It’s no secret that German castles are among the most beautiful in the world. Some of them look as if they came straight out of a fairy tale, while others evoke medieval times, and then there are those castles with great history and striking appearance that attract the most attention, such as Hohenzollern Castle.
It is situated 31 miles south of Stuttgart, high on a mountaintop, in the center of Baden-Württemberg. Thanks to its idyllic location, the castle boasts magnificent views, acknowledged by the Emperor William II, who would comment, “The views from Hohenzollern Castle are truly worth the journey.”
The castle was home to the House of Hohenzollern, the royal dynasty named after Hohenzollern Castle itself. Today, it is owned by the descendants of the Hohenzollern dynasty and their detailed lineage is depicted on a wall inside the castle. One long-established tradition is still respected today; every time Prince George Frederick of Prussia and his family come to spend time in the castle, their stay is confirmed by the flag raised high on the tower.
The castle did not always look the way it does today. The first castle on the site, known as Castro Zolre, was constructed in the 11th century, but unfortunately, it was destroyed during a war at the beginning of the 15th century. Not much is known about this castle, except that written records from the Middle Ages describe it as “Crown of all Castles in Swabia” and “the most fortified house in Germany.”
In 1454, the castle was rebuilt to be larger than the previous one. The following centuries were turbulent times for the castle. It changed owners many times, only to end up completely abandoned and turned into a ruin. The only medieval structure that survives is the Chapel of Saint Michael.
Then, at the beginning of the 19th century, the Prussian King Frederick William IV, who was crown prince at the time, visited what was left of Hohenzollern Castle. He left deeply affected by the place that had played such an important role in the history of Prussia. The years that followed only strengthened his wish to restore the ruined home of his ancestors to its former glory. In one letter, the king had written, “The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, it was especially the sunset we watched from one of the castle bastions, … now this adolescent dream turned into the wish to make the Hohenzollern Castle habitable again…”
Finally, in 1850, the king determined to proceed with his plans. That same year, the construction of the third and final Hohenzollern Castle had begun. For the major restoration, the famous Prussian architect Friedrich Stuller was commissioned. His design for the castle was inspired by the buildings constructed in the Gothic style spread across France and England, therefore it is no surprise the castle was built in the Neo-Gothic style. The construction lasted for years and it was finally completed in 1867.
Stuller had created one of the most beautiful castles in Germany; it officially opened on October 3, 1867. As much as the royal family enjoyed their stay at the castle, it was never their permanent residence, probably because it served more as a monument erected in honor of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Inside the castle, there are many items on display that once belonged to members of the royal family, such as the beautiful dress of Queen Louise and the object that attracts most of the attention: the Prussian royal crown.
Among the displayed possessions is also a letter addressed to the king of Prussia, Friedrich the Great, from the first president of the United States, George Washington. The president expresses his gratitude for the king’s support during the American Revolution.
The interior of the castle is as beautiful as its exterior, decorated with elegant chandeliers hanging from the beautiful gold ceilings, fine furniture, and impressive artwork. The captivating castle is among the most popular attractions in Germany, visited by more than 350,000 people every year.