In 1160, the Abodrite Prince Nicolet, Lord ofSchwerin Castle, was facing the advancing German feudal Lords under the leadership of Henry the Lion. Rather than surrendering the castle, Nicolet ordered the castle to be set alight, thus rendering it useless to Henry and his minions. After its capture, Henry immediately ordered Schwerin to be rebuilt. It later became the ducal seat of Schwerin and then that of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
The castle was left much as it was with very little in the way of modifications until 1477 when Duke Magnus II built the Big New House or” GroBes Neues Haus”. Construction finished in 1503 and it is the oldest preserved building in the city.
During the 16th century, the owners of Schwerin castle had forsaken the defensive capabilities of the original castle and concentrated instead on the more pleasing aspect of beautification. By the 17th Century it had been completely transformed into a palace.
Under the guidance of Georg Demmler, master builder to the royal household, Schwerin was altered yet again between 1843 and 1857. These final modifications were based on the French Chateau Chambord. After all the building work was completed, Grand Duke Fredrich Franz II and his family announced their arrival at Schwerin castle in the most pompous fashion, immediately preceded by the biggest festival the city had ever witnessed.
The castle was nearly destroyed in 1913 when a fire was discovered in the “Elisabethzimmer” – “Elisabeth’s room”. It quickly spread to other parts of the castle reaching the storeroom where all the hunting ammunition was kept. What pursued was a cacophony of small explosions and loud noises. After the fire was dosed, a third of the building was discovered to have been destroyed.
The collapse of the monarchy in 1918 saw Schwerin becoming part of the Mecklenburg Schwerin Free State. In 1921 the castle opened as a museum.
The Löwenburg (“Lion’s castle”), located picturesquely in the Bergpark (“mountain park”) Wilhelmshöhe, presents itself as a romantic knight’s castle from the Middle Ages.
In the inside, however, the castle houses living rooms from the Baroque, which were designed to accommodate the earl and his entourage. Löwenburg Castle was erected by landgrave Wilhelm IX. at the end of the 18th century – a time of major societal changes. Being a ruin, the castle evokes thoughts of fights of siege and defence, but with its seemingly venerable age, it was also designed to underpin the seniority and, thereby, the legitimacy of the dynasty of Hessen-Kassel.
Apart from the armoury with weapons and armours from the 16th and 17th century and the castle’s chapel with the erector’s grave, major parts of the living rooms in the dames’ and lords’ wing are open to the public. The rooms are partly furbished and partly set up as a museum.
The museum can only be visited in the course of guided tours, which start each hour on the hour from Tuesdays to Sundays between 10:00 and 17:00 (last guided tour at 16:00). The guided tour is included in the entry fee.
Lichtenstein Castle is situated on a cliff located near Honau in the Swabian Alb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Historically there has been a castle on the site since around 1200. It was twice destroyed, once in the Reichskriegs war of 1311 and again by the city-state of Reutlingen in 1381. The castle was not reconstructed and subsequently fell to ruin.
In 1802 the land came into the hands of King Frederick I of Württemberg, who built a hunting lodge there. By 1837 the land had passed to his nephewDuke Wilhelm of Urach, Count of Württemberg, who, inspired by Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein, added the current castle in 1840–42. The romantic Neo-Gothic design of the castle was created by the architect Carl Alexander Heideloff.
Today the castle is still owned by the Dukes of Urach, but is open to visitors. The castle contains a large collection of historic weapons and armour.