While visiting friends in Southern Germany we made a trip to Burg Hohenzollern. This castle is one of my friend’s very favorite places and he wanted to make sure we saw it. As we drove up the castle, which sits atop a beautiful Swabian Mountain that was surrounded by fog and I got a strange sense that I might be on my way to Hogwarts. Word on the street is that J.K. Rowling spent some time in this area as a student and there might have been some inspiration drawn from various buildings in the area (this is just me wanting it to be that way, because things really did feel magical and I was inspired!).
Upon arriving at the castle park in their car park at the bottom of the hill. You will pay your admission at the gift shop in this parking lot before heading up the hill one of two ways – the steep walking path (we decided to walk down which took 5-10 minutes) or there is a shuttle that will take you for a fee (as I recall it was 2,00 € each). As we had 2 adults and 2 kids we opted to get the “family pass” which gave us admission and the guided tours for 28,00 €. Otherwise it would have been 12,00 € per adult and 6,00 € (6-17 years). The castle was heavily damaged during earthquakes in 1970 and 1978 (you can see evidence of this during your walk up the ramps) and the admission fees go toward the repair and maintenance of the castle.
As it turns out, this castle is not Hogwarts. In fact it is the ancestral seat of the Prussia Royal House and the family still owns and maintains the castle. Their crown jewels are housed in their “Treasury” here along with lots of other valuables which you can peruse during one of the guided tours. The castle sits at the base of the Swabian Alps and was originally thought to be built in 11th century. It was considered the “Crown of all Castles in Swabia” at that time as it was fortified and beautifully furnished. That is until 1423 when it was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt on a grander scale in 1454 and during the 30 Years War was turned into a fortress and had various owners. After all of that the castle fell into ruins when in 1819 Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia decided to reconstruct the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern House. Construction didn’t start until 1850 and is what you will tour today.
The castle has been built in a Neo-Gothic style and was designed with greater fortification and loads of towers to take in the amazing views of the valley and forests below as well as for protection. In 1952 much of the castle was furnished with valuable work of arts and historically significant hereditary pertaining to the history of Prussia and its Kings. Statues of the various Kaisers surround the base of the castle, a painting of the family tree in the first hall you enter into during the tour of the rooms, and many of the paintings depicting the family’s history are spread out through the castle as well as other works of art.
The castle was built to be lived in but none of the family has ever called it home. It was built as a social symbol to show how strong and wealthy the family was and walking around, you can’t help but feel that imposed. During the tour of the rooms you will get to see The Blue Parlor, the Library, the Treasury and several other rooms. There are 2 Chapels to look at: Christ’s Chapel (Christuskapelle) which is the protestant chapel and across the courtyard Michael’s Chapel (Michaels-Kapelle). There were family members who were protestant and family who was catholic and Prince Fredrick William wanted everyone to have a place to worship. Tours are mainly done in German, but they had a few tours in English while we were there as well. Check the website for more information. There are also guide brochures in multiple languages if you can’t get a tour in your language.
During your visit if you get hungry or thirsty there is a cafe and a biergarten where you can whet your whistle and fill your tum.
This was a wonderful day out and we enjoyed touring the castle and learning more about the history of the area. Check it out!
Information: +49(0) 74712428
Information on how to get there can be found HERE!