Prunn Castle is perched on an almost vertical Jurassic outcrop high above the Altmühl river valley south-west of Regensburg. Its impressive appearance from a distance is matched by the views from the castle of the surrounding Altmühltal countryside.
Lords of Prunn were first mentioned in 1037, and they will have certainly chosen the site because of its favourable position on several transportation routes. The castle itself dates from around 1200, a time when many castles were being built. The Danube region centring around Kelheim became very important in this period under the Bavarian duke Ludwig I. One of the oldest parts of the castle is the 31-metre keep.
In 1288, Duke Ludwig of Bavaria acquired the castle from the lords of Prunn-Laaber. In the first half of the 14th century the duke then invested the Fraunberg vom Haag family with the castle. Their coat of arms, the horse on a red background, is still visible from afar on the castle wall.
The large Gothic hall on the ground floor of the medieval palas tract also has a noble and imposing appearance. The ambitions and pretensions of the Fraunbergs are equally visible in other features of the castle, such as the finely profiled Gothic portals and fragments of late Gothic murals with depictions of unidentifiable castles.
In the late Middle Ages, Prunn probably also had a widespread cultural influence. After the death of the last Fraunberg count in 1566, Wiguläus Hund, historian and privy councillor of Duke Albrecht V, discovered in the castle the so-called Prunner Codex, the fourth oldest complete manuscript of the most famous middle high German heroic epic, the Nibelungenlied. The manuscript was transferred in 1575 to the ducal library in Munich and is today in the Bavarian State Library.
However, who was this person who found the manuscript in Prunn, is it in any way connected with the lords of Prunn and what was the cultural context in which the Nibelungenlied was related and written.
Visitors touring the permanent exhibition 'Prunn Castle and the Nibelungenlied' will find the answers to these exciting questions in a varied sequence of rooms which link various motifs of the Nibelungenlied with the history of the building and the everyday world of its inhabitants. The topics of hunting, clothing, law and the role of women in the Middle Ages are vividly presented and acquire particularly realistic dimensions at the various hands-on stations.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.