Thanks to both private and state-backed initiatives, there are now more than 300 carefully preserved or restored castles throughout the state. Here's a sample of some of Hessen's most stunning castles.
Just four kilometers outside Bad Homburg, Saalburg is a painstakingly reconstructed Roman fort that was part of the 615-kilometer-long Limes - the wall of fortifications erected by the Romans from the Rhein to the Danube. Kaiser Wilhelm II excavated and reconstructed the site starting in 1898. The complex also includes a museum with original artifacts.
Tel: 06175-937 40
In 1136, 12 monks began the construction of one of today's most impressive monastery structures in northern Europe. Having been dispatched by St. Bernhard of Clairvaux, they developed vine cultivation in the Rheingau and obtained for their wines the highest bids at auctions. Today the Eberbach Monastery is the seat of the largest wine estate in Germany (220 hectares). The former abbey became famous through the film adaptation of Umberto Eco's novel, "The Name of the Rose" (1985). Every year in September the movie is shown at its actual shooting location. Several times a month, the monastery offers tours and wine tastings, as well as numerous other musical and cultural events held in this heritage-protected site. The Eberbach Monastery and its museum are open daily, and the vinothek, restaurant and hotel offer many special arrangements. Tel. 06723 - 92178-100 www.kloster-eberbach.de
According to the Brothers Grimm's fairytale, it is in this very castle, located in the heart of the Rheinhardswald between Kassel and Göttingen, that Sleeping Beauty fell in the arms of Morpheus after a spell was cast over her. Guided tours of the castle and the surrounding gardens are offered from March to October.
Tel: 05671-80 80
The spires of the Braunfels castle stand as an imposing reminder of the town's medieval history. This baroque castle is home to an extensive collection of artifacts from the period. In the summer, the castle hosts an international jousting festival. A team of international stunt men re-enacts the battle scenes and many sideline attractions contribute to transporting visitors back to the days of old. Open daily from April to October, sporadically the rest of the year.
Belzgasse 1, 35619 Braunfels
Tel: 06442- 5002
For more information on castles in the area, please visit these websites: