One of the most picturesque castles in Europe can be found in the southwest of Germany.
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting facts about Hohenzollern Castle!
1. It’s located on top of a mountain in southwestern Germany
Hohenzollern Castle is one of the multiple castles that was built on top of a mountain in Germany. Perhaps the most famous of all is Neuschwanstein Castle in the southwest of Bavaria, which can easily be described as the epitome of Romantic architecture.
This castle is located on Mount Hohenzollern at a height of 855 meters (2,805 feet) above sea level in the Swabian Jura. This is a mountain range in the German state of Baden-Württemberg located in the utmost southwestern corner of the country.
It’s situated just to the south of the town of Hechingen and about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the south of Stuttgart, the capital of this state, in absolutely stunning surroundings.
2. The castle covers the entire summit of the mountain
One of the most amazing facts about Hohenzollern Castle is that it covers the entire summit of the mountain. It’s a large complex that consists of 4 main parts:
- Military buildings – The most prominent military building is the huge “Eagle Gate.”
- Palatial buildings – These are arranged in a U-shape and have 4 towers.
- Chapels – There are Protestant and Catholic chapels located at the end of the palatial buildings.
- Gardens – Multiple green areas are located within the complex.
3. It’s the third castle that was built on the site
The magnificent location on top of the mountain is also the perfect strategic location to build a fortified structure. That’s exactly what the Counts of Zollern thought in the 11th century so they decided to construct the first castle here.
Little is known about the original castle as it was only mentioned for the first time as “Castro Zolre” in 1267. The rulers in the area, the “House of Hohenzollern,” were mentioned for the first time over 2 centuries earlier in 1061.
It must have been pretty impressive at the time, though, because contemporary sources referred to it as “the crown of all castles in Swabia.” Whether they referred to the building itself or the unique location of the fortress is unknown.
4. The original castle was completely destroyed in the 15th century
Regardless of the castle being praised as “the most fortified House in Germany,” the original castle was still completely destroyed during a siege in the year 1423.
It didn’t take long though before a new and even larger castle was constructed on the location. Construction of the second castle started in the year 1454 and even more fortified than the original.
5. The second Hohenzollern Castle had quite a turbulent history
The history of the second castle can be described as turbulent as it had multiple owners over the course of several centuries. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), the castle fell in hands of the Württemberger troops which controlled the region of Swabia at the time.
It came under Habsburg control shortly after and as occupied by French troops during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). After this war it returned back to Habsburg control.
The castle was, however, completely neglected and became a total ruin at the end of the 18th century. As a result, just about all the buildings of the second castle except for the Chapel of St. Michael were demolished.
6. The current castle dates back to halfway the 19th century
The destiny of Hohenzollern Castle changed in the year 1819 because of a remarkable journey. When crown-prince Frederick William IV of Prussia climbed Mount Hohenzollern that year to learn more about his family’s history, he came up with the idea to completely rebuild the ruined castle.
He clearly fell in love with the amazing sunset that he experienced standing on top of the castle’s ruins during his youth. He never forgot it after he became King and finally made concrete plans to make his dream come through in the 1840s.
The current castle was built between 1846 and 1867 and was completely financed by the Hohenzollern family, who still owns the castle until today.
7. The architect drew inspiration from a popular style in England
The King hired one of the most renowned architects at the time in Germany, a man named Friedrich August Stüler (1800-1865), who was in charge of multiple projects involving churches, castles, and other monumental structures in the 19th century.
Some of his most notable works include the “Neues Museum” in Berlin, the “Electoral Palace” in Koblenz, and “Schwerin Castle,” which looks remarkably similar to Hohenzollern Castle.
The castle was designed in an English Gothic Revival architectural style with multiple influences from castles that were built in the Loire Valley in France.
8. The castle was never meant to become a royal residence
One of the most interesting facts about Hohenzollern Castle was that it was never constructed to serve a purpose as a residence for the Kings and Emperors of Germany. It was solely built for nostalgic reasons and nobody permanently lived here.
In that sense, it can be described as a prime example of the Romantic movement of the 19th century, even though the design itself didn’t include the exaggerated elements.
The longest that any monarch stayed in the caste was a couple of months. This was Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife, Crown Princess Cecilie, after their flight from Potsdam during World War II. Both are also buried here because their estate in Brandenburg was occupied by the Soviet Union after the war.
9. It houses a famous crown and interesting historical artifacts
The castle today can be described as both an open-air museum which brings visitors back to the time that the castle served a military purpose, as well as a place that displays various Prussian artifacts.
Some of these artifacts include a uniform worn by King Frederick the Great who ruled over the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786. Another fascinating object housed at the castle is a letter from US President George Washington in which he thanked one of the Hohenzollern rulers for their help during the American Revolutionary Wars.
Perhaps the most amazing artifact is the Crown of Wilhelm II, an unofficial crown that was created in 1888 and which is decorated with 142 rose-cut diamonds and 18 diamonds and features a cross decorated with even more diamonds which rests on a large sapphire.
10. It’s one of the most-visited castles in all of Germany
The amazing views, the fascinating location, the remarkable architecture of the castle, the amazing artifacts, and its rich history make the castle one of the most popular tourist attractions in the regions. With over 350,000 yearly visitors it’s also one of the most-visited castles in all of Germany.
It’s definitely one of the most picturesque locations imaginable as well, don’t you think?