Saxony, Germany – the land of castles and excursions

The 10 most interesting castles and fortresses of Saxony

Saxony is not only the magnificence of Dresden and Leipzig, the beauty of mountain landscapes and the birthplace of great composers and philosophers but also its famous castles, of which there are many in eastern Germany.

We’ve picked out what we think are the ten most remarkable castles and fortresses in case you are planning a trip to Saxony and want to know where to start.

Burg Kriebstein

Unofficially Kriebstein Castle, located 60 km from Dresden and 80 km from Leipzig, is considered the most beautiful castle in Saxony.

The construction of the castle began in the 16th century and lasted for several centuries – each new owner was making changes and additions. It has not damaged the integrity of the architectural ensemble, and the spirit of the Middle Ages can be felt in every corner.

Cribstein had a wonderful career in the cinema, appearing in many movies and TV movies, the most famous of which are “The Countess” telling the story of the famous “blood Countess” Bathory and Wes Anderson’s masterpiece “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. Today the castle is very popular with tourists, weddings and knightly celebrations are held there as well as concerts of classical and medieval music.

Address: Kriebsteiner Straße 7 | 09648 Kriebstein

Schloss Delitzsch Castle

The castle was built in the 14th century on the foundations of an older medieval castle and served as one of the residences of the Saxon rulers. During its existence, Delitzsch had several “changes of clothes” – at various times it was rebuilt in the Gothic style, then in Renaissance style, and today it is known as a Baroque castle. Since the end of the XVIII century the castle was used for administrative purposes, it served as an artillery school for the army and for a long time was a reformatory for women.

In the XX century Delic was brought to such a terrible state that it was even closed, until in the 90s it was urgently restored and opened to tourists. Now the castle not only works as a museum, but it also houses the local Registry Office and a music school.

Address: Schloßstraße 31 | 04509 Delitzsch

Schloss Nossen

It was built in the 12th century, but now you never know how it looked originally, because, like many castles, it changed its appearance more than once. One cannot call the life of Nossen luxurious – during centuries it managed to be a court building, a convict’s prison, an apartment building and even an institution for mentally retarded girls.

The castle, which finally fell into decay, was restored and converted into a museum only at the end of the twentieth century.

Address: Am Schloß 3 | 01683 Nossen

Schloss Hartenfels

Hartenfels, located on the River Elbe in Torgau, was built in the 15th century and is currently the largest and completely extant Princely residence in Saxony in the early Renaissance period.

At the time of the Reformation the castle was an important political center. It was here that the first church was built for Protestant services – before that, converted Catholic churches were used for them. The castle once belonged to the Albertine line of the Wettin dynasty, but began to decline after the Albertine residence was moved to Dresden.

Before it became a museum, the Hartenfeld shared the fate of many a castle – serving as a barracks, infirmary and even a mental hospital.

Address: Schloßstraße 27 | 04860 Torgau

Stolpen Fortress (Burg Stolpen)

The Gothic fortress of the Stolpen, built at the beginning of the 12th century, is about twenty kilometers from Dresden. For centuries it served as the residence for twenty-four consecutive Bishops of Meissen and also as a prison for one of the most famous prisoners in history – Countess Kozel, the favourite of Augustus the Strong was imprisoned here and spent 49 years.

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Stolpen is also famous for having the deepest well in the world that has ever been drilled into basalt. It is almost 85 meters deep and it took 22 years to build it and another 30 years to get the first water.

Address: Schloßstraße 10 | 01833 Stolpen

Schloss Weesenstein

The medieval castle of Weesenstein is in the Müglitztal valley, 15 kilometres from Dresden, and has a history stretching back over eight centuries. For almost four centuries the castle was owned by the influential von Buenau family, and in the nineteenth century it was converted into a royal residence.

The most famous owner of Wesenstein was King John of Saxony, who is remembered not as a political figure, but as a philosopher and translator of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The castle is very unusual in terms of architecture: it combines Gothic, Baroque and 20th century furnishings, but combined unexpectedly – the older floors of the buildings may be higher than the later ones.

This is what happened when the owners of the castle decided to expand it and, not having much space, started adding floors to the buildings from top to bottom, along the slope of the cliff on which Weizenstein was built.

