Schloss Mergentheim

Mergentheim Palace (Deutschordensschloss von Mergentheim) is a historic building located in Bad MergentheimGermany. The palace was first a castle, built in the early Middle Ages as the seat of the Taubergau [de], but then became a Teutonic possession in 1219, and then seat of the Mergentheim Commandery [de]. The castle became the residence of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order in 1527 and remained the headquarters of the Order until 1809.

The history of Mergentheim Palace begins in the 12th century, when the Counts of Lauda [de] built a castle on the east side of a village called Mergintaim. This castle was then obtained by the House of Hohenlohe, who began expanding it in 1169. In 1219 the master of the castle, Andreas von Hohenlohe, joined the Teutonic Knights with two relatives and donated Mergentheim to the Order. This transfer to the Teutonic bailiwick of Franconia [de] was presided over by Otto I. von Lobdeburg [de], Bishop of Würzburg, and confirmed by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. The Teutonic Knights were given extensive rights in and over Mergentheim, including the limiting of the citizenry’s ability to make legal appeals to the local courts, by Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor in 1340. By the 15th century, the Teutonic outpost at Mergentheim had 19 knights, four of whom were ordained priests.

On 26 March 1524, the citizens of Mergentheim, participating in the German Peasants’ War, rose in revolt to the Teutonic Order and sacked one of their properties in the town. The gates to the town were opened to the peasants of the Tauber valley on 6 April, whereupon more looting took place and the castle was occupied. The residence of the German Master, Horneck Castle, was also attacked by Swabian peasants in 1525 and destroyed. Meanwhile, the Teutonic state in Prussia was secularized by the Kingdom of Poland. In response to the loss of Horneck Castle, the Franconian bailiwick offered Mergentheim as a residence to the German Master, Walter von Cronberg, in 1527. Cronberg accepted and that year combined the offices of the German Master and Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, making Mergentheim the headquarters of the entire Order. This arrangement was provisional until the loss of Prussia became inexorable with the destruction of the Livonian Order in 1561, obliging the Grand Master to remain in Mergentheim. 17 Grand Masters would govern the Order and its territories from Mergentheim until the Order was expulled from the town in 1809.

In 1568, Georg Hund von Wenkheim, Grand Master since 1566, began to expand Mergentheim Castle into a palatial residence. Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria, as Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, established a seminary on the grounds of Mergentheim Palace in 1606–07. It was to be staffed by 12 knights gathered from the Teutonic bailiwicks.

In 1694, Francis Louis of Palatinate-Neuburg, the Prince-Bishop of Breslau, was elected Grand Master of the Teutonic Order to replace his late brother Louis Anton. Francis Louis, who go on to hold five high ecclesiastical offices and extensively reform the Order, rarely spent time at Mergentheim. Towards the end of his tenure, however, he wrote to the Mergentheim authorities about constructing a new high altar in the palace church. When he was informed that it had fallen into disrepair, he ordered a new church. Construction began in 1730, but Francis Louis died in 1732. He was succeeded as Grand Master by Clemens August of Bavaria, who finished the church in 1736.

File:Deutschordensschloss - Schlosskirche - Bad Mergentheim 01.jpg

The palace comprises two ringed complexes, the inner residential and the outer administrative, that together cover an area of 3,000 square meters (32,000 sq ft). The palace began as a pentagonal castle that was first enlarged in 1169. As of 2020, the oldest surviving portion of the complex are the remains of a 13th-century keep to the southeast. Beginning in 1568, the castle was expanded and rebuilt in the prevailing Renaissance style. The palace was again expanded, and remodeled in the Baroque style, by Grand Masters Francis Louis of Palatinate-Neuburg and Clemens August of Bavaria. An outer ring of buildings, farm buildings and what are now the archive building and the Trapponei, was built from the 16th to 18th centuries and, over several phases, joined into one contiguous wing.

The palace is entered through a gatehouse, which is followed in the outer ring by the archive building, then the Trapponei, an administrative building. This is followed by the carriage house, the Bandhaus, the seminary, the rear gate, the Flughaus, riding hall, a barn, and finally the orangery.

Inner ring

The palace church was designed and built from 1730 to 1736 by Franz Joseph Roth [de], a stuccoist from Mergentheim who received the counsel of renowned architects Balthasar Neumann and François de Cuvilliés. The ceiling fresco, Glorification of the Cross in Heaven and on Earth, was painted by Munich court painter Johann Nikolaus Stuber. The structure has a nave flanked by a choir on the east of the nave and two galleries on its west, and a royal box accessed from the second floor of the residential building. The church was consecrated on 30 September 1736 and dedicated to the Virgin MaryElisabeth of Thuringia, and George of Lydda. It was secularized by decree of the King of Württemberg in 1817. A crypt for the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order was built below the church and decorated with stucco by Roth, but it was desecrated and the graves were destroyed around 1809.

