The first documented mention of a castle on the site of current palace dates from 1398. The current palace replaced an earlier previous moated fortress. The manor belonged to the von Schorlemer and the von Rüdenberg families till 1447 when it was acquired by the von Lürwalds. They were followed by the von Hanxleden who were in their turn succeeded by the von Westrems in 1614. Between 1645 and 1819 it belonged to the von Weichs family.
In 1714 Franz Otto von und zu Weichs instructed the architect Justus Wehmer to construct a replacement palace in the fashionable Baroque style, and the new building was completed in 1746. The von Fürstenbergs acquired it in 1830 and it has remained in this family since that time.
In 1945 the palace was occupied by the British and became as a holding centre for refugees rendered homeless by ethnic cleansing after large parts of eastern Germany had been transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union. Between 1999 and 2004 the palace underwent an extensive restoration under the direction of the then owner, Baron Dietger von Fürstenberg, whose work earned him a prize for Historic preservation.
Today Körtlinghausen is available for conferences, receptions and other large functions. Buildings on the north side house administrative operations for the house and its farm estate.
The site comprises a rectangular manor house with two detached wings, one on each side, to the north of the main building. Between them these form three sides of a four sided courtyard. To the north of that runs part of the moat, across which a continuation of the courtyard is flanked by the stable block. Within the moat, the principal island is the one on which the mansion and its detached wings stand: there is also a small 'unbuilt' island to the west of that.
The windows of the simple rendered building are framed in sandstone. On the main building the lines of the hipped roof are interrupted by gable windows, and the roof is topped off with four substantial chimney blocks. On each of the long sides of the court-yard ('Cour d'honneur'), it is rimmed by two short pavilion-like detached wings. On the garden (south) side the double steps approaching the main arched entrance are inscribed with the date, 1721. On the court-yard side the main entrance of the main building is topped of with a double double coats of arms of the von Weichs and (in the eighteenth century, neighbouring) von Droste zu Erwittearistocratic families.
The main double staircase leads to the first floor via a raised mezzanine halfway up A large ground floor reception room, with rich stucco decoration and frescoes on the ceiling, overlooks the park. The coat of arms of the Baron von Weichs who had the château built is prominently displayed along with those of each of his three successive wives.
The chapel is directly accessible from either of the building's two main floors. The ceiling is decorated with a geometrical stucco design incorporating the image of Mary Magdalene, to whom the chapel is dedicated. The ceiling was painted in 1727. The altar dates from 1739. The raised box (literally 'patronal loggia'), constructed to be occupied by the lord of the manor and his family during services, is particularly eye-catching.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.