Around the globe, there are centenaries of beautiful places. During my lifetime I visited two in particular that I found quite fantastic. They have fascinating and unique Castle’s Architecture. Also, their geography is very different from each other, but both are beautiful. I visited a Bavarian town named Füssen, which is located at Northern of Germany. Also, I visited Bruges, which is located at northwest of Belgium.
Almost ten years ago I went to Bruges and Füssen. My fist impression in both towns was their geography and the way that the castles were built. Füssen is a town surrounded by the Bavarian Alps, and it is the highest town in the Bavarian state with eight hundred and eighty meters above sea level. The town of Fussen has two castles that are different in many aspects. However, the two castles are also immensely impressive because of their size and grandeur. The two castles are Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The castle of Neuschwanstein first impressed me because of its construction. It stands majestically on the Alps Mountains on a ground that is largely inaccessible through land (Riedel, 2013 p. 24). From the town at the foot of the mountain, the castle appears like a castle in the sky. The method of construction of the castle is impressive because of the large blocks of rocks that were used to construct the castle. Therefore, because of the inaccessibility of the land and its time of construction, it is difficult to fathom how the castle was constructed and how the workers transported the materials. Ludwig II of Bavaria constructed the castle in 1837. After construction had been completed, the castle became the summer and romantic residence of the king. Moreover, after its construction, the castle has provided inspiration for many people and stories such as Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. The castle appeared in movies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape.
While the Neuschwanstein castle acted as a residence for the king, the Hohenschwangau castle played the impressive role of being a military fortification. The castle has more war looking image and has enormous walls made of huge rocks. Additionally, it is difficult to gain access to the castle because of its surrounding environment. The castle is surrounded by hills and a river, and this adds to the castle’s fortification for security purposes. The fortifications of the castle walls and the surrounding natural setting make the castle almost impregnable to enemy forces. It is found in the village of Hohenschwangau close to the border with Austria. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria (Wahl, and Wolfgang, 1986, 49)
Bruges, unlike Füssen is a town surrounded by canals, which is why it is known as The Venice of the North of Europe. It has a castle named Kasteel ten Berghe and a palace which is known as the Provinciaal Hof. My fist impression of the Kasteel ten Berghe castle was that in contrast to Füssen castles the town was located on an island near the town. This island can only be accessed via a bridge that connects the town to the bridge. The castle provides an amazing view. It is surrounded by a moat that creates the impression of a medieval feeling in the visitors. The castle is largely different from the Hohenschwangau castle in that it does not have a protective wall or strong walls to protect it from invasion. The primary means of defense for this castle was its inaccessibility. In a case of an enemy invasion. Destroying the bridge would lender the castle completely inaccessible by enemy forces.
The Provinciaal Hof, which is the Palace of Bruges, has an architectural design similar to that of the Neuschwanstein Castle, especially in its gothic style. The palace was constructed during the medieval period, and its style of construction is a reminder of the architectural style of this period. The castle is characterized by the use of the pointed arch and large windows. The palace is different from the castle in that it is located in at the heart of Bruges town. The residents of Bruges often hold festivals around this ancient palace as was the custom after it is construction. For instance. During my visit, I witnessed an ice skating rink right in front of the palace. Around were multiple traditional stands made of wood where people were selling a variety of food items as well as handmade artisan objects such as wooden toys. During its construction, the building served as a royal palace, and it hosted many government meetings. However, the building has now been converted to become a ceremonial building and also to display various exhibitions of art, music, and traditional festivals that mark the traditions of the surrounding community.
While visiting the different sites, I observed that most castles were similar in many aspects. The castles provided different a different atmosphere for the visitors. For instance, the medieval structures remind the visitors of the way of life during medieval times. On the other hand, the castles that were used for military purposes are different because of their strong walls and inaccessibility. One of the most prominent features of these castles is their method of construction. Most of the castles were constructed during medieval times when man had no technology to help in the construction process. The size of the rocks used for construction is large, and it is difficult to explain how the architects managed to move the large blocks without using the technology available today.
- Riedel, Edward, and George Dollmann. “Neuschwanstein Castle.” (2013).
- Wahl, Josef, and Wolfgang Seitz. The Dream King: King Ludwig II of Bavaria: the Life and Dreams of the Fairy-tale King. Ehrenwirth, 1986.