Castle Hohenzollern

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Castle Hohenzollern
Castle Hohenzollern

Castle Hohenzollern

Creation time : First castle around 1000 to 1267, current state of construction 1850 to 1867
Castle type : Höhenburg, summit location
Conservation status: Receive
Standing position : Counts (until 1623)
Princes (1623–1850)
Kings (1850–1918)
Emperors (1871–1918)
Place: Bisingen
Geographical location 48 ° 19 '23.5 "  N , 8 ° 58' 3.8"  E Coordinates: 48 ° 19 '23.5 "  N , 8 ° 58' 3.8"  E
Height: 855  m above sea level NHN
Hohenzollern Castle (Baden-Württemberg)
Castle Hohenzollern

The Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the princely family and former ruling Prussian kings and German emperors house of Hohenzollern . It is located in Baden-Wuerttemberg in the district of Bisingen , to whose district it belongs to Zimmer .

Geographical location

The summit castle is located on the 855 meter high, isolated, prominent mountain cone of the Hohenzollern . He is a witness mountain , in front of the eaves of the Swabian Alb .


The first castle

The first medieval castle in the County of Zollern , first mentioned in 1267, probably dates back to the 11th century. It was conquered and completely destroyed on May 15, 1423 after almost a year of siege by the Federation of Swabian Imperial Cities .

The second castle

The second castle in an engraving by Matthäus Merian

After a new building from 1454, the castle was captured and temporarily occupied by the Württemberg people during the Thirty Years' War , although it was expanded into a strong fortress :

After the balance of power shifted due to the advance of the Swedes as far as Bavaria in favor of the Protestants , and King Gustav Adolf promised Duke Julius Friedrich von Württemberg the territories that had been conquered and still to be conquered in Swabia, the latter prepared for war against his neighbors in early 1632. Under the pretext of "protecting the abandoned [Catholic] rulers", the duke initially let his troops march into the County of Hohenberg . Important cities (e.g. Rottweil on October 2, 1632) were quickly conquered, the siege of Villingen (surrender request on October 4, 1632) and the blockade of Hohenzollern (July 1633) began. While the Württemberger in the Black Forest initially wanted to evacuate the Landwehr from the nearby offices, the Hohenzollern Lieutenant Colonel Jost Faber was supposed to deal with 500 "armored Württemberg farmers" and 100 horsemen - but without success. The Württemberg wagon castle lay in front of the fortress for eight months; its soldiers plundered the supplies without being able to record a military success. Due to the offensive action of the Duke of Württemberg, the imperial now threatened retaliation for their part. Some of their officers sounded that they were "setting up such a fire in Württemberg that the angels in heaven draw their feet to themselves". In the spring of 1634, the young and committed Duke Eberhard von Württemberg began the actual siege of the castle. He deposed the unsuccessful commander Jost Faber and instead appointed Lieutenant Colonel Helmstädt. This officer and commander of the Land Regiments III + IV , who operated with the Swedes, was finally able to take the town of Hechingen on March 25, 1634, whereupon the castle surrendered on April 3 due to the persistently poor supply situation by Captain Weinmann. The Zoller crew received free retreat. Despite the protests of Philipp Christoph von Hohenzollern , the Principality of Hohenzollern-Hechingen had to pay homage to Eberhard von Württemberg and all his officials were dismissed. It was not until November 1, 1635 that the fortress was recaptured. The battle of Nördlingen had turned the balance of power again in favor of the emperor. But a ruse was required for the conquest: The Württemberg captain Albert Schmidlapp was handed a forged letter that contained the alleged order of his duke, who asked that the castle be handed over to the imperial lieutenant colonel Karthausen. After the Wuerttemberg people left, the castle was initially occupied by 50 rural people (local farmers).

After the end of the war, the castle was mainly owned by the Habsburgs before it was occupied by French troops during the War of the Austrian Succession in the winter of 1744/45. After the last Austrian occupation left in 1798, the castle fell into disrepair and was in ruins at the beginning of the 19th century. The only noteworthy part was the St. Michael's Chapel.

