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2020-06-10 00:00:23

Hohenzollern Castle: ancestral nest of the Prussian monarchy and the Kaisers of the German Empire

Hohenzollern Castle: ancestral nest of the Prussian monarchy and the Kaisers of the German Empire

Mount Hohenzollern (855 m) is 68 km from Stuttgart, on its top there is a 19th-century castle of the same name, similar to a 3 D- decoration for romantic cinema. The existing castle on this site is the third in a row, the first appeared in the XI century. Medieval castles were built due to urgent need: the rulers constantly fought, and more often defended their property from raids by close or distant neighbors. They valued powerful walls and solid buildings.

Castles that appeared in the XVIII-XIX centuries are designed to remind of the greatness and wealth of the dynasty, its ancient roots. In addition, this is the embodiment of the romantic dreams of their owners, whom the Middle Ages seemed fanned with glory and chivalrous spirit. Such are the famous castles: Czech Hluboka nad Vltavou, German Neuschwanstein and Hohenzollern.

Hohenzollern Castle is a complex of many towers of various shapes with beautiful peaked roofs and serrated edges that surround the main structure. The main purpose of the castle is to delight and surprise: on the top of the mountain towers that go skyward look majestic. Cinema could not pass by such scenery: the film “Medicine for Health” was shot on the territory of the castle.

Hohenzollern Castle - the embodied power of the family

In the XI century, a representative of the Swabian ducal dynasty built the Zollern castle on a high mountain. Nearby residents nicknamed him Hohenzollern - "high Zollern" - and his descendants got this name. The genus of the Hohenzollerns became rich thanks to successful marriages with princesses, and annexed new lands to their possessions. One of its branches began to rule Romania, and the second centuries dominated the richest and most influential German land - Prussia. All the great German rulers left this family; monuments were erected in the castle.

In the XV century, after a long siege, the castle surrendered and was completely destroyed by the invaders. The Swabian branch of the dynasty rebuilds a new castle in the middle of the 15th century. In the XVII century, the castle rescues its owners during the Thirty Years' War, in which almost all of Europe participated, and after peaceful times came, and the owners moved to more comfortable dwellings. The castle is empty, sometimes used as a barracks, is gradually being destroyed.

In 1819, the Crown Prince of Prussia, traveling, examined the family estate and decided that the family nest of the great family should be rebuilt. Having become King of Prussia Frederick William IV, he ordered the construction of a new castle in place of the old one. The old chapel of St. Michael remained from the old castle, which was preserved by priests.

The castle was designed by the famous Berlin architect Friedrich Stüler. Frederick William IV did not live 6 years before the construction was completed, and it was completed during the reign of William I, the future Kaiser of the united German Empire.

From the very beginning, Hohenzollern was intended only to demonstrate the greatness of the dynasty, so from almost the first days it became a museum. The personal belongings of famous family members were brought here, the castle was opened for visitors. It was only in 1945, at the end of World War II, that the Hohenzollern became home to the last Crown Prince of Prussia, Wilhelm and his wife Cecilia, who fled from their estate. Spouses were buried here in the castle.

Hohenzollern Castle is currently still privately owned: it belongs to the descendants of the family and partly to the Catholic Church.

Modern Museum: parking lots, shuttles, concerts and its own brewery

300,000 tourists visit Hohenzollern annually. It is convenient to get to the castle from the town of Hechingen. At the foot of the mountain there is a parking for travelers arriving by car: from there you can climb on foot or take the shuttle, which takes tourists uphill to the castle.

  1. In the halls of the castle, museum staff tell the story of the dynasty and exhibits in German and English. The main relics of the museum are the Prussian crown and the shot-through uniform of Frederick II the Great. Memorabilia belonging to the great representatives of the clan are collected here from all over Europe. In the courtyard of the castle is a gallery of statues of great rulers from the genus Hohenzollern.
  2. The castle, as expected, has its own legend: the ghost of the countess in a white dress appears here before the death of every high-ranking member of the family name.
  3. The Masonic signs found on the walls suggest that the castle served as a Masonic lodge.
  4. The castle has a restaurant serving Swabian cuisine, and contrary to the usual restaurants in tourist places, the prices here are not too high. In the summertime, you can drink local beer in the courtyard, which is brewed in the castle, and in the winter, a Christmas market opens here.

The castle serves as a wonderful decoration for holding concerts, festivals, and various events on its territory:

  • drama theater lovers are invited to watch Shakespeare in the open air
  • fireworks lovers - Shooting Star Night light show
  • on Saturdays and Sundays, tourists are invited to Sokolnichy day off, talk about the features of falconry
  • In the summer, an open-air cinema operates, showing films in German.

Breathtaking views from the Hohenzollern mountain are considered landmarks of the castle and deserve special attention. The photographs taken here will adorn any photo gallery, but photographing is prohibited inside the museum.

A trip to the Hohenzollern Castle will be romantic, informative and eventful.

* 19th century castle.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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