Wednesday, January 4, 2012

10 Most Beautiful German Castles

If you like castles, you’ll love Germany, for Germany has castles the way Venice has canals, or Norway has fjords, or the Napa Valley has wineries. There are literally scores of them, virtually in every German state and seemingly on every other hilltop, especially along the river Rhine. There are schlosses, which are essentially castles or palaces, and there are burgs, which are castles or fortresses and then there are festungs, quite simply, fortresses.
So here are some of the most beautiful German castles, the must-sees or simply the “great castles” of Germany.

Schloss Neuschwanstein

Schloss Neuschwanstein is perhaps the most picturesque, the most recognizable of Germany’s great castles. This is the one that inspired the magical castle at Disneyland. It was originally built between 1869 and 1886 and was the ultimate fantasy of the Mad King Ludwig.
Burg Eltz
Burg Eltz, located in the lower Mosel Valley, high above the Rhine, is one of Germany’s most beautiful medieval castles, 850 years old, and unscathed.
Meersburg Alte Burg
Meersburg Alte Burg, located in the Black Forest area in Baden. It dates from the seventh century and offers superb views out to the Bodensee. This is also the oldest of Germany’s castles that is inhabitable.
The Wartburg
The Wartburg, situated just outside Eisenach in the Thuringia region, has been described as the most German of the German castles. It was here that Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German while in hiding.
The Marksburg

Marksburg is perched on a hill on the shores of the Rhine, high above the town of Braubach in the Rhine Valley. It has one of the most impressive armory collections anywhere, including one of the oldest cannons in Germany.
Schloss Sanssouci
Schloss Sanssouci is a veritable masterpiece from the Baroque period. What’s more, it has its associations with Frederick the Great. In this small but lively summer palace Frederick the Great entertained the thinkers and musicians of his time, including Voltaire.
Schloss Braunfels

Schloss Braunfels, an 800-year-old palace located in the Hesse region’s Lahn Valley. The castle has a magnificent interior, with rooms displaying medieval weaponry, porcelain, and paintings.
Festung Königstein
Festung Königstein is easily the largest fortress in Germany, and a triumph, if ever there was one, of fortress construction in Europe. During World War II, it housed senior French prisoners of war. Its now more than 750 years old.
The Residenz
The Residenz, the principle address of the ruling Wittelsbach family for over 500 years, is located in Munich, Bavaria. It is a massive complex, lavishly decorated, constructed between 1720 and 1744. It is also one of the finest Baroque palaces in Europe and is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Schloss Heidelberg
Schloss Heidelberg, located in Heidelberg is perhaps Germany’s most famous ruin, and possibly also one of its most romantic sights. For five centuries the principle residence of the Prince Electors of the Kurpfalz, it was destroyed by the French in the 17th century but continues to dominate Heidelberg’s skyline.

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