Sigmaringen Castle

Sigmaringen, Germany

Sigmaringen Castle was first mentioned in the year 1077 in the chronicles of Petershausen monastery. The oldest parts of the castle are concealed beneath the alterations made during the 17th and the 19th centuries. The secret of the earliest settlement built on this defendable rock will never be fully revealed: large-scale excavation work would be necessary, which the extensive land development renders impossible. Judging from the many Roman remains unearthed in the area around Sigmaringen, the 12th century keep known as the 'Roman Tower' could be traced back to a Roman predecessor.

The castle remains that have been preserved (gate, great hall and keep) date back to the Staufer period around 1200. The castle remains were integrated into subsequent buildings. The foundations of the castle buildings are to a large extent identical to the surrounding castle wall.

These remains give us a good idea of how the castle might have looked during the 12th century. With defence in mind, the castle had pyramid and single pitch roofs with several towers and gates. The round window openings and friezes in the solid walls made the castle an artistic highlight of the Upper Danube valley.

No building remains of note have been left behind from the 13th and 14th centuries. Only in the 15th century did a new building period begin at the castle under the eminent and architecturally-minded Count of Werdenberg. The Werdenbergs expanded the building to the north-east. Only the lintel engraved with the year 1498, which is part of the Swedish Tower, now remains. A few years later, the building was expanded to the west.

The third building period began during the time of Count Charles II of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1576-1606). Under the supervision of master builder Hans Alberthal of Dillingen, the castle underwent widescale transformation between 1627 and 1630 and went from being a castle to being a Renaissance château.

In around 1650, the two separate buildings from the Werdenberg period were brought together under one roof by master builder Michael Beer of Au in the Bregenz Forest.

Only minor renovation and building work was carried out during the 18th century. The ancestral hall was established within the castle in 1736 (renovated in 1879). During the years 1860/1880, neo-Gothic style changes were made under royal master builder Josef Laur. The castle was extensively redesigned following the great fire of 1893 during which almost the entire castle was destroyed. The work was carried out by royal architect Johannes de Pay and primarily by Munich architect Emanuel von Seidl in a historicist or eclectic style.

The Portuguese Gallery, which encloses the inner courtyard of the castle on the side facing the city, was completed in 1902 and marked the end of this period of alterations.

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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maria Shalepo (2 years ago)
The castle was closed during Christmas but it's worth seeing even without visiting the inside territory. Just nice walking around the lake capturing this gorgeous pice of architecture. On the lake there were also young swans with their parents ?️ and many ducks of different kinds ?
Reshma Alva (2 years ago)
We visited the beautiful city of Sigmaringen and the palace. We took an audio guide to help us navigate the palace. The audio guide was worth the price. Very descriptive and informative. The palace is filled with antiques, paintings and furniture from the glory days of the palace. This palace also has a big armory with the combat weapons, armor worn by soldiers and their historical evolution. Hardly 2 hours drive from Stuttgart, its an ideal weekend plan.
Yuri Harlamov (2 years ago)
Just WOW from inside and outside.
matt (2 years ago)
Great location, easy price for self guided tour.
Davor Galic (2 years ago)
Absolutly stunning. Do not miss this place.
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.