Hollenfels Castle, with a history dating back to the 11th century, is one of the castles located close to the River Eisch in the so-called Valley of the Seven Castles in central Luxembourg. Located at the southern end of the village of Hollenfels, the castle stands high above the River Eisch. A path with steep steps and wooden bridges leads to the foot of the castle where hollows in the rock can be seen, explaining the origin of the castle's name which literally means 'hollow cliff'. Indeed, there are several tunnels running through the cliffs below the castle. Access to the castle is by means of a brick bridge over the defensive ditch.
The first mention of Hollenfels was in 1129 when Ludolf, Lord of Hollenfels, was given the water rights of the abbey of Marienthal which lies just 400 metres away. The majestic tower, 39 metres tall, with its sumptious Gothic rooms reached by means of a spiral staircase was built in 1380. At the lowest level is the oven room, next comes the servants dining room, then the Gothic Room for the lords of the castle together with a chapel, sometimes used as a bedroom, and finally the armory at the top. The rooms have impressive fireplaces, windows set back in the sturdy walls and a number of sculptures.
Until 1477, the castle belonged to the lords of Hollenfeld and Elter. It then successively became the property of Raville of Ansembourg, Greiffenklau, Raugraves of Salm, von Thinner, von Hohenstein and Brouckhoven-Hohenstein. In the 1680s, the castle was captured by the French, taken back by the Spaniards and finally recaptured by the French. The mansion on the north-eastern side of the keep was added in 1729 and was restyled with a Baroque finish in 1921. In 1929, when the castle was falling into ruin, restoration work was carried out by the Luxembourg architect J. Schoenberg. Between 1945 and 1948, the castle was used as a camp for prisoners of war. In 1948, the Luxembourg State acquired the building and created a youth hostel there.
Today the castle houses State facilities directed towards improving the education of young people. Open throughout the year, the services allow young people to experience the historic building while coming in close contact with nature. The conditions are enhanced by the nearby youth hostel.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.