Big Castles, We Got Them
So we followed some stations on the Romanesque Road in southern Saxony-Anhalt, and kept running into castles. Like this one we saw from the breakfast room in our hotel - what a nice view to wake up to.
Neuenburg Castle near Freyburg
The Neuenburg was founded in 1090 by Ludwig the Leaper who also built the Wartburg
. The castle was extended in the 12th century and its most beautiful features date from that time, like the chapel. It also got several towers, halls, walls and gates to turn it into the big boy you can see today.
Neuenburg, outer bailey (Vorburg)
After the Ludowing landgraves died out, the castle fell to the margraves of Meissen of the House Wettin, who further altered the castle - it proabably needed even bigger walls. In the 17th century the Neuenburg came into possession of the prince electors of Saxony who used it as hunting lodge and added some Baroque frills. Like many castles in the former GDR, it didn't fare too well, but was renovated after the reunion..
View from the outer curtain wall to one of the palas buildings
"At the bright shores of the Saale
Castles standing proud and keen;
Their fair walls are partly fallen
And the wind blows through the hallways
Clouds are drifting overhead."
Thus goes an old folksong, and it certainly fits the twin castles of Rudelsburg and Saaleck. And the wind did indeed blow through the halls the day we went there.
North tower of the Rudelsburg in the foreground,
west tower of Castle Saaleck in the background
The Rudelsburg was built in 1050 to protect a local border, and expanded in 1150. It changed possession a few times and ended up as ruin, like Castle Saaleck, though the palas houses a restaurant today.
Rudelsburg, seen from Castle Saaleck
Castle Saaleck is first mentioned in 1140 and was for some time in the possession of the bishops of Naumburg. It fared worse than its neighbour and today only the two - partly reconstruced - towers and bits of the curtain walls remain.
This one is the main seat of the Eckardsberga marshals of the Ebersburg
in the Harz who we already met. The castle was a possession of the landgraves of Thuringia and is another one that retains some Romanesque architectural features. The landgraves visited the castle a few times, so it played a role in history.
Querfurt Castle, with the tower Dicker Heinrich (Fat Henry)
Now we get to a real whopper. Querfurt Castle is seven times the size of the Wartburg. Parts of the inner curtain wall and the cellar of the Granary (Kornhaus
) date to the 10th century, the two towers are from the 12th (Fat Henry) and 13th centuries (Torture Tower - though it actually was a keep and not a prison). Another tower and the outer curtain walls were added in the 14th century, the bastions in the 15th.
15th century bastion, southern gate and the 13th century Marterturm (Torture Tower)
The castle was the seat of the Noble Lords of Querfurt. The family rose to prominence a few times, most notably with Brun of Querfurt who became a martyr in the late 10th century, and Konrad of Querfurt, Bishop of Hildesheim and Würzburg and chancellor of the Emperor Heinrich VI.
The Romanesque chapel (with the Torture Tower to the left and Fat Henry to the right)
The castles dominated out tour this time, but there were some churches as well. See post below.