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:
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.