Outer ring

One of the last buildings constructed on the palace grounds before its secularization was the chapter house, erected in 1780. It was commissioned by Grand Master Charles Alexander of Lorraine in 1776 and was designed by Franz Anton Bagnato, master builder of the Teutonic Bailiwick of Alsace-Burgundy [de]. The decoration of the hall’s interior is military in character, with stucco reliefs of timpani, trumpets, trophies of arms, and representative symbols for the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The illustrations in the chapter house generally glorify the history of the Teutonic Order.


Mergentheim Palace has had a garden since at least 1600, when a court garden was laid out on the southern and eastern edge of the palatial grounds. From 1739 to 1745, Grandmaster Bayern had that garden replaced with a French-style garden that included an orangery and a pavilion designed by architect François de Cuvilliés. This pavilion was demolished in 1823. In 1791, Grandmaster Maximilian Francis of Austria decided replace the existing gardens with an English landscape garden. The path the garden would be laid out around was completed in 1800, while work on the garden itself was completed by 1804–05. This garden also included two new pavilions completed in 1802.

A portion of the palace gardens lies on the right bank of the Tauber, away from the palace.

In 1864, Carl Joseph von Adelsheim’s collection of antiquities was donated to the city of Mergentheim per his will. According to Adelsheim’s wishes, the collection was displayed in a room in Bad Mergentheim’s town hall, and it was expanded in subsequent years by donations. The collection was moved into Mergentheim Palace in 1927 and three years later gained the sponsorship of local history association and was rebranded into a local history museum. The focus of the museum shifted to the history of the Teutonic Knights after World War II. After a four-year renovation between 1969 and 1973, the palace museum reopened as the Teutonic Order Museum [de]. The museum was further enlarged from 1990 to 1996 to fill the entire residential building, bringing it to a size of 3,000 square meters (32,000 sq ft).


Castles in Baden-Württemberg

German Castles

Schloss Hämelschenburg

Hämelschenburg Castle is a moated castle in Emmerthal in the Weser Uplands between Hamelin and Bad Pyrmont. With its art collections, gardens, a water mill, farm buildings and church, it is considered a major work of the Weser Renaissance. The castle is located on the Weser Renaissance road and on the Niedersachsenweg.

The economic boom between 1520 and 1620 brought brisk building activity to the Weser Uplands. On both sides of the Weser, the nobility and sovereigns built many new castles or significantly redesigned old ones.The Weser sandstone (yellow and easy to hew from the right side of the Weser, red and much harder from the left side of the Weser) was a popular building material for facades, floors and roofing throughout Northwest and Northern Europe. From 1588, Jürgen Klencke (1551–1609; served at the court of Nienburg/Weser and rose to the rank of cavalry captain as a mercenary) and his wife Anna von Holle, the highly educated niece of the Lübeck Bishop Eberhard von Holle from Verden and Colonel Georg von Holle, left the Rebuild Hämelschenburg as a moated castle. It was built at a new location above the Emmer river in the style of the Weser Renaissance. The financial resources came on the one hand from the customs duties that were levied on the road that crossed the property, on the other hand from enormous profits from a brisk grain trade.

In a 30-year construction period, the fenced-in farmstead directly on the Emmer, which had already been built by Jürgen Klencke’s uncle Ludolf Klencke (who had built the key castle from 1581 to 1585), served as a temporary home for the builder and his wife. The construction of the north wing of the complex, which was planned as a three-wing structure, improved the living conditions. The central and southern wings, together with two octagonal stair towers built in the Italian Renaissance style, gradually followed. Jürgen Klencke did not live to see the castle completed, he died in 1609.

Jürgen Klencke and Anna von Holle had 14 children together, 12 of whom grew up, which was an unusual number for the time given the high infant mortality rate. The eldest son took over the castle after the death of his father and had the construction completed with his mother.

During the National Socialist era, the lords of the castle expressly opposed the political regime by invoking the principle of the supreme rule of God over the secular powers, which was documented in their family of knights. This principle was symbolized by setting up a group of figures. Above the fireplace in the dining room on the ground floor of the west wing, Jürgen Klencke and his wife Anna von Holle kneel with their 14 children (13 today, one was stolen) under the crucifix. Surprisingly, this attitude was respected by the NSDAP, and the neighboring town of Hämelschenburg also remained without a local group leader. The only affront to the ruling power can be seen in the widening of the state road through the palace ensemble around 1939, which served to make it easier for NSDAP supporters to travel to the Reichserntedankfest on the Bückeberg near Hameln. The Jewish cemetery in Hämelschenburg was also desecrated a few days after the 1938 Night of Broken Glass, albeit by SA men from the neighboring town.

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The Castle Church of St. Mary.

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German Castles

Schloss Thallwitz

Thallwitz is a municipality in the Leipzig district in SaxonyGermany.

