The largest fortified Stauffer palace north of the Alps was built at the end of the 12th century by the Staufer emperors, which included Frederick I (Barbarossa) in Bad Wimpfen. Even from a far one is impressed by the striking silhouette with the two keeps, named the Red and the Blue Tower, the palace chapel, the arcades of the Stauffer palace and the stone house. Stauffer ladies in historical costumes give guided tours of the imperial palace every Sunday at 2 pm.
The Blue Tower was built about 1200 and served as the high watch tower well into the 19th century. The tower watchmen were hired particularly to look out for fire. The tower watchman tradition – probably the oldest in Germany - has continued for centuries up until today. From 32 meters above one can enjoy a splendid view of the Neckar River valley and the Old Town, which is a listed site, or listen to the tower trumpets on Sundays at 12 am during the season.
The Red tower was also built around 1200. This would have been the last refuge of the lord of the castle it was elaborately equipped (Romanesque fireplace, sanitary fittings). Nearby is the Nürnberger Türmchen, a small tower serving as a reminder of the help renderd by the Free Imperial City of Nürnberg after the Thirty Years` War.
The Steinhaus was the largest residential building in the palace, built after 1217. Probably originally the women´s apartments in the Staufen palace, it is the largest Romanesque dwelling in Germany. Late Gothic stepped gable and seven-sectional window. On the first floor there are valuable medieval and Late Gothic mural paintings. The building now houses the Bad Wimpfen Municipal Museum of History (devoted mainly to prehistory, early history, the Staufen medieval period and the art of stonemasonry).
The Staufen Imperial Palace Chapel (ca. 1160) was dedicated to St. Nicholas with imperial gallery at the entrance from the palace hall. Converted in 1837 into a farmhouse with a barn and stables, the building was restored to its original state after 1908. Today it houses the Bad Wimpfen Municipal Museum of Ecclesiastical History with exhibits from the treasure vaults of the town`s monasteries and churches.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.