travel

{take me away № 39 | the magnificent castles of germany}

by

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A walk through the forest, a few turns on winding pathways, and there, there, you happen upon a feast for the eyes and the imagination, set in the ever-evolving and growing landscape, lies an enduring, beautiful, and fanciful piece of history . . .
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And perhaps those who created these wondrous structures — those who spent hours upon hours, weeks, and years, even, setting the stones in place, painting the interior walls and ceilings by hand, and furnishing each space — would they have known all those years ago, the endless appreciation their vision and great works would inspire, even today?
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One might close her eyes and imagine the hundreds of gowns, thousands of gowns, that would have skimmed the stone floors — silks, velvets, lace — arm in arm, down corridors and into sitting rooms . . .
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. . . the conversations that might have taken place by flickering and golden candle light, and over extravagantly delicious feasts . . .
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. . . of towers tall enough to see over the gardens, over the lands, and far, far beyond, and walks around the garden, stolen kisses and sweet embraces.
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Above & below, the gardens and grounds at Sanssouci Palace
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The wonder of it all — not having cable or electricity at a whim — seems something of the past, distantly remembered, yet wrapped within a notion of romance and a way of life that once told an intriguing story . . .
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. . . and so, today, we study the lives of those who designed, built and lived within the stone walls that seem strong enough to battle the weather of eternity . . .
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We see their faces, captured in paintings, and told in stories. And we can not help but wonder if it is the sheer scale of the castle — the word that magnifies grace and grandeur — or are we intrigued most with the relevance in history, and how these palaces helped shape history?
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And as long as libraries are lined with books of such places, and sites across the globe celebrate them, they will always remain alive.
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Above, Sanssouci Palace
But most alive to us, perhaps, is the feeling of being overcome with history and romance, while standing beneath the breathtaking columns, enthralled by the enormity and sheer architectural extravagance that is a castle . . .
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And for those who enjoy the mysterious fables, soaring ceilings of gilding and of gold, and exquisite works of art, you will certainly fall for this week’s destination — for this week, we share a selection of some of the most magnificent castles of Germany . . .
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Above, Sanssouci Palace
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{a note on germany’s many, many castles}
Compare with many other countries across the globe, Germany contains an inordinate number of castles within its borders; an overwhelming amount of over 25,000 recognizable castles exist today within the country — many of which are open to the public, and have incorporated restaurants and museums into their spaces.
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This fact brings us back to the Middle ages, when Germany was once divided into several small, competitive feudal states and principalities. Such a fact led many to construct secure fortresses throughout the country, although some were created, years later, for pleasure alone.
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* a lesson in german terminology : there are burgs — meaning fortresses or castles, & schlosses, meaning castles or palaces
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Neuschwanstein Castle, perhaps one of the most, [if not the most], overwhelmingly beautiful castles that can be seen in the entire world. You may very well recognize it, as the castle was inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. The palace is set in the southwest of Bavaria, up high on a rugged hill, against a glorious backdrop of majestic mountain scenery. Neuschwanstein’s construction was led by King Ludwig II, and was completed in the late 1800’s in a Romanesque Revival style. The castle was meant as a private retreat for the king, and upon his death, was opened to the public. Today, the castle invites approximately 1.3 million people each year to tour.
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{p.s.} a glimpse inside : one // two // three
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Hidden within a rather dense forest in the western part of Germany lies the medievel Eltz Castle. Rather rare, this castle remains in the ownership of the original family that resided there in the 12th century. Though perhaps not as popular as some as a tourist destination, its museum — filled with original furniture, art, knights’ armour, and a treasure vault — are wonderfully fascinating and a sight to be seen. Additionally, the Palace of Bürresheim, the Castle of Eltz and the Castle of Lissingen are the only castles on the left bank of the Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate which have never been destroyed.

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{p.s.} another view

 

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Completed in 1857, under the supervision of Friedrich Franz II, this tremendous castle is set on a small island in Lake Schwerin. One of Europe’s paramount examples of historicist architecture. Indeed, this five-wing castle boasts many splendours to take in — from the golden gilding and exquisite carvings to the the dining room — complete with laborious, intricate panelling and the round tower room, designed as a garden salon of sort. Beyond a tour, visitors may also enjoy a concert, and may wish to tour the beautiful baroque gardens surrounding the castle — certainly a lovely site from every angle.