The third castle

Hohenzollern Castle, hand-colored photo between around 1890 and 1900

The idea of ​​rebuilding the castle came to the then Crown Prince and later King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, possibly in 1819, when he wanted to get to know the roots of his origins on a trip to Italy and climbed the mountain. In 1844, already as king, he wrote:

“The memory of the year 19 is extremely lovely to me and like a beautiful dream, especially the sunset that we saw from one of the castle bastions. ... Now a childhood dream is to see the Hohenzollern made habitable again. "

- Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

The castle in its current form is a building by the renowned Berlin architect Friedrich August Stüler , who was appointed architect of the king in 1842 as a student and successor to Karl Friedrich Schinkel . It is considered a typical example of neo-Gothic in the German-speaking area. The impressive driveway systems were designed by the engineer officer Moritz von Prittwitz , who was considered the leading Prussian fortress builder at the time . The sculptural work comes from Gustav Willgohs .

On the one hand, Hohenzollern Castle is the result of the political will to represent the rulers of Prussia , who wanted to see their ancestral castle rebuilt in a splendid form. On the other hand, the castle is an expression of the romantic spirit of that time and embodies the ideal of a medieval knight's castle. In this respect, the historicist architectural concept is comparable to that of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria , but without its fantastic, theatrical exaggeration. The foundation stone was laid in 1850. The construction was financed jointly by the Brandenburg-Prussian and the princely-Swabian lines of the Hohenzollern. In the dispute over the financing it came after a violent verbal argument on March 22, 1852 between Otto von Bismarck and Georg von Vincke in the second Prussian chamber on March 25, 1852 to the duel Vincke-Bismarck . On October 3, 1867, the building was completed and inaugurated under King Wilhelm I of Prussia.

The new building did not always remain undisputed. Only a few decades after the inauguration, Kaiser Wilhelm II commissioned the architect Gabriel von Seidl to deal with a possible conversion of the castle in the purist style of historicism. During his visit to the castle in 1894, however, Seidl stated: "This castle is so botched that I can't do anything but build it from scratch - and then it's just no longer an old castle ... I can't do that!" His companions, he also said to have asked his impression gained during his visit to reason: "For God's sake, helping me out." Then Emperor took Wilhelm II distance from this renovation project, leaving instead. Hohkönigsburg rebuild, the Residenzschloss Posen build that Renovate Ordensburg Marienburg and build the Naval School Mürwik for the Navy based on their model and finally build the Cecilienhof in Potsdam in the style of a hunting lodge .

Hohenzollern Castle was badly damaged in an earthquake on September 3, 1978 . Some turrets collapsed and knight figures fell over. The restoration work dragged on until the 1990s.


  • 2017/2018: 150 years of 3rd Hohenzollern Castle , gate tower of the castle. Catalog.


Eagle tower and part of the fortification

The structure, which covers almost the entire hilltop, consists mainly of four elements: the fortifications, the castle building, the chapels and the castle garden.


The Adlertor with its drawbridge forms the entrance. The courtyard is reached through four turns. The first turn revolves around the Wilhelmsturm . You reach the second turn, the lower Vorwerk , via the Zwinger . From here, the third turn leads into the vault of the spiral ramp tower and the fourth turn directly above it with an uncovered driveway. Then you reach the southeastern Schnarrwachtbastei with a view of Boll and the Dreifürstenstein . From there you can reach the castle courtyard via the square upper gate tower via a straight climb or walk around the castle building from the outside via the bastions . Counterclockwise, the Schnarrwachtbastei is followed by the Neue Bastei (north-east), the Fuchslochbastei (north), the Spitz (north-west), the Scharfeckbastei (west), the garden bastion (south-west) and the St. Michaelsbastei (south ). The statues of the Prussian kings can be found between the bastions .

Castle building

Castle courtyard with St. Michael's Chapel, watch tower and outside staircase in front of the Fürstenbau

The castle building forms a U that opens to the south-east , the ends of which form the Protestant and Catholic chapels. The outer outline uses the old foundation walls of the second castle complex. The three-story buildings, which are decorated with many turrets and pinnacles , rise above the old casemates . The four main towers are, in counter-clockwise order , the Kaiserturm facing the Fuchslochbastei , the Bischofsturm towards the Spitz, the Margrave Tower towards the Scharfeckbastei and the Michaelsturm before the Garden Bastion . In the castle courtyard is the waiting tower , which nestles as a stair tower on the prince's building with the count's hall and library and on which the flag is hoisted when the lord of the castle is present.

inside rooms

Paul Sinner : Hohenzollern Castle, Count's Hall

A flight of stairs leads to the family tree hall . There the family tree of the Hohenzollern family is painted on the walls. From here you get to the Count's Hall , which takes up the entire width of the south wing. Its ogival rib vault is supported by eight reddish, free-standing marble columns. The ogival windows also have grisailles and colored paintings by Stüler. The former castle kitchen, now the treasury, is located under the Count's Hall . The imperial tower and the bishop's niche adjoin the Grafensaal , followed by the library, decorated with murals by Wilhelm Peters on the Hohenzollern history. In the Margrave Tower is the King's Salon , which today is also called the Margrave's Room, in a departure from Stüler's terminology .

