The Ahrensburg village came into the possession of the Cistercian Reinfeld Abbey in 1327. After the dissolution of the monasteries due to the Reformation, the whole area came into the possession of the king of Denmark. He rewarded his general Daniel Rantzau 1567 with lordship over these villages. His brother and heir Peter Rantzau built a Renaissance residence in the form of a water castle, now the symbol of the town, and the castle church around 1595. The new schloss buildings were made with parts of the torn-down mansion, on a rectangular island surrounded by a defensive moat. The following year, the chapel was completed. It was modelled on Schloss Glücksburg, built a few years earlier. Four octagonal towers were added later with copper-covered torn heads and lanterns.
The Rantzaus' estate was heavily indebted by the middle of the 18th century and, in 1759, was acquired by the businessman Heinrich Carl von Schimmelmann. Schimmelmann remodelled the castle and village in the baroque style and the current layout of the town reflects these plans.
Historians in Germany consider the building one of Schleswig-Holstein's best-known Renaissance buildings and attractions. Open to the public, it is surrounded by an English park, a chapel, a watermill and a museum.References:
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.