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{p.s.} a video & another glimpse inside

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Lichtenstein Castle is situated high on a cliff near Honau in the Swabian Alb, Baden-Württemberg. According to history, since the 1200’s [or so] there has been a castle that existed on the property; however, it was tragically destroyed twice, but, thankfully, was re-built to its glorious state.  The castle is designed in a Neo-Gothic design by architect Carl Alexander Heideloff. And to assist in preserving history, today, the castle is still owned by the Dukes of Urach, and happily opens its doors to visitors. Visitors will enjoy bits and pieces of history, and lovely views of the Echaz Valley.

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The Palace of Heidelberg lies in the southwest of Germany; an intriguing destination featuring some of the greatest ruins of the once noble Castle of Heidelberg, unlike so many of the castles that have been maintained and preserved to near perfection, this site is one to appreciate in a different manner: partly rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries, this structure has seen lightning bolts, water and fire damage over the years. However, visitors will appreciate the unique architecture, impressive cellar, gardens, and many other spectacular details of the castle.

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{p.s.} a glimpse inside

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06 |  Sanssouci

An incredibly pretty castle close to Berlin, designed in the Frederician Rococo style, and painted in the loveliest [and memorable] yellow, adorned with delicate and ornate details. The former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, Sanssouci has been placed alongside the great Versailles for its splendour and grandeur. And while most may be captivated by its architecture, the grounds are equally captivating, for they are sprinkled with follies and temples and other such wonders. Vast and enchanting — this castle is not to be missed while visiting Germany!
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{a few other favorites to visit while touring . . . }
* Schloss Oberschleißheim : Maximilianshof 1 Oberschleißheim
* Festung Königstein : Festung Königstein gGmbH 01824 Königstein
* The Residenz : Residenzplatz 2 Tor B 97070 Würzburg
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* Meersburg Alte Burg : Schloßplatz 10 88709 Meersburg

* Marksburg Castle : Marksburg 56338 Braubach

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Above, Sanssouci Palace

{what to pack}

While visiting and wandering from forests and waterside, through gardens and castles, we suggest bundling in rich and lovely layers — whether it be lacy shirts, cashmere and cozy cream coats tied off with a scarf, or maybe dramatic florals paired with vibrant coats, and toes, bundled in extra warm boots . . .

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diamond tiara /// valentino embroidered chantilly lace dress /// shearling-collared double-breasted wool coat /// regal rocker swarovski crystal and glass pearl necklace /// valentiono crystal-embellished leather gloves /// victoria beckham Square-frame acetate sunglasses /// isabel marant alpaca-blend scarf /// bottega veneta cabat uomo /// rolex /// double-faced throw /// calf hair flats /// annick goutal heure exquise eau de toilette /// the old town boot /// by terry baume de rose  /// yves saint laurent la laque couture – 22: beige leger /// lace & satin bra

And do be forewarned — Germany in the winter months is rather brisk [down to -10 degrees] — but perhaps the loveliest sight, seeing a castle perched atop a hill, dusted in the softest shade of alabaster white snow might make it all worth while . . .

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* if you wish to literally stay within a castle during your visit to Germany, we suggest : Schlosshotel Hugenpoet & also, Hotel Castle Liebenstein
   

previously :
* take me away № 01 | perfectly packed
* take me away № 02 | luggage to last a lifetime
* take me away № 03 | tips for buying luggage
* take me away № 04 | vintage & antique luggage
* take me away № 05 | the travel file
* take me away № 06 | an equestrian escape
* take me away № 07 | la maison du chocolat
* take me away № 08 | holiday etiquette
* take me away № 09 | st. petersburg, russia
* take me away № 10 | holiday etiquette, part two
* take me away № 11 | travel by train
* take me away № 12 | venice, italy
* take me away № 13 | a wintry escape
* take me away № 14 | the magic of winter gardens
* take me away № 15 | bora bora
* take me away № 18 | a glamorous guide to champagne
* take me away № 19 | barcelona, spain
* take me away № 21 | city guides № 1 : paris
* take me away № 22 | what to pack for paris
* take me away № 23 | dublin, ireland
* take me away № 24 | hong kong, china
* take me away № 25 | the enchanting world of lace
* take me away № 26 | the cherry blossoms of tokyo
* take me away № 27 | mykonos, greece
* take me away № 28 | the lavender fields of provence
* take me away № 29 | city guides № 03 : london, england
* take me away № 30 | sail away with me
* take me away № 31 | gelato tasting in italy
* take me away № 33 | lisbon, portugal
* take me away № 34 | city guide № 4 : new york city
* take me away № 35 | the charming farmhouses of italy
* take me away № 36 | city guide № 5 : vanocouver
* take me away № 38 | prince edward island
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[image sources & credits : openwalls via sarah /// *m22 via sarah /// style me pretty ///

