Falkenstein Castle is located at 1,268 metres above sea level and it is Germany's highest located castle. The stone castle was built approximately 1270–1280 by Count Meinhard II von Tirol on the borders of his land (Tyrol). Because of the unusual situation of the castle it has been interpreted in historical context as a symbol of opposition to the Duchy of Bavaria. The name Castle Falkenstein only came into use in the 15th century. The castle was largely destroyed in the 17th century.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria purchased the ruin in 1883 and commissioned several architects, the first being Christian Jank (the designer of Neuschwanstein), to replace the existing structure with a romantic castle. Jank first created a restrained design, but later envisioned the castle in a dramatic, High Gothic style. Georg Dollmann was employed to produce plans and elevations in the same year based on Jank's design. However, his modest and economical designs displeased Ludwig.
Ludwig died in 1886 before work on the castle proper could begin, and the many plans for Falkenstein were permanently abandoned. The ruin of Castrum Pfronten on the building site was never demolished.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.