Hohnstein Castle

Hohnstein, Germany

Hohnstein Castle is located on a hard sandstone slab, 140 metres above the Polenz valley and is the major landmark of the small town. It was probably built around 1200 or earlier as a Bohemian border fortress for the Margravate of Meißen to defend it against Saxony. In 1353 the castle went into the possession of the Bohemian nobleman, Hynek Berka z Dubé, whose coat of arms with crossed oak branches decorates the entranceway to the second courtyard. In 1443 the Berkas of Dubá lost the estate through exchanges and purchase, only mentioned for the first time under their name, to the Electorate of Saxony under Frederick the Humble, although it remained a Bohemian fief until 1806. The Wettins used it as a base for hunting and for salmon spearing (Lachsstechen).

In the succeeding centuries the castle acted alternately as a seat of administration (electoral Amt), a court and a prison. The original wooden structures were gradually replaced during the 17th and 18th centuries by the present stone buildings and even successfully withstood a Swedish siege in 1639.

After the dissolution of the Amt in 1861 the castle served as a men's correctional institute (Männerkorrektionsanstalt) and from 1919 as a juvenile prison.

In 1925 the mighty castle became a youth hostel. In the years 1933/34 a concentration camp was established here for so-called protective custody prisoners (Schutzhäftlinge), in practice 5,600 political prisoners. During World War II a prisoner of war camp was housed in the castle and, after the war it was a refuge for displaced persons. From 1949 it was extended to become the largest youth hostel in the GDR. In 1953 the National Science Museum for Geology, Botany, Zoology and Ecology of the countryside was established here. In 1997 the castle was turned into a Friends of Nature house and youth guest house, to which the museum belongs today.



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Markt 1, Hohnstein, Germany
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Founded: c. 1200
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

J W (7 months ago)
1 star is given to the nice breakfast, no more. 1. Very rare bus connection, especially after 18:00 or weekends, which makes it very difficult to get back. 2. No Internet connection in room, even worse is the mobile connection is also horrible: you have No Internet in your room! Can you imagine this in 21st century? 3. The room quality is very limited, like a 1980's student dormitory, and they cost for 100 euro 4. The castle? yes, it is, a castle, and that's it. No special views or attractions here. 5. No more food or drink after 19: 30, and all stores are closed. No supermarket, No bar, No restaurant, even no light! stay away
Yael Miara-Aharon (9 months ago)
Stayed here at the hostel as a family. Amazing location, well maintained and spotless. Friendly management. Payment is per person so it was relatively expensive as a family. Mattresses were not very comfy. Dinner which was included was ok. Drinks not included. Breakfast was better.
Vaclav Pistora (9 months ago)
More than 800 years old Castle in fantastic condition. Definitely worth visiting.
Erwin Kerstens (10 months ago)
Just visited the tower, which was open to take the stairs to the top for the viewing platform. Also a small exhibition on the history of the castle was open. Public parking in the square in front of the entrance gate. If you are in town, then fine to do the 15 minutes detour, or use it as a target for a walk in the nice wooded area. As a standalone not worthy of your time.
Christy Duijvelaar (2 years ago)
Like a youth hostel, but within a huge building existing since the fourteenth century. Excellent views and all doors are open, to the castle garden, the tower and the historic museum. Prices are very reasonable. Four people one might with buffet breakfast and dinner 132 EUR. Including bed linen. All very well organised, clean and spacious. It was warm under the roof and the windows could not open far, clearly because they watch straight into the depths surrounding the castle. Breakfast buffet more than sufficient, included vegan pate. No options for vegan butter. Reasonable coffee, hot chocolate for the children. Coffee after dinner was much better quality. Vegan option for dinner available upon request and of a good quality. Got a noodle dish, pretty salty but tasteful and with some fresh salad a decent meal. Worth the hike and definitely a place to come back to.
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