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

Victoria Gallert (7 months ago)
Can’t rate the rooms as we didn’t stay overnight but just walked up to visit for the views and eat at the Biergarten. Lovely spot to visit for scenic views and the food was good. Excellent friendly service
Erik A (11 months ago)
Lovely stay in a medieval castle. Big room in Unteres Schloss with great view. Good hearty german food was what we needed after a day of hiking Malerweg. Staff was very friendly. Highlight of our stay in the national park. :-)
Alex Garcia (11 months ago)
Excellent place to stay, we arrived and the staff was super friendly. Rooms are big and comfortable beds. I can say I felt like royalty ;)
Sumeet Patel (11 months ago)
We just took a tour of the castle and its like a great architecture of its own. Made over the mountain top and its really admirable. Just take bus from Pirna or bad schandau to reach this place.
Karina Grimbs (12 months ago)
Tiny basic room with common showers and bathrooms in Jugendhaus Price is ok for being in a unique location but: Female and male bathrooms are on different floors, so either one always has to go somewhere totally different The room was so small that we could not even stretch on the floor. The room was across from the bathroom, and close to the game room. As isolation is not great we could hear every single move. Breakfast was decent and plenty. Dinner depends on when you go. The wait at the buffet and also the availability and choices are limited. But as there are not much other choices, better take it as well or be prepared.
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