Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, had this modest castle (Landesfürstliche Burg) built in central location of Meran in the second half of the 15th century. He probably used this fortress behind the town hall as his private city residence. However, this ensemble of buildings rather resembles an artistically designed, solid building with low enclosure than a fully-developed castle. For this reason it is simply often referred to as “residence”.
Up to the 16th century the Prince’s Castle remained a royal residence. In 1516 also Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, resided in the castle. As the building repeatedly changed hands, it started deteriorating in the course of the centuries. In 1875 the city of Merano purchased the building. Between 1878 and 1880 a restoration period followed, based on the drawings of the internationally famous architect Friedrich von Schmidt, who also directed the renovations of the Dome of Vienna. When these renovations came to an end, the castle was opened also for the public. Today it hosts the Prince’s Castle Museum.
Its wood-panelled ancient parlours, tiled stoves, bedrooms and maiden rooms provide an interesting insight into the life in Mediaeval times. The furniture, however, dates back to the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Also some weapons such as lances and halberds have been preserved. Moreover there is a little chapel decorated with frescoes dating back to the 16th century.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.