Address: Am Schlossberg 1 | 01809 Müglitztal

Schloss Wildeck

In the middle of the city of Chopau is the medieval castle Wildeck. It was built in the 12th century as a protection for the important trade route from Leipzig to Prague.

For a time the castle served as a hunting lodge for the Elector Moritz, but after his death it lost its importance and appeal to the royal families, and even when Peter the Great visited Saxony it was occupied by his entourage and not the Emperor himself. From the 17th to the 20th century it was home to the headquarters of the local forestry, and then Wildek, like many castles, took a wrong turn and was used for court and prison.

Today, several museums are situated in the castle: a museum of rare MZ motorcycles from the factory in Chopau, a historic coin shop, a museum of book printing, bookbinding and stamps, and a very beautiful mineralogical exhibition.

Address: Schloss Wildeck 1 | 09405 Zschopau

Schloss Moritzburg

Moritzburg, founded in the 16th century and standing 14 kilometres from Dresden, owes its existence to the same Elector Moritz of Saxony. Moritz was a keen hunter and was not satisfied with just Wildeck, he ordered another hunting lodge the size of a castle.

However, the Moritzburg acquired its present appearance in the 18th century, when another Elector, Augustus the Strong, had the castle rebuilt from Renaissance to Baroque style.

The lakes surrounding the castle were merged into one, and only one narrow road now connected Moritzburg with the “big land”. The castle is also famous for the fact that the famous movie “Three little peanuts for Cinderella” was filmed there.

Address: Schloßallee | 01468 Moritzburg

Schloss Lichtenwalde

The first mention of Lichtenwald goes back to the 13th century, when it was a fortress. Only a chapel remains from those times, and in the XVIII century a stunning baroque ensemble was built in place of the fortress – the castle and the surrounding garden.

Lichtenwald has a museum with collections of artifacts from East Asia and West Africa, as well as a rich collection of paper silhouettes, which used to be a very popular art form in Germany before the invention of photography.

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But the most interesting thing about the castle and what distinguishes Lichtenwalde from other Saxon castles is its gardens, which extend for 10 hectares around the castle and are decorated with 335 historic fountains. Another of the gardens’ highlights is a hundred-year-old rhododendron grove, whose blossoms at the end of May and beginning of June are compared to the Purple Sea by eyewitnesses.

Address: Schlossallee 1 | D-09577 Niederwiesa, OT Lichtenwalde

Königstein Castle

The medieval fortress of Königstein rises 240 metres above the Elbe River, occupying an area the size of thirteen soccer fields.

First mentioned in the documents of the XIII century, the fortress belonged to the Czech kingdom, the Margraviate of Meissen, and now belongs to the Saxon Switzerland. Its history is rich in events: at various times it hid from the rebels members of the Saxon royal family and imprisoned the inventor of Meissen porcelain alchemist Betger and anarchist Mikhail Bakunin – the fortress, incidentally, is often called the Saxon Bastille.

During World War I, Koenigstein served as a prison for Russian soldiers, and on May 9, 1945, the Russian military released French prisoners of war.

Another famous sight in the fortress is the 152-meter deep well, the deepest in Saxony and the second deepest in Europe.

Address: Am Königstein | 01824 Königstein

Which castles in Saxony have you been to? What is appealing about your holiday in Saxony?

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Castles and palaces in Lower Saxony

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

In northern Germany lies the beautiful land of Lower Saxony, famous for its fast navigable rivers and majestic mountain ranges. Lower Saxony is on a plain, stretching between the North Sea and the Harz Mountains. When you come to this German region, it is impossible to believe that it was almost destroyed after the war: there are so many museums and ancient castles restored and almost all are available for tourists to visit. Today we continue the story of the beautiful castles of the German land.

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Hünnefeld Castle – the original building was erected in the thirteenth century, not far from Ippenburg Castle. In 1447, the Bussche family, which at that time already owned Ippenburg, bought Hühnefeld. In 1592, another branch of the Bussche family, the Bussche-Hünnefeld, left the castle and its descendants are still living there today. The castle in its present form was rebuilt in 1614, and a huge park was laid out around it. In view of the fact that the castle is privately owned, tourists can visit it, but with some restrictions, you can see the schedule of visits. Park visit costs four euros and can be done on weekends: Saturday from 14.00 – 17.00, Sunday from 11.00 – 17.00. In the castle museum you can get on the same days and hours, but as part of an organized tour, by prior arrangement.

