Hohenzollern castle history, events and the mysterious “White lady”

The castle of Hohenzollern is located near the Swiss Alps about 50 km south of Stuttgart, the state capital of Baden-Württemberg. Until the end of World War 2 It is considered the residence of the dynasty Hohenzollern – rulers of Brandenburg and Prussia with roots originating back in the middle ages and later on Emperors of Germany. Geographically, the castle sits on top of mount Hohenzollern at 855 meters above sea level.

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 History

Initially built in the 11th century it was later completely destroyed after 10 month siege in 1423. Forty years later it has been rebuilt – larger and stronger. After the 18th century the castle lost its strategic importance and has been left to decay. Today the only remaining building from that period is the old Church.

The third era of the Hohenzollern castle began in the 19th century when king Friedrich Wilhelm  IV rebuilds the castle in neogothic style with a purpose of monument honoring the Hohenzollern dynasty.

Corona_Prusia-mj2Amongst the historical artefacts you may see the crown of Wilhelm II, some private belongings of Friedrich the Great and a letter from George Washington in which he expresses his gratitude towards the Hohenzollern airs who participated in the US liberation war.

 

The “White lady” of Hohenzollern

Even though ecstasy and methamphetamine were unavailable in the medieval era, many people living in various european castles spoke about the “White lady” – a ghost who experienced a tragical death after being betrayed by the man she loved. Hohenzollern’s white lady is maybe one of the most prominent versions of the ghost’s origins.

The background story goes as follows: Countess Kunigunde was a prominent figure during the 14th century and was related to the Hohenzollern family. She was a widow when she fell in love with a young Nürnburg prince and as the 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. The countess misunderstood their message and thought they were speaking of her two children – a boy and a girl 2 and 3 years old respectively. So she stabbed them both in the heads and murdered them. Once the young prince learned about her doing, 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. When she returned back home, the monastery of Himmelkron was built and she became its abbot.

Events

Today there are lots of events taking place inside Burg Hohenzollern. There is a really nice castle tour for kids and families where visitors get the opportunity to see in person tools and items from medieval times as well as get a good picture of how people used to live. They explore the king halls, armory and treasury. King capes and crowns are borrowed to each child during the tour.

Open air theatre, concerts and cinema during summer are something regular for Hohenzollern and as long as the skies are clear there are organised star observing events where you can enjoy the night skies and grab some refreshments from the nearby kiosk.

Video of Hohenzollern

These is a three-part documentary regarding the Hohenzollern line and castle. I must warn you though –  beware of the “german” English:

If you prefer a documentary in german you may find the following short film interesting:

 

Conclusion

Have you visited the Hohenzollern castle? Have you experienced the real-world version of “Hogwards”? Please share your thoughts and memories in the comments below.

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