Wewelsburg Castle

Büren, Germany

Wewelsburg castle is perched atop a wooded slope close to Paderborn's airport. The fortification Wifilisburg was used during the 9th and 10th centuries against the Hungarians. The next castle was demolished in 1123/24 by revolting peasants. From 1301 to 1589, the Prince-Bishops of Paderborn assigned the estate to miscellaneous liege lords.

The masonry of both predecessor buildings was integrated in the current triangular Renaissance castle. In its current form, the Wewelsburg was built from 1603 to 1609 as secondary residence for the Prince-Bishops of Paderborn. Wewelsburg was taken several times during the Thirty Years' War. In 1646 it was occupied and then razed by Swedish troops – namely by the army commanded by General Carl Gustav Wrangel. After 1650, the mostly destroyed castle was rebuilt by Prince-Bishop Theodor Adolf von der Recke and his successor Ferdinand von Fürstenberg. He carried out some architectural changes; the three towers of the castle got their Baroque style domes.

During the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), the basement rooms were probably used as a military prison. In the 18th and 19th centuries the castle fell progressively into ruin. In 1802, during German mediatisation the castle came into the possession of the Prussian state . On 11 January 1815, the North Tower was gutted by a fire that was started by a lightning strike; only the outer walls remained. From 1832 to 1934, a rectory existed in the eastern part of the south wing of the castle.

In 1924, the castle became the property of the district of Büren and was changed into a cultural center. By 1925, the castle had been renovated into a local museum, banquet hall, restaurant and youth hostel. During the Nazi regime Wewelsburg was used a school for SS organisation, focusing to pseudo-scientific research in the fields of Germanic pre- and early history, medieval history, folklore and genealogy.

Today Wewelsburg hosts a Historical Museum of the Prince Bishopric of Paderborn, Wewelsburg 1933-1945 Memorial Museum and temporary exhibitions. 

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Burgwall 17, Büren, Germany
See all sites in Büren

Details

Founded: 1603-1609
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Reformation & Wars of Religion (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sheryl Fredricks (13 months ago)
It was nice that it was open on a Sunday. I enjoyed both tours that were available through audio in English. One was a tour explaining the history of the Nazi SS and how they used the castle at Wewelsburg. The castle itself had a tour with explanation of the history of the Paderborn Wewelsburg area dating back thousands of years. I enjoyed this educational visit.
Kayleigh Mills (13 months ago)
A lovely place to spend half a day, really interesting museum, whilst alot of the interactive material is only in German there is some information in English too. This triangle castle is pretty cool and the cafe serves fab food at a reasonable price, its nice to have a walk around the grounds too.
Tatu Luuk (14 months ago)
Awesome acustics, you should definately go here and try the vibes in the middle of the basement while talking to it
Matthew Harcourt (14 months ago)
Good value for money, good exhibits, they make an effort to make it accessible for children. We enjoyed it.
Shaun Hanlon (2 years ago)
We live next to the Burg, it's a beautiful, well kept village and very peaceful and quiet. It gets quite busy at weekends with visitors to the Museum, there is a large free car park. Enjoy Wewelsburg; it's a beautiful location.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.