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Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Bückeburg Palace – is located in the small town of the same name, surrounded by picturesque Saxony Park. The palace was built in the fourteenth century, as a residence for the princes of Schaumburg-Lippe, who had a small principality of three hundred and forty square kilometers in the territory of Lower Saxony. The last of the princes of this family abdicated the throne in 1918. The palace is now inhabited by descendants of this famous German family, but it is still partially open to the public. Tourists can tour the magnificent interior of Bückeburg.

Now the palace is inhabited by descendants of the princely family, but part of the palace is open to visitors. Of course, the palace for his seven centuries of existence was not once rebuilt and restored. In 1732, for example, the central facade and almost all the interior rooms were thoroughly restored. They were decorated in the Early Baroque style, and the most recently erected part of the palace, called the new wing, was decorated in the Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo style. The change of styles, becomes more evident when looking at the building from the courtyard. The most rapturous impression leaves a beautiful chapel, a luxurious gold hall, where craftsmen performed filigree woodcarvings, banquet hall, in it to this day, the princely family receives their guests. Not far from the palace is a forty-two meters high mausoleum, by the way, one of the largest private mausoleums in the world. It was built in 1915 in the Neo-Romanesque style. If visitors have a desire to see its interior, this is possible. The path to the mausoleum goes through a very picturesque park, where wild and domestic animals roam freely: wild rabbits hop in the grass, squirrels deftly jump over the trees, funny ducks splash in the pond together with huge carps. In the palace of Bückenburg, there is a princely riding school. If you have a desire, you can go there for a performance and a tour.

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Castle Evenburg – is located in the small town of Leer. It was built in the mid seventeenth century for Colonel Erhard Reichsfreiherr von Ehrentreuter of Hofrieth – commander of the Dutch regiment, and was named in honor of the wife of the colonel – Eva. In the middle of the nineteenth century the castle was destroyed, and it was rebuilt in a pseudo-Gothic style, but not for long, World War II broke out and it was bombed again. After the war, there was a long restoration, in 2006, the building was restored to its neo-Gothic image of the nineteenth century. Evenburg is now home to the East Frisian Educational Academy, as well as the College for School Teachers of Grammar. But this does not mean that the restoration of the castle is over: work is still going on.

A magnificent park surrounds Evenburg, and its tranquility is also protected by a moat of water. The park can be visited freely, which is used by many weddings trying to take great pictures, as well as locals who come here to relax in the lap of nature, and, of course, numerous tourists. Nearby is another castle Phillipsburg, which was built by Baron Philipp von Wedel, back in 1730. The castle is now owned by a private person, so you can not go inside, but outside it is quite possible to examine it and take pictures.

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Chateau Hamelschenburg – it was built in 1618 in the style of the Weser Renaissance. The south wing of the castle is particularly beautifully ornamented, in the elegant Italian Renaissance style. The castle was built for a very large family: the parents Jürgen von Klenke and Anna von Holle, as well as their fourteen children. Surprisingly, this magnificent architectural complex did not suffer any damage or looting, even during the Thirty Years’ War. And there was plenty to plunder: numerous halls held magnificent furniture, paintings by eminent masters hung on the walls, there was a rich collection of porcelain, glass and weapons. But, everything has been preserved and tourists can admire these items, learning a lot about the life of those times, the life of German aristocrats of the Renaissance, Baroque and Gründergarten. However, part of the castle is closed to visitors, as it is privately owned.

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Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Hardenberg Castle and Palace – these two beautiful structures, standing next to each other, are owned by the noble family of Germany – the Hardenbergs. The castle was founded in 1101 by the archbishop of Mainz. But it got its present form in the thirteenth century, when the castle came into the possession of the House of Hardenberg. The castle stands on a rocky base, surrounded by beautiful views. In fact, the very first thing you see when you approach the cliff is the three-century-old “schnappsovarna,” also founded by the Hardenbergs.