jabbeltubel /// loveisspeed /// bby_ via sarah /// bby_ via sarah /// kiss the groom via caitlin /// destination 03 via sarah /// jabbeltubel /// loveisspeed /// bby_ via sarah /// loveisspeed /// expensive life /// spitmcgee /// bby_ /// openwalls via sarah /// lancastria /// roads to ruins /// panoramio /// christine’s travel photography /// expats in holland /// interrail /// wolfsraum /// skyscrapercity /// countries of the world via sarah /// loveisspeed /// loveisspeed /// l’antipodeuse /// amandah via sarah /// rococco revisited /// library thing /// world travel destinations via sarah]

Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curled up in her home library, exploring enchanting tales, lands to be discovered and explored, intriguing stories, and timeless beauty. What resulted is a lifelong passion for love and authenticity, delightful simplicity and beautiful moments. Educated in design, marketing and English, Sarah’s keen eye and aesthetic allow her to immerse beauty and heartfelt passion into both her personal and professional projects.
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15 Notes
  • barbara@hausdesign — how lovely & thank you! so happy you found your way here, and thank you also for being so thoughtful re: disclaimer :)

    yes, please do send along a link for your favourite castles — would love to have a look x

  • Beautiful post! Neuschwanstein oh my…didn’t know that Disney inspiration for the sleeping beauty is coming from this castle. The ambiance is overwhelming.

  • Oh my gosh, this is so beautiful. What a wonderful and dreamy way to start the weekend.

  • I just found your post because of a post I did today about Berlin and one of my readers/friends – Jeanne from I Dream Of – directed me here. I’m so glad she did – what a fabulous post! Having lived in Germany for the last five years I thought you might like to look around my blog a bit…I can send you a link I did specifically about a few of my favorite castles that we visited in Europe if you’re interested – didn’t put the link here because of your disclaimer above. :) So glad I found your blog – I’m your newest follower!

  • take me away right now. i’m lucky to know some of this wonderful castles. Absolutely like a fairy tale.

  • Beautiful, stunning and serene, just what I needed for the weeks end.
    Love following your blog!
    Jamie Herzlinger

  • Thank you for the momentary lapse in reality. It’s always nice to be swept away somewhere majestic.

  • As a American college student I spent my summers in Germany where my father worked for the US Government. To pay for college I would draw Neuschwanstein and sell these drawings to tourists …. Thanks to the beauty of Neuschwanstein and other castles I was able to pay for college.

  • As an American college student living in Europe I paid for a great deal of my college by sketching Neuschwanstein and selling the sketches to tourists.

  • How funny, I always think NeuSchwanstein is outside Germany more famous than inside. Because of all the tourists Germans more likely tend to visit other castles.
    Also I will give you an advice: after reading this post the north-italien city, south-tirolean Bozen formely belonging to Austria, there you have to go. Nowhere in the world you will find a higher concentration of middleagean (and some newer) castles in one place. And they are so well preserved and nice. Standing in a stunning area. For me it is one of the best places I have visited so far and I’m really into old things. And the food is better than in Germany:)

  • Magical ladies…………just magical. xx

  • This post made me grin-I live in Berlin and have been to Sanssouci many times. It’s actually tiny! The Orangerie, which you’ve got a pic of, is bigger than the castle, which you can walk around in less than five minutes. It’s well worth a visit, though, and the other castles on the property are fabulous, too.

  • What a great post!!! I l live in Frankfurt, Germany and have seen a lot of castles…but not a all of them. I married in one of them… It was so nice. Like a timetravel.
    XX Antje

    http://www.greenpinkorange.com

  • just sumptuous!

  • Love this!!!

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