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. 

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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

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ben Foale (5 months ago)
Very interesting exhibits regarding the SS ideology and their practices which set the wheels in motion for European domination from the early 1930's. Castle was very intact and great to walk around in. The bad weather just added to the gloom of the castle to the surroundings
Peter Stadlera (9 months ago)
Extremely interesting sight. 2 exhibitions you can play a whole day for. What a place. Must see for everyone interested in history.
Natalie Simon (14 months ago)
Historical place, where you can dive into the 17th century followed with a later story of the 2nd World War years. Furthermore, the landscapes around arr beautifully arranged with the forestry a river banks. I would recommend this place for a day visit or a longer stay, as the castle is also a budget-hostel for young people.
Ryan Kriste (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle with wonderful scenery. Limited information for English speakers.
sasgreeneyes68 jansen (2 years ago)
Beautiful and interesting castle to visit. Only 3 euro entrance fee per person. Unfortunately closed per tomorrow for 4 weeks at least (due to Corona), but way well worth the trip!!
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