This old Earl’s distillery produces spirits: “Korn”, thirty-two percent, “Doppelkorn”, thirty-seven and a half percent, herbal liqueur “Schwarzhog”, translated as “black boar”, which are made according to secret recipes of the eleventh century. On the coat of arms of the family of Haprdenberg, you can also see a boar, in our words – a boar. This animal is so revered by the family for a reason, because he once saved the castle from capture by shrieking. You can enter the inner area, but only with a tour group, on Sundays or holidays. The time is 11:30. You can walk around the castle freely at any time. And it is worthwhile to walk around on the forest paths, for example, if you walk along one of them, you will come out to the observation tower of the defense built in 1842.

Next to the castle ruins, on the south side, stands the five-star Burghotel Hardenberg Hotel, housed in the former estate of the Earls of Hardenberg. You may ask why the castle was left in ruins. The thing is that in the seventeenth century, it was badly damaged by stormy winds and several lightning strikes. The Count’s family was forced to leave the family nest, moving to live in Göttingen, it was until a new palace Hardenberg was built next to the ruins of the castle, where the family returned again.

A large landscape park was laid out around the palace, where the gate to the “schnappsovarny” leads. But it is not possible to visit the palace, there lives the count’s family, its main representative, who owns all the above property – Karl Albrecht Jost Count von Hardenberg. Since he is a fan of golf and loves horses, then every year at the end of June, near the castle holds a contest of riders “Burgturnier”, and on the territory of the hotel, there is a world-class racetrack. In winter, by order of the count, a public skating rink is set up in the park.

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Ethelsen Palace – is located in the village of the same name, it was built in 1887 for the Danish Count Christian zu Reventlow. Until 1937, this palace was a residence, but was resold to the German army. After World War II there was a British hospital here until 1953. Then it was empty. And in 1959, a German businessman opened a restaurant and a zoo in the palace, housing lions in an old crypt located in the palace park. But since the zoo was unprofitable in such a small village, he closed it and opened a casino in the palace. In 1983 the palace became a hotel, and events such as exhibitions, conferences and weddings were often held there.

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Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Ippenburg Castle – is the ancestral home of the German noble family Bussche-Ippenburg. The castle was rebuilt several times, after it was erected in the late fourteenth century. This was in 1811, due to the fact that the building had become quite old and beginning to deteriorate, then in 1862, because the building of the castle in the Baroque style, morally outdated, it was remade into a more modern Neo-Gothic style. In 1930, the castle was renovated, centralized heating, equipped with bathrooms and toilets. Descendants of the family now also live in the castle, so there are some restrictions on visits. Around the castle is a beautiful park with many flower beds and sculptures. Castle Ippenburg was the site of the 2010 Lower Saxony Horticultural Festival. You can visit the park as part of a group in the summertime, with a minimum of twenty people and by appointment, or you can do it on the days of the festivals here.

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Stadthagen Castle – located in the small town of the same name near Hannover. The first castle was built in 1224 by Count Adolf the Third of Lower Saxony. The castle was then rebuilt on the same site by his descendant Count Adolf the Sixth in 1539, the main authorities of the county of Schaumburg were located there, and the count’s family moved to Bückenburg. By the way, the tax office operates in the castle until today.

Castles and Palaces in Lower Saxony

Eberstein Castle – the ruins of this castle, built in the early thirteenth century, are in the small town of Polle by the river Weser. The Earls of Eberstein used to live here. The original purpose of building the castle was – defensive, but since 1493 it lost its meaning, it began to gradually crumble, and part of its stones were used to build the castle Bevern. You may ask, why do you need information about the ruins of the castle? The answer is: these ruins and the town of Polle, are on the route of the “German Fairy Tale Road”. The fact that the famous Grimm brothers loved to travel to the old cities of Germanic lands, they wrote down for themselves the information about the cities where there are ancient castles, and then told about them in their tales. About Poll and his castle Eberstein can be read in the fairy tale of Cinderella, the action took place there. In general, local residents are proud of this honor and every summer, put on a show involving Cinderella and the Prince.

A trip with a guided tour to Lower Saxony, to get acquainted with its castles and natural beauties – a great option for recreation. Of course, the castles of this region is slightly inferior to castles in Bavaria in their power, because they were built largely as a residence, not as a citadel. But they are worth seeing and they do not disappoint, and the small and neat German cities, and even in general, will delight you.

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