Location: Above Hechingen and Bisingen in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Attraction: Burg Hohenzollern (Hohenzollern Castle Germany)
The Hohenzollern Castle Germany sits at 855 meters (2,805 ft) on Burg Hohenzollern and the castle takes it name from the mountain or vice versa. The mountain is known to locals as Zoller. Hohenzollern Castle is approximately 50 kilometres south of Stuttgart
If I could pick one castle anywhere in the world that exemplified what my imagination would portray as a castle, it would have to be Burg Hohenzollern. When thinking of castles I always thought high on a mountain, big walls and watch towers. Hohenzollern Castle Germany has that and much more. Today many of the castles you see become surrounded by towns. urban crawl getting closer all the time to these historic buildings. Not so with Burg Hohenzollern, it sits magnificently on top of a hill and looks like it belongs in the sky.
On our visit to Burg Hohenzollern, I had never heard of this castle or seen it in a picture. So as we approached, after coming through the Black Forest, it started looming large on top of the hill. As we got closer and closer, to say I was awestruck is a huge understatement! Berg Hohenzollern was amazing. I could not take my eyes off it as we got closer and wound our way up the side of the mountain to where it sits. We parked the car and put Willow into her pusher for the walk up to the gates of Hohenzollern Castle Germany.
The History of Hohenzollern Family Castle Germany
The first castle or defensive structure mentioned on the Burg was in the early 11th century. The German Royal house of Hohenzollern constructed the castle. The House of Hohenzollern is a dynasty of former Princes, electors, Kings, and Emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. Pretty much they ruled and controlled the different states that make up Germany today. Over the years the House of Hohenzollern split several times. The castle remained in the hands of a branch of the Hohenzollern family except, for a time, when it fell under The Hapsburgs of Austria’s control. The castle was destroyed in 1423. The cause was a ten-month siege by the Swabian Free Imperial Cities. The Free Imperial Cities were looking to gain independence for the Hohenzollerns. A bigger more sturdy structure was constructed from 1454 to 1461.
This new castle served as a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns during the Thirty Years’ War. At the end of the 18th century, the castle lost its strategic and defensive importance. Because of this Burg Hohenzollern fell into disrepair. This neglect led to the demolition of part of the castle. Today, only the medieval chapel remains. In 1970 and 1978 earthquakes caused immense damage to the Castle. The ongoing costs for maintenance, preservation and renovations are financed from the admission fees. This allows the Castle complex to remain well maintained and in an original form for visitors.
The castle you visit today was built between 1846 and 1867 as a family memorial by Hohenzollern King Frederick William IV of Prussia. The design of the castle was based on the chateaus of the Loire valley in France. No member of the Hohenzollern Royal Family ever lived permanently in the castle again. For a short amount of time in 1945, it became the home of the former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, son of the last Hohenzollern Monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Still today one can visit and see several historical artefacts of Prussian history that are contained in the castle.The Crown of Wilhelm II, some of the personal belongings of King Frederick the Great. Maybe the most surprising historical artefact is a letter from US President George Washington, Yes, George Washington. A Hohenzollern descendant Baron von Steuben took part in the American Revolutionary War and good old George sent a letter of thanks to his ancestral home!
Burg Hohenzollern features today
The 2 things I remember about Burg Hohenzollern are the family tree and the treasury. When we first entered the castle on a tour the first room contained a Hohenzollern family tree. This family tree presented painted on the walls of the room. It was actually painted as a tree and the branches spread out. The branches noting different members of the Hohenzollern family from the last 1000 years. To say it was amazing is an understatement.
It spreads out across the walls encompassing the room in all directions (damn I wish it had a photo to show its magnificence). It was the first time I had seen anything like it and I was amazed by how intricate it was. The second thing is the treasury. I well remember gazing on the amazing crowns the Hohenzollern Kaisers wore. Thinking of all the gorgeous stones and gold on them they had to have weighed so much! The opulence, the regality of these objects is stunning. Bec was more than happy to point out some of the jewellery as future Christmas presents.
