Castles in Germany originally date back to as early as the 10th or 11th centuries when the German region came under Frankish control. However, nearly all the castles that exist today in Germany were constructed on top of the older castles in the later medieval period.
Because of their late construction, the castles that survive in Germany today typically use different architectural elements from various styles. These include elements from baroque, rococo, and Renaissance styles. The historicist architecture, in particular, is a notable element of the extant German castles.
The Charlottenburg Palace was originally constructed in the 17th century at a site that is included in modern-day Berlin. The Palace was constructed at the orders of Friedrich III’s wife in the later part of the 17th century. As Friedrich rose to the Prussian throne in the early 18th century, he ordered the expansion of the palace.
The 17th-century structure included a huge central cupola and under it a single wing. Behind this exterior façade, the Palace is comprised of two oval halls. Friedrich later commissioned the leading architects of the day to richly embellish the interior of the Palace.
The structure of the Palace is entirely extant today and is considered one of the most identifiable German castles. It is open to visitors and is considered a cultural icon of the German heritage.
The modern-day Neuschwanstein Castle was built on commission from Prince Ludwig II. It was constructed at the site of two medieval castles which lay in ruins. The Neuschwanstein castle was built on top of these medieval ruins. The construction of the castle took a long time and the predominant architectural style used in it was that specific to the Romantic era.
Many exterior and interior elements of the castle had a more embellishing aspect rather than serving a practical utility. The interior of the castle, for instance, includes many halls, a theater, and other artistic elements as well as themes related to medieval German knights.
Mespelbrunn Castle is notable for having the looks of the castle which seems to have come straight out of a fairy story. The castle is built on the water of a lake and was originally constructed in the 15th century by a German knight as a private residence.
Due to its utility as a residence, the original structure lacks fortifications but these were later added since the area was remote from any major settlement in the 15th century. The fortifications later added include exterior walls and towers. The castle is located in Mespelbrunn and is well-preserved to this day.
The Hohenzollern castle is built at the site of an 11th-century fortress that was constructed by the House of Hohenzollern. The fortress stood atop a high hill, elevating it to a height of more than 700 feet above the surrounding landscape. The original 11th-century fortress underwent destruction in the 15th century and in its place, a second fortress was built.
The modern-day Hohenzollern castle was then constructed at the site of this second fortress in the 19th century. The castle was commissioned by Crown Prince Frederick William IV of Prussia and its construction used many Gothic architectural elements. The castle is entirely preserved to this day and is privately owned.
Wernigerode Castle is built at the site of a castle that was originally built by Saxon settlers back in the 12th century. It remained in the control of Saxon counts for some time but then the County of Stolberg assumed control of it in the 15th century. The nobility resumed control of the castle in the 17th century and the castle underwent significant renovations in the 18th century.
More notably, the castle was built in Romantic style in the 19th century at the orders of Count Otto. The structure of the castle remains well-preserved to this day and is open to tourists.
The Reichsburg castle was originally constructed in the 11th century in the region of Cochem. By the next century, the castle had come under the ownership of King Konrad III. A few centuries, it fell to the hands of another king, this time the French King Louis XIV who took control of the castle in the 17th century.
The castle was largely abandoned soon after Louis’s ownership and continued to decline until it was reconstructed in the Gothic Revival style in the 19th century. The castles entire structure remains erect to this day and is open to visitors.
The Wartburg castle was originally constructed in the 11th century in Eisenach. A rich addition was made to the original structure in the 12th century when a large number of rooms built in the Romanesque style were appended to it. A drawbridge was also added although it did not exactly augment the defenses of the castle.
The castle is notable for the fact that Martin Luther stayed at this castle while he translated the Bible into the German language.
The Glucksburg Castle is an iconic structure from the Renaissance days, located in the town of Glucksburg. The castle is built on top of the water by first rising above a 2.5-meter foundation that emerges on top of the water. It is one of the few magnificent water castles that exist in Germany.
The architecture of the castle conforms closely to the Renaissance-era construction style. The interior of the castle is such that the residential portions are located along the perimeter of the main building while the center of the building holds the great halls.
The original design of the castle included a large kitchen garden which was lavishly maintained. Since its construction in the 1580s, the garden has largely become a structure apart from the castle itself and is a rose garden today.
Most of the original structure of the castle has survived over the centuries. Today, the castle is open to visitors and is frequently used for art exhibitions.