Finally, through various private rooms, one comes to the Queen's drawing room . Because of the upholstered furniture covered in blue velvet, it is also known as the Blue Salon . The parquet consists of five different woods. From an observation bay you can see the Alb eaves, on the walls hang family paintings : Queen Luise , Empress Augusta , Empress Viktoria and Prince Waldemar of Prussia , the latter painted by Viktoria herself. The queen's secretary was created according to Stüler's designs. The Sèvres service comes from Napoléon's possession and was captured by Prussian troops at the Battle of Waterloo. In the servants' hall there is a painting by Franz von Lenbach that shows Wilhelm I shortly before his death. The massive Wilhelm II desk dominates the otherwise intimate character of the room due to the use of different woods for the parquet and paneling .

Armory and treasury

One floor below you get to the treasury via the armory. It contains, among other things, a Courschleppe of Queen Luise silk damask, the tunic of Frederick the Great in the Battle of Kunersdorf , the snuffbox , which saved his life, his crutches, two of his flutes and jeweled snuffboxes. The highlight is the Wilhelm II crown adorned with 18 brilliant-cut diamonds and 142 rose-cut diamonds .


Chapel of Christ

There are chapels of three Christian denominations at Hohenzollern Castle:

The Catholic St. Michael's Chapel was expanded in 1853, its medieval part dates from the years 1454 to 1461 and is thus the only remaining structure of the second castle. The nave and choir are covered with ribbed vaults. Numerous windows come from the church of the former Stetten Monastery , which was temporarily the Zollerian hereditary burial place; they were created between 1280 and 1290.

The Protestant Christ Chapel is a work by Stülers based on the west choir of Naumburg Cathedral . The Aposteltor comes from the destroyed Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.

Under the Christ Chapel is the Russian Orthodox Resurrection Chapel, which was set up in the second half of the 20th century by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia for his wife Kira of Russia .


The original planting plan was a late work by Peter Joseph Lenné . Its arrangement is no longer preserved today.


Family cemetery in the officers' garden of the St. Michaels Bastion with the urn graves of Friedrich and Alexandrine of Prussia

After the reconstruction, the castle was never inhabited for a long time, it only had a representative function. Only the last Prussian Crown Prince Wilhelm lived in the castle for a few months after his escape from Potsdam at the end of 1945. Wilhelm, his wife, Crown Princess Cecilie , and several of their children are buried in the small family cemetery in the officers' garden of the St. Michael's bastion in the castle.

The urns of Prince Louis Ferdinand , his wife Kira and some of their children are buried in the Russian Orthodox Resurrection Chapel. From 1952 the coffins of the kings Frederick William I and Frederick the Great were in the castle. After reunification , they were returned to Potsdam in 1991 .

Hohenzollern Castle is still private property. It belongs to two thirds of the Brandenburg-Prussian line of the House of Hohenzollern and one third of the Swabian line. The host has been the incumbent boss of the Hohenzollern House, Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia , since 1994 .

Since 1952 the castle has also been furnished with art objects and memorabilia from the family's property and the former Hohenzollern Museum in Monbijou Castle . Hohenzollern Castle offers guided tours through the showrooms and state rooms of the castle and is now a tourist attraction with over 300,000 visitors per year. The highlight is the treasure chamber, in which valuable art-historical objects can be discovered, including the precious table silver and porcelain, the tobacco boxes of Frederick the Great, his uniform skirt with the legendary bullet hole, the magnificent court dress of Queen Luise of Prussia and the Prussian royal crown. The numerous marketing campaigns include exhibitions, concerts, theater and cinema events and a Christmas market.

There is a café-restaurant and, in summer, outdoor catering with 150 seats in the shade of the Königslinden in the castle garden.

In 1953, when the castle was broken into, several items were stolen from the treasury. The perpetrator was later caught and sentenced to six years in prison. He had already melted down some of the looted items or threw them into the Main while fleeing. The act was described in a separate room of the crime museum of the Baden-Württemberg Police Academy in Freiburg im Breisgau .