Historical artefacts fill the castle from the collections of the Hohenzollern family and the former Hohenzollern Museum in Schloss Monbijou. Two of the major pieces are the Crown of Wilhelm II and a uniform that belonged to King Frederick the Great. During the time of East and West Germany, the caskets of Frederick Wilhelm I and Frederick the Great were housed in the chapel of the castle. In 1991 with the reunification of the German states the caskets were moved back to Potsdam.
Hohenzollern Castle Tour
Today there are different types of tours that run through the castle for visitors to learn more about Burg Hohenzollern.The castle offers guided tours for adults, children and families. The staff who run the tours do the best to showcase the magic of the Hohenzollern family and their castle. A major emphasis is out on a personal experience, so no audio guides only guided tours.
Cons for kids: A walk from the car park to the castle is pretty steep if that’s the way you choose to go. It can take 30 minutes from the car park to Burg Hohenzollern. There is a shuttle bus that runs between the car park and the castle. I recommend getting the shuttle if you are parking in one of the lower car parks.
Pro’s for kids: There is a beer garden in the grounds of the castle. Food and drinks can be bought. Willow was lucky and had her first ever lollipop given to her by the lovely lady who was in the shop that day! I think it was luckier that Mum had turned her back for a second though and it was already in her mouth!
Hohenzollern Castle and the Legend of the White Lady
Hohenzollern Castle Germany has a legend about the white lady of the castle.The story tells as follows: Countess Kunigunde was a prominent figure during the 14th century. A relative to the Hohenzollern family was the countess. The countess had lost here husaband and was a widow. She fell in love with a young Nürnburg prince and as their love story unfolded, they were ready to marry each other. Once the news reached the prince’s parents’ ears, they replied diplomatically that this could not possibly happen while having “four eyes watching”. By that they meant themselves, and that they wouldn’t allow the marriage while the were alive.
Distraught at the news the countess totally misunderstood their message. she assumed the prince’s parents were refering to her two children – a boy and a girl 2 and 3 years old respectively. The countess blinded by her love for the prince stabbed both her children in the heads and murdered them. Once the young prince learned about her act of madness, he turned away from her. After that Kunigunde went to Rome to seek forgiveness for her sins and promised to establish a monastery in the name of God. After returning, the countess founded the monastery of Himmelkron and she became its Abbot.
How to get to Castle Hohenzollern
By Bus & Train to the Castle
By train you can easily get to Hechingen station and from there by bus to the Hohenzollern Castle Germany – for example via the following connections:
Arrival by car
On A81 (Stuttgart–Singen), exit Empfingen, on B463 in direction Balingen, then on B 27 in direction Hechingen (in Hechingen, Burg Hohenzollern signposts give you the direction) or via B 27 (Stuttgart–Tübingen-Hechingen-Balingen), exit Burg Hohenzollern. A road leads through the forest directly to the parking lot of the Castle. A sufficient number of parking places is available for the buses. The increasingly steep walking path (approx. 30 minutes) leads to the Castle entrance, the Eagle’s Gate. Here you find the cashier booth. The shuttle bus makes reaching the castle easier ( the station is next to the parking lot shop). Please refer to the Route planner for your arrival by car. If you need a rental car in Europe, Auto Europe can help with all your rental needs.
From Stuttgart main station (Hbf) to Hechingen station by train (IRE)
Stuttgart main station: leaving at 10:16 hrs – arrival Hechingen station at 11:19hrs (daily)
Stuttgart main station: leaving at 12:16 hrs – arrival Hechingen station at 13:19hrs (daily)
www.bahn.de are to announce more train connections. You need to choose “Stuttgart Hbf” as the start point. Bahnhof/ZOB, Hechingen” will be the destination. Check out Rail Europe for all your ticketing needs
What an amazing experience to visit Hohenzollern Castle Germany. Castles like this that have a long history is what our family travel experiences are all about. Our kids were too small to get anything out of this visit. We will return one day. I know our daughter Willow would love to experience Hohenzollern Castle Germany. There are some amazing castles in Baden Wurtemberg including Heidelberg Castle and Lichtenstein Castle
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