Waldburg Castle

Waldburg, Germany

Waldburg is the ancestral castle of the stewards and imperial princes of the noble House of Waldburg. Waldburg castle is located on a natural elevation, a drumlin from the last glacial period, at 772 metres height above sea level. The raised situation with view to the west up to the Hohentwiel near Singen, to the north up to the Ulm Minster, to the east far back in the Alpine foothills and southwards far into the Swiss Alps and the Lake Constance made the Waldburg to an important trigonometric point also for land surveying in the early 19th century of the ordnance survey. The steepen drumlin already offers by his very big slope angle an almost ideal military protection for a castle construction, however, complicated also the building and expansion more than seven centuries considerably.

The hill castle was very woody till the eighties of the 20th century. The view at the castle was moved again in the old condition for the public reopening in 1996 by specific deforestation in the beginning of the nineties. During the day, as well as at night with lighting, the castle is a very striking and important landmark in Upper Swabian.

The first foundation of the castle goes back to the 11th century. In this time the family of Waldburg received an official fief from the Guelphs. In the first half of the 13th century the castle was radically rebuilt, the palas was anew established up to the second upper floor. Under Emperor Frederick II the Imperial Regalia were kept in the castle from 1220 to at least 1240. In 1327 the church Saint Magnus was built at feet of the castle.

At the middle of the 16th century under steward Georg IV of Waldburg the castle was developed to a residence similar like a palace. From the 17th century the castle was inhabited only sporadically by the family of Waldburg and the building activity decreased.

Today the Schloss accommodates a museum and is opened for sightseeing during the summer season. The museum shows exhibits to the history of the castle from the Middle Ages on the basis of documents, paintings as well as fitments and basic commodities and to the development of the ordnance survey. The walking tour begins in the ground floor with the late Middle Ages and ends in the third upper floor with the collections of the 19th and 20th century. The Holy Lance, the Imperial Sceptre and the Imperial Orb are exhibited as replicas, since 2013 there is also presented a copy of the Imperial Crown.

A special feature of the exhibition is a Facsimile of the printed wall map of the world by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller where the continent and the name America appeared for the first time, originally published in April 1507. The Federal Republic of Germany consigned the original in 2007 to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The castle chapel is used for church weddings. Parts of the museum and the vaults are also available for wedding celebrations. The Burgschenke, the castle inn, is the former kitchen in the imperial castle; there are offered dishes after original recipes of the Medieval cuisine.

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Details

Founded: c. 1100
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

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