs from Heidelberg’s Kornmarkt to the summit of the Königstuhl.
The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
Castle Hohenschwangau (lit: Upper Swan County Palace) is a 19th-century palace in southern Germany. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. It is located in the German village of Hohenschwangau near the town of Füssen, part of the county of Ostallgäu in South-Western Bavaria, Germany, very close to the border with Austria. In the 12th century it was originally a Fortress, later on it became the summer & hunting (Focus on: bears) residence of the Wittelsbacher. Fortunately, the Castle was not damaged in WWII. Today, Hohenschwangau is a very popular tourist attraction.
Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. The third of three hilltop castles on the site, it is located atop Mount Hohenzollern, above and south of Hechingen in Baden-Württemberg. The first of three fortresses on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. None of the German emporeres stayed long-term in the Castle. In fact, it was a kind of show piece over the centuries.
Among the historical artifacts of Prussian history contained in the castle are the Crown of Wilhelm II, some of the personal effects of King Frederick the Great, and a letter from US President George Washington thanking Hohenzollern descendant Baron von Steuben for his service in the American Revolutionary War.
With over 350,000 visitors per year Hohenzollern castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany. The castle is privately owned by the House of Hohenzollern.
In 2015, parts of the 2016 thriller-horror film A Cure for Wellness were filmed at the Castle, closing it from 13–24 July 2015.Hohenzollern Castle as well as Peckforton Castle in England were also used in the filming of the 2017 TV adaption of The Worst Witch.
Lichtenstein Castle was built 1840 and is located in the Reutlingen district / Baden-Württemberg. Of course, there have been other castles at the same location before (11th century). Lichtenstein has inspired poets & novelist (like Wilhelm Hauff), architects, movie-makers, computer game developers and business men. Actually, the castle was copied several times worldwide.
Mespelbrunn Water Castle – Hamann Echter (vizedome of Aschaffenburg) got the house as a reward for his services against the Czechs (on 1st May 1412) and were allowed to add von / zu Mespelbrunn to his Family name. The Castle is located in the Spessart forrest, which was a hide-away for bandits. therefore, the Echters converted the manson to a Fortress quickly. Thanks to its hidden Location in the (at this time) wild, virgin forrest, the Castle was one of the very few lucky Castles that weren`t destroyed in the 30 yrs war. Today, the family of the Counts of Ingelheim (the last Echter died 1665) are living in the Castle.
Moritzburg is a fortified castle in Halle (Saale), Germany. The cornerstone of what would later become the residence of the Archbishops of Magdeburg was laid in 1484; the castle was built in the style of the Early Renaissance.
Since the end of the 19th century it has housed an arts museum which is recognised as being of national importance.
In 968, when the Archbishopric of Magdeburg was established by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, he granted the archbishop his Giebichenstein Castle near Halle. Already in the 13th century powerful aristocrats could, by buying privileges, reduce the influence of the sovereign, the Archbishop of Magdeburg, on the town. Thus, Halle had practically reached a state of political autonomy in 1263.
In the 15th century a group of the important guilds formed an opposition and demanded representation in the city council, which was until then dominated by the urban aristocrats. In 1479, the opposition conspired with the sovereign and opened the gates of the city for the Archbishop’s troops. After sparse resistance, Archbishop Ernest II. of Saxony, who was only 14 years of age at the time, moved into the town. As a consequence, the town lost its earlier gained freedoms and it was determined to build a castle in order to gain better control over the town and keep it obedient and quiet.
The Moritzburg houses the art museum of the state Saxony-Anhalt. It has a collection of artworks mainly from the 20th and 21st century.
Rastatt Castle also known as Residenzschloss Rastatt, is a Baroque Schloss in Rastatt, Germany. The palace and the garden were built between 1700 and 1707 by the Italian architect Domenico Egidio Rossi for Margrave Louis William of Baden-Baden. Visitors can tour the restored Baroque interior and gardens.
The palace is also home to two museums, the “Wehrgeschichtliches Museum” (military history museum) and the “Erinnerungsstätte für die Freiheitsbewegungen in der deutschen Geschichte” (memorial site for the German liberation movement).
Imperial Castle Cochem (Reichsburg) had its first documentary mention in 1130.
In 1151, it was occupied by King Konrad III, who declared it an Imperial castle. In 1688, the castle was overrun by French King Louis XIV’s troops in the course of the Nine Years’ War (known in Germany as the Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg, or War of the Palatine Suc-cession), and the following year, they destroyed it. The castle complex long lay in ruins before in 1868 it was bought by the Berlin businessman Louis Fréderic Jacques Ravené for 300 Goldmark and then reconstructed in the Gothic Revival style. Since 1978 it has been owned by the town of Cochem (Reichsburg GmbH).
Sanssouci is the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick’s need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. The palace’s name emphasises this; it is a French phrase (sans souci), which translates as “without concerns”, meaning “without worries” or “carefree”, symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.
Drachenburg (= Dragon Castle) is a private villa in palace style constructed in the late 19th century. It was completed in only two years (1882–84) on the Drachenfels hill in Königswinter, a German town on the Rhine near the city of Bonn. Baron Stephan von Sarter (1833–1902), a broker and banker, planned to live there, but never did.
Today the Palace is in the possession of the State Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is served by an intermediate station on the Drachenfels Railway.
Nordkirchen Castle is a palace situated in the town of Nordkirchen in the Coesfeld administrative district in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. The schloss was largely built between 1703 and 1734 and is known as the “Versailles of Westphalia” since it is the largest of the fully or partly moated Wasserschlösser in that region. It was originally one of the residences of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.
Schönburg Castle is a castle above the medieval town of Oberwesel in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
Schönburg Castle was first mentioned in history between the years 911 and 1166.
From the 12th century, the Dukes of Schönburg ruled over the town of Oberwesel and had also the right to levy customs on the Rhine river. The most famous was Friedrich von Schönburg – a much-feared man known as “Marshall Schomberg” – who in the 17th century served as a colonel and as a general under the King of France in France and Portugal and later also for the Prussians and for William Prince of Orange in England.
The Schönburg line finally died out.
The castle was burned down in 1689 by French soldiers during the Palatinate wars.
After 200 yrs the Castle was rebuilt. Today the Castle is leased by the family Hüttl, who successfully runs a hotel & restaurant in the castle.
Sigmaringen Castle was the princely castle and seat of government for the Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The first castle was mentioned in 1044. It was rebuilt following a fire in 1893, and only the towers of the earlier medieval fortress remain. Schloss Sigmaringen was a family estate of the Swabian Hohenzollern family, a cadet branch of the Hohenzollern family, from which the German Emperors and kings of Prussia came. During the closing months of World War II, Schloss Sigmaringen was briefly the seat of the Vichy French Government after France was liberated by the Allies. The castle and museums may be visited throughout the year, but only on guided tours.
The Löwenburg in Kassel (=Lions Castle) was built 1793. It was the summer residence and gravesite of the landgrave Wilhelm IX von Hessen-Kassel. From the art history perspective, the Castle is regarded as pathbreaking for the introduction of Neo-Gothic.
The Castle was seriously damaged in WWII. by the area bombing of the Royal Air Force and the US American Air Force but the damaged buildings / structures were rebuilt step by step. Further reconstruction work shall be completed by 2022.
Okay, okay… not to forget: The Neuschwanstein Castle!