Hohenschwangau Castle



Location: Schwangau, Bavaria Map

Tel: (08362) 811 27

Open: Apr- Sep Fri- Wed 9 am- 6 pm; Thu 9 am- 8 pm

Oct- Mar 10 am- 4 pm


Description of Hohenschwangau Castle

The castle of Hohenschwangau was build here by knights in the Middle Ages. Hohenschwangau Castle was first mention in the chronicles of the 12th century. However through its long history and numerous conflicts the castle feel in disrepair and was eventually abandoned. Maximilian II of Bavaria found the ruins of the old citadel and rebuilt the castle in neo- Gothic style. His son, future king Ludwig II grew up here and later build a Neuschwanstein just few miles from Hohenschwangau. Both castles add a sense of fairytale to this beautiful landscape.



Middle age
A "Castrum Swangowe" was mentioned for the first time in 1090. However, this meant the double castles of Vorder- and Hinterschwangau, the ruins of which stood on the rock there until Neuschwanstein Castle was built: the elongated front part was where it is today the hall stands, the rear one, separated by a ditch, stood as a keep between today's knight's house and kemenate, where the neo-Gothic keep was planned, which was not built. The Lords of Schwangau lived on this double castle as ministerials of the Welfs. With the death of Welf VI. In 1191 the Guelph property in Swabia fell to the Staufers, with the death of Konradin in 1268 to the empire. The Knights of Schwangau then continued to rule as a direct imperial fief until they died out in 1536.

The most famous Schwangau was the minstrel Hiltbolt von Schwangau (* approx. 1190–1256); 22 minne songs from him have been preserved, the dates of which are set between 1215 and 1225, which have found their way into the Heidelberger and partly into the Weingartner song manuscript. Margareta von Schwangau was the wife of the minstrel Oswald von Wolkenstein. When Duke Rudolf IV of Austria brought Tyrol under Habsburg rule in 1363, Stephan von Schwangau and his brothers undertook to keep their fortresses Vorder- and Hinterschwangau, Frauenstein Castle and the Sinwellenturm open to the Austrian Duke. A document from 1397 mentions the Schwanstein, today's Hohenschwangau Castle, for the first time, which - less fortified but easier to reach - was built below the older double castle on a hill above the Alpsee.

After Ulrich von Schwangau had divided his rule over four sons in 1428, the once proud family of the Lords of Schwangau experienced a steady downward trend: Mismanagement and inheritance disputes led Georg von Schwangau to his inheritance, the Hohenschwangau castles and the Frauenstein, in 1440 Jurisdiction to Duke Albrecht III. sold by Bayern-Munich. However, the Schwangau residents stayed on site as the keepers of the dukes of Bavaria. In 1521 the two brothers Heinrich and Georg von Schwangau were enfeoffed again with their property by Emperor Karl V at the Reichstag in Worms, but in 1535 they had to sell it to the imperial councilor Wolf Haller von Hallerstein for 35,000 florins acted as a straw man for the bourgeois Augsburg patrician Johann Paumgartner and immediately passed on the imperial rule to him. In 1536 the two brothers died as the last of their sex.

Modern times
Johann Paumgartner was adviser and financier of the emperor Charles V, who ennobled him to imperial baron in 1537, after which he called himself Paumgartner von Hohenschwangau zum Schwanstein. He had the neglected Schwanstein Castle restored by Italian craftsmen as the center of his new rule, while Vorderhohenschwangau and Frauenstein continued to fall into disrepair. The architect Lucio di Spazzi, who had already worked on the Innsbruck Hofburg and on the bridge fortress Altfinstermünz, used the existing building fabric, retained the outer walls with crenellated crowns and towers, but redesigned the interior for contemporary living requirements, using the current floor plan with the in Regular grouping of three suites of rooms on either side of a continuous central fleece, identical on all floors. He put a wreath of bastions around the residential building. In 1547 the construction work was completed. In 1549 Paumgartner died and the rule fell to his two sons David and Georg, who got into debt. In 1561 David Paumgartner pledged the imperial rule to Margrave Georg-Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kulmbach, who sold it to Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria in 1567. This also brought the claims of Paumgartner's creditors and was enfeoffed with Hohenschwangau under imperial law. In 1604, Duke Max I of Bavaria received the entitlement to the imperial fiefs associated with Hohenschwangau, Elector Ferdinand Maria of Bavaria in 1670 himself.


The castle was used for bear hunting or was left to the later sons of the Wittelsbach electors. With the Thirty Years' War the castle began to fall into disrepair again; in the War of the Austrian Succession it was plundered by the Austrians in 1743, but was repaired by the court building department as the seat of the care court. After the new office building was built in 1786, it fell into disrepair. It was not until 1803 that the Hohenschwangau Reichslehen was incorporated into the Electorate of Bavaria through the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, which rose to become the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1805. During the coalition wars from 1800 to 1809, the castle was used as quarters for French and Austrian troops and after a brief but unsuccessful bombardment and siege by the French, the last hour seemed to have struck for the castle: in 1820 it was converted under King Maximilian I. 200 guilders sold to a local resident for demolition. Prince Ludwig von Oettingen-Wallerstein, whose family had owned the Sankt Mang monastery in nearby Füssen since 1802, heard about the intended destruction in 1821 and bought the castle for 225 guilders in order to save it. He was enthusiastic about the location of the castle, which was situated in the most charming landscape like on a panoramic stage. The prince had repair and security measures carried out, but sold the castle again in 1823 after he had married morganatically and lost his position as head of the family. The next owner, the geodesist Johann Adolph Sommer, intended to set up a flax spinning mill in the castle, but this did not happen.

