Germany is home to a number of castles that were originally built during the medieval period. Many of these were constructed on the site of fortifications dating back to the Roman times. The German castles built in the medieval period underwent significant renovations and changes over time, especially in the post-Reformation period.
As a result of these changes the original architecture of very few medieval-era castles in Germany is extant today while most have become more modern in their outlook thanks to the changes made mostly in 17th to 19th centuries.
One of the most notable German castles that dates back to the medieval period is the Reichsburg castle. The castle’s original construction is dated back to the 11th century.
It then passed through the hands of a number of monarchs. First it came under the control of King Konrad III in the 12th century. By the 17th century, the castle’s control had slipped from German nobility and it had come under the personal control of the French monarch Louis XIV.
It underwent significant ruin after its abandonment in the 18th century but was subsequently renovated along Gothic lines, giving it a look today that is markedly different from its original outlook back in the medieval era.
Wartburg Castle is another German castle that was originally erected in the medieval period. It is located in the Eisenach region and was built in the 11th century.
The original structure of the castle was rather humble and to it were added significant additions to it in the 12th century. These additions included a number of new rooms which were built in the Romanesque style.
Later a drawbridge was also added to the structure of the castle. However, the castle never served a very important role as a secure fortification and remained mostly a residential structure. It is historically significant in that during the Reformation, Martin Luther hid in this castle and during his hiding, translated the Bible into German.
Mespelbrunn castle is among the most iconic medieval German castles. It was built during the 15th century by a German knight and is built on a water lake, carrying a truly fairytale outlook.
The castle was originally built as a private residence for a knight but due to its location in a remote region, fortifications soon had to be added to secure its perimeter. These fortifications included a number of towers and a strong exterior wall around the main residential structure. The castle remains standing to this day and is fairly well-preserved.
Bentheim Castle was originally constructed in the 11th century or sometime before. It is mentioned in historical sources dating back to the 11th century and is located in Lower Saxony region of Germany.
The castle was destroyed sometime in the late 11th century but was subsequently rebuilt. Although it remained a major point of contention between the neighbouring bishops and the Counts of Bentheim, the castle stood mostly intact until the 16th century.
In the 16th century, the castle’s owners sided with the reformers and it underwent a sacking by Spanish, English and French troops at different times. It consequently underwent significant decline and ruin. The castle is today owned by the local nobility.