Situated near the medieval town of Hechingen, in the center of the Baden-Württemberg region, the Hohenzollern Castle stands on a 855 meters high rock. This effigy of the Hohenzollerns’ dynasty (a noble German family who gave many kings to the country) has a long and tumultuous history. Built for first time during the first half of the 11th century, it was soon destroyed (1423) because of a quarrel between two members of the above-mentioned family and its reconstruction was strictly forbidden by the Emperor Sigismund.
The second castle build on the same spot in 1423, when Frederick II authorized the Earl of Jos Niklas Zollern was even bigger than the original one, consisting of a main building and four defense towers disposed in a half circle. During the Thirty Years War, the fortifications were strengthened, fact which earned for the castle the reputation of being impossible to conquer.
However, the whole domain was abandoned in the second half of the 18thcentury, until 1819 when, during the month of July, King Frederick William IV of Prussia decided to rebuild the fort. The original design of the castle was modified under the direction of Friedrich Schinkel to whom the king entrusted the construction work, in order to provide the building with a more picturesque and romantic look. The construction was started in 1850.
Since then, the castle has become one of the most beautiful and most visited in Europe. The impressive panoramic sight of the Jura Mountains inspired the Emperor William II when he uttered the sentence: “The view of the Hohenzollern Castle is well worth a long journey.”
The castle’s tour takes visitors through two chapels (a protestant and a catholic one) as well as through impressive winding portals. A mixture of architectural styles, the castle has high-ceiling halls whose decorative elements were clearly inspired by other European landmarks: the Ancestral Hall with its British Gothic Revival style, the Count’s Hall which takes after the Parisian Sainte Chapelle as well as after Karlstein Castle situated in Prague’s proximity, while the stairway which enables the entrance into the building reminds Italian Renaissance.
Probably the castle’s most attractive areas are the Blue Saloon with its oak paneling and rich golden-embroidered upholstery, the Library with its mural paintings and statues and the Thesaurus’ Hall where the Prussian Crown and exquisite gold and silver objects are displayed.