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Schloss Lübbenau

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Yours truly fell in love, in love with the Spreewald. Its thousands of little canals and dozens of quaint villages. And while I cannot wait to discover all the beauty this region just south of Berlin has to offer in the summer time, I cannot help but thinking that a visit during the colourful weeks of autumn also gives it a special charm.  One of the stops during my visit? Schloss Lübbenau, the former home of the Counts of Lynar turned luxury hotel. Count Rochus of Lynar, an Italian military engineer who you can see depicted in the left photo, was the first of his family to move north of the Alps where he was employed by both the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg among others constructing various fortifications. It was Rochus' daughter-in-law Elisabeth who, in 1621 after the passing of her husband, purchased the demesne of Lübbenau. And with it came - lucky for us - a Schloss. Originally, a medieval moated castle was located on the same site as today's building. Sometime aro…

Schloss Rietzneuendorf

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At the end of a cow pasture, you can find all sorts of things. In the little village of Rietzneuendorf near Berlin, it is a castle. In fact, the cow pasture, with no cows standing on it when I visited, runs right across its access, which I thought may be a hint to its history (as there are also cow byres next to it) and being used as part of a people-owned enterprise during GDR times but sadly it's terribly hard to find anything about its history.  The village seems to have been founded in 1685 by Wilhelm von Stutterheim and then later sold to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I. Since then it was used as a farming area. Either around 1860 or 1885, sources vary about his, a castle was constructed on the site. Either around that time or in 1893 - again, sources vary - it received its current Neo-Renaissance appearance. The castle seems to have been used by the administration of the estate. While yours truly was able to dig up some names seemingly connected to it, none of them…

Burg Vernaburg

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Visiting castles that aren't open to the public is always a bit of gamble. You never quite know how much you will be able to see and how close you are going to get. Burg Vernaburg is definitely one of the places I wish I could have gotten closer to. This ruin with some somewhat more modern looking buildings in its direct vicinity looks utterly fascinating. Of the original structure, only a handful of towers and walls still stand and form the backdrop for a modern residential building.  The original Burg Vernaburg dates back to the year 1607 and owes its existence to Wilhelm von Krewet. Occasionally also called Krewetsburg based on the name of its first owner, the Krewets were an important lower noble family of the Prince-Bishopric of Paderborn. Wilhelm subsequently moved his family's residence to Vernaburg from Salzkotten, a place the family had held as a fiefdom. As with many other castles all over Germany and Europe, the Thirty Years' War also left its mark on Burg Vern…

'Tis The Season: Five Schmaltzy Royal Christmas Movies Not To Miss

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Confession of a Castleholic: In case you haven't noticed yet, I live for schmaltzy and ridiculous Christmas movies. Because of the continued popularity of my post about the most ridiculous royal movies, here are an additional five royal Christmas films you should add to your festive movie marathon list - one more schmaltzy than the other cause 'tis is the season to be jolly...
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A Royal Christmas

Meet 'Leo James', a regular dude with an English accent who lives in Philadelphia where he dates Emily the seamstress. Boring so far? Yep, and so, as the two are planning to spend their first Christmas together, it is revealed that Leo is, in fact, Prince Leopold of Cordinia, "a small sovereign state in the South of France". He is called home for Christmas and Emily makes the trip with him. In Cordinia, we meet Queen Isidora, who, of course, isn't thrilled by her son's choice in a woman at all. Throw in some cultural clash, royal-commoner clash, a stuck-up …

Veste Coburg

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To say that Coburg has an abundance of castles and palaces may just be the understatement of the century, we have covered more than half a dozen of them on this blog alone in the past couple of months. One still missing? The one dubbed "the Crown of Franconia", the city's oldest castle, Veste Coburg. Towering high above the city and the surrounding land, the Veste was firstly mentioned in 1056 making its origins almost a thousand years old. It was in the year 1353, that Coburg fell to Margrave Friedrich of Meissen of the House of Wettin, who continued to own Veste Coburg until the end of the monarchy in 1918. The oldest still-existing part of the Veste is the Blauer Turm, or Blue Tower, dating back to 1230. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. During the early 15th century, a triple contravallation was introduced to guard the fortress. Large parts of the castle's early structures were destroyed during two fires towards the end of the 15th an…

The Stuff Legends Are Made Of: The Mystery of the Amber Room

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Few castles ever become legendary in themselves: Versailles, Neuschwanstein, maybe a handful more. Probably even fewer rooms of a castle share the same status and when German Baroque sculptor and architect Andreas Schlüter was commissioned to design a room made of amber for Schloss Charlottenburg in 1701, nobody knew what a legend it would become. Constructed by Gottfried Wolfram, master craftsman to the Danish court of King Frederik IV of Denmark, with the help of amber masters Ernst Schacht and Gottfried Turau from Danzig, the room wasn't even installed at its originally intended place but instead at the Stadtschloss in Berlin.
It was at the city palace where Tsar Peter the Great first lay eyes on the creation and liked it. Eager to please, King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, gifted the room to his Russian counterpart. In return, he got a Russo-Prussian alliance against Sweden as well as a bunch of really tall guys, yes literally, for his army. Pretty good deal, eh? Peter'…

Schloss Ludwigsburg (Rudolstadt)

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You have heard of Schloss Ludwigsburg?! Yeah, umm, no, we are not talking about that one today but instead a much lesser known Schloss Ludwigsburg, the one in Rudolstadt. Apart from being virtually unknown, it is also an incredibly hard place to photograph because it is located on narrow street with walls all around it and no way to access (at least on a holiday). Today, Schloss Ludwigsburg is the seat of the Thuringian Court of Auditors though its origins lie as a residence of the extended family of the Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. The three-winged Baroque palace was built between 1734 and 1741 in the valley below the much better known yet still not really famous Schloss Heidecksburg. The plans for the new city palace were drawn up by Johann Jakob Rousseau and carried out by Johann David Steingruber. Schloss Ludwigsburg served as the residence of Prince Ludwig Günther, the brother of Friedrich Anton and uncle of Johann Friedrich of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. He would go on to succe…