King Max II
Around this time, the Bavarian King Ludwig I decided to give his son, Crown Prince Maximilian, the high castle of Füssen, the former summer residence of the Augsburg bishops, as his residence. He therefore went to Füssen in 1829 and went on a hike from there to the Tyrolean Reutte, where he came through Hohenschwangau. The Crown Prince was immediately enchanted by the historic building and its incomparable location between Alpsee and Schwansee. He renounced Hohenfüssen and, after three years of purchase negotiations, acquired Schwanstein Castle in 1832, which he renamed Hohenschwangau Castle. This swapped the names of Schwanstein Castle and the older double castles Vorder- and Hinterhohenschwangau. The former is now called Hohenschwangau, the latter Neuschwanstein.

Crown Prince Max had the palace rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style by the architecture and theater painter Domenico Quaglio (1787–1837) until 1837. The construction project, like the city residence of the Crown Prince, the Wittelsbacher Palais, was in stark contrast to the official conception of art in Bavaria, which was characterized by classicism, neo-humanism and philhellenism, in the Bavaria of Ludwig I. Significantly, he made the painter Quaglio the chief construction manager and assigned the architect Georg Friedrich to him Ziebland only at. Quaglio, who was inexperienced in building construction, was so exhausted that he died shortly before the construction was completed. The work was continued by the Munich architect Joseph Daniel Ohlmüller. In 1842 the Crown Prince married Princess Marie of Prussia, whereupon new rooms and outbuildings were set up. Almost at the same time as the renovation of Hohenschwangau, from 1836 to 1842, Marie's cousin, the Crown Prince and, since 1840, Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who was married to Max's aunt Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria, had Stolzenfels Castle on the Rhine again in a similar style let build up.

In 1848 Max ascended the throne as Maximilian II, new wings were built for the court, most recently the cavalier's building in 1855. The palace served the royal family as a summer residence and was the nursery of the two sons, the later kings Ludwig II and Otto. Her mother Marie von Bayern (1825–1889) often went on mountain hikes with them, including the old castles of Vorder- and Hinterhohenschwangau and Frauenstein. Even after the death of King Max II in 1864, she spent several summer months here every year. In her absence, Ludwig II also frequently used the castle, including during the construction of his own Neuschwanstein Castle from 1869 to 1884, which until 1886 was officially named Neue Burg Hohenschwangau. Ludwig II did not change anything in Hohenschwangau except his own bedroom, in which he had a group of rocks built in 1864, over which a waterfall flowed, as well as an apparatus for generating an artificial rainbow and a night sky with moon and stars, which is visible from the upper floor through a complicated system of mirrors were illuminated from. After Ludwig's death in 1886, Queen Marie had the room restored to its original condition. She died almost three years after the death of her son in 1889 at Hohenschwangau Castle.


The castle has belonged to the Wittelsbach Compensation Fund and is used as a museum since 1923. At the same time, however, it is occasionally available to members of the Wittelsbach family for stays or celebrations. Prince Adalbert of Bavaria retired to Hohenschwangau Castle in 1941 after he had left the Wehrmacht as "unworthy of defense" through the so-called Prince's Decree.

Building description
Today's Hohenschwangau Castle was built into the partially preserved outer walls of Schwanstein Castle from the 14th century between 1537 and 1547. The four-storey complex of the main building, which was redesigned in a neo-Gothic style both inside and out from 1833–1837, with a yellow facade, has three round towers with polygonal superstructures, the gate building is three-storey.

Today there is a museum in the main building. The interior furnishings from the Biedermeier period have been preserved unchanged. The rooms are still furnished with the furnishings from the restoration period.

The rooms were painted according to designs by Moritz von Schwind and Ludwig Lindenschmit the Elder. The executors included both the latter and his brother Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Elder. The more than ninety murals were executed between 1835 and 1836 and deal with themes from the history of the castle and Schwangau as well as from medieval heroic sagas, namely the saga of the Swan Knight Loherangrîn in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Middle High German verse epic Parzival (Richard Wagner's 1850 in his opera Lohengrin processed), the Nibelungen saga and the Edda. One of the frescoes takes up a local folk tradition according to which Christoph von Langenmantel brought Martin Luther from Augsburg to Hohenschwangau to protect him in 1518.

The castle has been preserved in the condition described to this day. Some projects such as the construction of a drawbridge and several towers on the curtain wall were no longer carried out; a high keep was started in 1851, but demolished the following year as it threatened to become expensive and King Max did not like it.

In the valley floor on the north side below the castle is the Schwanseepark, which originally belonged to the castle and is now heavily overgrown. The park was laid out according to plans by Peter Joseph Lenné.

The Grand Hotel Alpenrose was built in the 19th century on the site of the official building, which was built in 1786, and the Museum of the Bavarian Kings was opened in 2011 by the Wittelsbach Compensation Fund. This shows around 160 original exhibits from the Middle Ages to the present day. The core of the museum is the Hall of the Kings, in which the builders of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, Max II and Ludwig II, are the subject. Since spring 2019, the Alpenrose has also been home to the Alpenrose am See Restaurant & Café and 14 hotel rooms of the AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa of the Althoff Hotels Group.