The castle was built around 1580 by the Lords of Canitz in place of the medieval ancestral seat of those of Dallwitz. At the end of the 17th century, the manor came to the chamberlain and chief equerry Christoph Siegmund von Holtzendorff, who had the baroque garden laid out from 1699. The manor then came to the Counts of Hoym and in 1783 it was inherited by the counts and later princes of Reuss-Ebersdorf, who used it as a hunting lodge. In 1848 Reuss-Ebersdorf became part of the Principality of Reuss younger line. In 1882, the architect Arwed Roßbach added a Neo-Renaissance wing with a tower to the palace on behalf of Prince Heinrich XIV. His grandson Heinrich XLV. rented the castle to a plastic surgery clinic in 1942. In 1945 the castle was expropriated; In 1992 the Free State of Saxony became the owner of Schloss Thallwitz. In 1994, the clinic was closed for cost reasons and the building was renovated. However, it then stood empty for decades.  In 2008, the castle and park were returned to the heiress of the Reuss family, Princess Woizlawa-Feodora Reuss, as part of a settlement (mainly with regard to movables and museum property of the Reuss younger line). The property is now in a neglected condition.


Coat of arms of Free State of Saxony

Castles in Saxony

German Castles

Heinrich XIII: the prince suspected of plotting to be German kaiser in coup

Schloss Schönfeld (Altmark)

Schönfeld Castle is a castle in the Schönfeld district of the town of Bismark (Altmark) in the Stendal district in Saxony-Anhalt.

In 1873, Otto von Rundstedt commissioned the construction of a representative palace west of the old manor house on the grounds of the Schönfeld manor, which had been owned by the von Rundstedt noble family since 1509. Shortly before, a pond had been created, on the excavation of which the new building was erected, which was completed within three years.

In 1945, the estate and with it the castle were expropriated in the course of land reform and put to municipal use. The castle was temporarily used as an agricultural school with boarding school and by a consumer outlet.

The von Rundstedt family was able to buy back their farm from the trust in 1993 and renovated the old farm buildings and set up organic farming.

It was not until 1996 that the castle was privatized by the state of Saxony-Anhalt and sold to the East Frisian Röpkes family, who converted the building into a hotel that operated until 2007 and was known as a popular wedding location and branch of the registry office in Bismark. In the years 2007 to 2012 the castle was no longer used and stood empty. The plan to use the castle as a retirement home from 2011 could not be realised. Instead, the castle was taken over by a brothel operator and converted into a brothel.

In 2016, business operations in the castle were resumed. It is now again a branch of the registry office in Bismark. The castle and park also serve as backdrops for film recordings. The broadcaster VOX filmed here for the wedding documentary “4 weddings and a dream trip”.


Castles in Saxony-Anhalt

German Castles


Schloss Schönfeld (Schönfeld)

Schönfeld Castle in the Saxon municipality of Schönfeld was first mentioned in a document as a moated castle in the 13th century and further expanded over the centuries. Until the early 15th century, the noble Schönfeld family sat here. The buildings date from the years 1560 to 1580. In 1882, Maximilian Dathe Freiherr von Burgk acquired Schönfeld Castle and had it rebuilt until 1884. Today, Schönfeld Castle is one of the most important neo-Renaissance castles in Saxony.

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Castles in Saxony

German Castles

Rathaus Blieskastel

The Blieskastel town hall is the town hall of the city of Blieskastel in Saarland. It was built in the 1770s as an orphanage, but it also served administrative purposes from the start. The building is listed as a monument in the Saarland list of monuments.

Centuries after it was built, the orphanage often served as a war hospital and was requisitioned by those in power. After severe war damage in 1944, the destroyed front was restored by local master sculptor Joachim Kirsch in the 1950s.

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Blieskastel (German pronunciation: [ˌbliːsˈkast(ɘ)l]) is a city in the Saarpfalz (Saar-Palatinate) district, in SaarlandGermany which is divided into villages. It is situated on the river Blies, approximately 10 kilometres (6 miles) southwest of Homburg (Saar), 8 km (5 mi) west of Zweibrücken, and 20 km (12 mi) east of Saarbrücken.

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Castles In Saarland

German Castles

Altes Rathaus (Merzig)

Merzig (German: [ˈmɛʁt͡sɪç] (listen), FrenchMercyMoselle Franconian:Meerzisch/Miërzësch) is a town in SaarlandGermany. It is the capital of the district Merzig-Wadern, with about 30,000 inhabitants in 17 municipalities on 108 km². It is situated on the river Saar, approx. 35 km south of Trier, and 35 km northwest of Saarbrücken.

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Buildings in Merzig (Wikimedia Commons)

Bunkers in Merzig (Wikimedia Commons)

Altes Rathaus (Völklingen)

The old town hall was the town hall of the city of Völklingen until 1970 and is now the seat of the city library and the adult education center.

The town hall was completed in 1875 after two years of construction.

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Völklingen (FrenchVœlklangeMoselle Franconian: Välglinge ) is a town in the district of Saarbrücken, in SaarlandGermany. It is situated on the river Saar, approx. 10 km west of Saarbrücken, and directly borders France.

The town is known for its industrial past, the Völklinger Hütte (ironworks) being declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The city is divided into ten districts:

  • Völkingen
  • Fenne
  • Fürstenhausen, home to the coking plant
  • Geislautern
  • Heidstock
  • Lauterbach
  • Ludweiler
  • Luisenthal
  • Röchlinghöhe
  • Wehrden


Castles In Saarland

German Castles