The ruins of Alt-Trauchburg Castle lie above the Weitnau hamlet. Large parts of the original stone walls of the high- to post-medieval castle remain. The ruins are some of the best preserved in the Allgäu region of Germany.
The hilltop castle probably goes back to the time of an earlier fortification of counts of Veringen and Nellenburg. This fortress first appears in written sources in 1041. It was probably located elsewhere nearby; the later castle only appears to have been occupied in the 13th century.
Around 1150 a branch of the lords of Rettenberg was enfeoffed with the lordship and they called themselves thereafter the 'von Trauchburgs'. In the early 13th century Berthold of Trauchburg moved the castle to its present location and built a fortified house or tower house here. In 1224, Berthold was the Procurator of Swabia under Emperor Frederick II.
By 1258 the fief had been given to the stewards of Waldburg, who were able to purchase it in 1306 from the count, who had run into debt. The tower-like core structure was now extended and built on. To the south, the large outer bailey was laid out together with its strong, rectangular, advanced tower.
As a result, the Waldburgs mostly lived in the castle by themselves or let had it managed by vogts (1418 Hans von Mühlegg). In 1429, the Trauchburg went to the Jacobian line of the House of Waldburg. Some lords are referred to in the sources as 'bad stewards', i.e. were in constant financial difficulties.
In 1525, during the Peasants' War, the Trauchburg was looted and damaged. In 1546, troops of the Schmalkaldic League occupied the castle. For these reasons, in the 16th century, a zwinger was added to the main castle, reinforced by artillery roundels. The fortifications of the outer bailey were also enhanced at this time.
In the main castle, two staircase towers were added as well as numerous complicated alterations to make the Trauchburg into representative seat of territorial lordship and government. In 1628, the Waldburgs purchased the title of imperial count and moved in 1690 to their schloss at Kißlegg. In 1729, the now empty Trauchburg was used as a quarry for the new schloss at Kißlegg. Other parts were demolished from 1784 to 1788 for the construction of the castle of Neu-Trauchburg at Isny.
In 1772 the Jacobian line of the Waldburgs died out with Count Francis Charles Eusebius. The estate went to the line of the counts of Waldburg-Zeil and the castle is still owned by this family today. In 1985, the market town of Weitnau began the renovation and development of the Trauchburg.
The terrain of the outer bailey has been largely changed in modern times. On the rocks in the south the remains of a strong, almost square tower are still visible. This bergfried-like tower was used in post-medieval times as a gaol and therefore referred to as the Diebsturm ('Thieves' Tower'). Below it there used to be a small round tower in the enceinte. East of the track lie the foundations of a round tower on the steep mountainside; joined to the north by walls. The former castle entrance was also here, behind the gate of the outer bailey and flanked by two small turrets. The castle restaurant and a barn use the foundations of older predecessor fortifications. The western part of the outer bailey is used as beer garden.
The modern wooden bridge over the neck ditch in front of the main castle was built as part of the remodelling in the 16th century. You enter the courtyard of the inner ward by the remains of the gateway. In the north are the ruins of the main building with three cellar rooms on the ground floor. The wooden fixtures and galleries are modern additions.
The high medieval masonry consists of powerful conglomerate ashlars. Particularly striking is the shield wall-like reinforcement of the crescent-shaped northwest side. The post-medieval components are easy to recognize in places from their brickwork. Off the west side is a Zwinger flanked by two massive round towers. The east zwinger has been demolished apart from the stump of another round tower.
Despite the involvement of medieval archaeologist, Joachim Zeune, and the State Department for Heritage Conservation, the renovation of the castle ruin is often criticized as being too rustic. Many modern fixtures allow the walls to be climbed. Zeune obviously could not enforce his concept of a gentle, preservation-only approach to castle restoration here as at Hohenfreyberg Castle.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.