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

jonathan goblet (2 years ago)
just incredible, by far the most beautiful castle I have visited and a piece of advice do not miss the audio guide, it is extremely complete and told in a very detailed way, I just loved it !
Lucian Anton (NeForYoYo) (2 years ago)
Astonishing castle. A lot of things to see inside. The audio guide is included in the ticket price with a lot of language options to choose from(even Romanian language)
Lou Fegans (2 years ago)
This was the favorite of the three large castles in this region. Recommend one to three hours to tour the castle, listen to the audio guide, and explore this cramped town and cross the river for the picturesque view of the castle from the other side Parking: reasonably priced parking lots with easy access near the train station. Tour: included with your ticket is a real produced audio guide, providing you extensive background and information on each of the rooms that you visit. The audio guide tour provides information on both the rooms you're visiting and the royal family members who once lived here. Unlike some of the other castles in the region You get to see the majority of the castle which is very well maintained
Jon Christensen (2 years ago)
Fun castle to explore with the family. Pretty quiet due to the COVID restrictions so we’re able to walk around by ourselves.
Eduardo Martinez (3 years ago)
Incredible, beautiful village and castle. The castle tour with audio guide is fun and the view of the castle across the river is incredible.
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