15 January 2014

Baden-Württemberg Weekend: Burg Hohenzollern

Back in September (actually, it was still a couple of days in August), I did a long weekend in Baden-Württemberg. This is a state in southwestern Germany, and it seems to be the state which I know the best, after Berlin and Brandenburg. My first visit to Germany in February 2012 was to Tübingen and Stuttgart, which was in this state. Little did I know that I would come back again and again to this part of the country. So when I was back last August and September, I visited a castle, the Burg Hohenzollern. This castle is about 50 kilometers south of Stuttgart, and is the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family.

It was a little surprising to see the actual castle, since there is a metro station in my neighborhood which is called Hohenzollernplatz, and the station is filled with pictures from this castle. Hence, when I saw the exact same structures live, I was a little excited.

In order to visit this castle, we took the train from Reutlingen (the town where I was staying in), and then a bus. The bus took us to the parking lot, where we had to catch a shuttle that would bring us to the top of the mountain and into the entrance of the castle. We could also hike it from the parking lot to the entrance, but for some reason, we decided not to.

Entering the castle involves going through a series of round pathways that are almost like caves. Basically, instead of using staircases, they used this system of round inclines, so that carriages (and later, cars) can enter the castle. After going through these loops for a bunch of times, you will eventually end up at the courtyard of the castle.

The weather was still nice when we visited, although it was definitely cooler than summer. The courtyard was a little small, but it was beautiful nonetheless. We bought a ticket that allowed us to enter the premises, but unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside. That being said, there is a small area, the chapel, which was not part of the guided tour, but one can visit on their own, and yes, one can use one's camera there. In the guided tour, cameras are not allowed, and one has to wear these large feathery shoes, in order to protect the marble floors.

I guess if you are a royal family, then you can afford to build your own chapel, so that you don't have to go down to the village to worship. Hence, this castle also had a chapel, and there were some interesting people buried in here. The photos I have above are the only indoor photos I have of my visit.

If the weather is good, then one can actually make a picnic at the castle grounds. There isn't much grounds, as this castle is located on top of a mountain. However, there still is space around the castle, as there is a perimeter road with some grass, and you can set up shop and eat your lunch. We didn't bring any lunch, so we just ate at one of the restaurants in the premises, but we did take a stroll around, and we found these interesting statues of the members of the royal family of Hohenzollern.

Finally, there are several towers, which, from a distance, makes this castle very majestic and beautiful. One of the towers were available for visits, and it was being used as an exhibition space. So we did visit that. The rest were closed, but I still took photographs of them.

Overall, it was a good visit. This is a good daytrip if ever you're in Stuttgart or the surrounding areas. Note that this castle is better visited during warmer weather, as the mountain roads can be tricky if there is snow on the ground.

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