Since 1954, the castle has also been used by the Princess Kira von Prussia Foundation, founded in 1952 . The foundation enables children in need from West Berlin to go on holiday in the early years .

In 1997 the "Friends of Hohenzollern Castle" was founded, which has been committed to supporting measures to preserve the castle and which now has around 300 members.


In 2015, the castle was the setting for the shooting of the psychological thriller A Cure for Wellness , which was supervised by Studio Babelsberg . The film moves the setting of the story to a fictional location in Switzerland. Director Gore Verbinski and studio boss Henning Molfenter signed the castle's guest book in the presence of host Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia during the filming. Theatrical release of A Cure For Wellness was 23 February 2017.

In 2016, the outdoor shots of the children's series A Lousy Witch took place at the castle . The castle embodies the Graustein Academy for witches in the series.


The Hohenzollern song from 1849 sings about the castle and the rock and is considered the Hohenzollern hymn.


  • Rolf Bothe: Hohenzollern Castle. From a medieval castle to a national dynastic monument in the 19th century. Mann, Berlin 1979, ISBN 3-7861-1148-0 .
  • Gerd Braun: Hohenzollern Castle as a monument to historicism . In: Burgen und Schlösser 3rd vol. (1976 / I), pp. 40–44.
  • Patrick Glückler: Hohenzollern Castle. Crown jewel of the Swabian Alb; romantic ancestral castle of an imperial dynasty. Glückler, Hechingen 2002, ISBN 3-925012-34-6 .
  • Friedrich Hossfeld, Hans Vogel : The art monuments of Hohenzollern, first volume: Hechingen district . Holzinger, Hechingen 1939, p. 211 ff.
  • Günter Schmitt : Castles, palaces and ruins in the Zollernalb district . Published by the Zollernalbkreis district office, Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Ostfildern 2007, ISBN 978-3-7995-0186-6 , pp. 105–118.
  • Günter Schmitt: Castle Guide Swabian Alb, Volume 5 - West Alb: Hiking and discovering between Reutlingen and Spaichingen . Biberacher Verlagsdruckerei, Biberach an der Riß 1993, ISBN 3-924489-65-3 , pp. 211-240.
  • Rudolf Graf von Stillfried-Alcantara : Description and history of Hohenzollern Castle . Berlin 1870 ( digitized , reprint Berlin Story Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-929829-55-X ).
  • Ulrich Feldhahn: Hohenzollern Castle. Historical photographs 1850–1970. Sutton-Verlag, Erfurt 2014, ISBN 978-3-95400-405-8 .
  • Christian Kayser: Hohenzollern Castle. A millennium of building history, Südverlag, Konstanz 2017, ISBN 978-3-87800-108-9 .

Web links

Commons : Hohenzollern Castle  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. including history, country and local knowledge of the Hohenzollern, Hechingen and Sigmaringen. Ulm, 1824. p. 77 and ff.
  2. Label BL Heimatkunde for the Zollernalb district; Editors: Waldemar Lutz, Jürgen Nebel and Hansjörg Noe; Lörrach, Stuttgart, 1987 ISBN 3-12-258310-0 ; P. 121/2
  3. Hohenzollerische Zeitung : Hohenzollern Castle / Hechingen Lecture on the reconstruction of Hohenzollern Castle ( Memento of the original from December 5, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , dated: November 25, 2017; Retrieved on: December 5, 2017 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung : Hohenzollern Castle: Where Hollywood bordered Germany , from: December 3, 2017; Retrieved on: December 4, 2017
  5. ^ Südkurier : Hohenzollern Castle: One hundred and fifty years of loneliness , from: November 30, 2017; Retrieved on: December 5, 2017
  6. The Prince's New Tones . In: Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 10, 2003
  7. ^ Hohenzollern Castle - General, Guided Tours and Royal Strolling In:, accessed February 24, 2017.
  8. Kai Müller: Balance and Pietät ( Memento of the original from April 3, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , May 24, 2005, accessed April 3, 2018
  9. ^ Website of the Princess Kira Foundation
  10. ^ Roland Beck: Castle from 13.-24. Closed for filming in July 2015 In:, June 30, 2015.
  11. Roland Beck: Shooting finished - director signs guest book In:, July 27, 2015.
  12. TV wish list: "A lousy witch": KiKA shows a new edition of the children's classic, on the Internet [1]