Castles are constructions that arouse unusual interest among tourists. Perhaps it is because their characteristics as defensive buildings give them an imposing character that attracts those who observe them, as in the case of Braunfels Castle.
Germany is one of those places that lovers of castles cannot miss, since hides some of the most wonderful that are still preserved. For this reason, below we are going to delve into the history of one of them, specifically that of Braunfels, located in the homonymous town in the state of Hesse.
From ancient medieval fortress to residential palace
The first information we have about this castle is found in a document dated January 3, 1246. In this document, the building appeared with the name of Castellum Brunenvelz.
Braunfels Castle belonged to the Earls of Solms, a family from the Lahn Valley. Previously, this family had already built a castle surrounded by water in Burgsolms, but today there are no remains of this building.
Braunfels Castle was built on top of a hill; from there it rises majestically, greeting visitors. Today, it is an architectural complex with different large buildings, but in its beginnings it consisted only of a watchtower, located in a strategic position to defend the western border of the Counts of Nassau.
Slowly, the fortification grew and a complex consisting of two towers and a residence was formed. All this was protected by a circular wall. In this way, the Friedrichsturm (watch tower), the Pallas (gentlemen’s room) and the Alten Stock (former keep) formed the core of the medieval castle in the 13th century.
In the year 1384, Braunfels Castle became the seat of the Earls of Solms, for Solms Castle was destroyed. From then until 1679, the castle passed the years quietly until a fire devoured it.
the baroque residence
In the year 1693, Count Heinrich Trajektin, owner of the castle, died without male issue. Thus, the castle passed into the hands of his cousin, Count Wilhelm Moritz zu Solms-Greifenstein, who took over the estate and moved, together with his wife Magdalena Sofía, to the castle.
It was during this earl’s regency that Braunfels underwent its greatest modification; It was a long process of expansion and modification. At first, it ended with the reconstruction of the building, which was severely damaged by the fire of 1679.
Subsequently, he added new spaces. Thus, in 1696, he designed an interior courtyard following the pattern of a chessboard. Four years later, he built what is called Ottonische Bau.
Meanwhile, for the year 1704, he again undertook an expansion of the complex with the construction of the cabinet building that was previously a bakery and brewery. He also expanded the Rentkammer (today Schloss-Café), which was completed in 1712.
Later, it raised two large wings, which today are prominent elements of the ensemble.. On the west side of the courtyard, the Lang Bau, and on the north side, the entreebau, characterized by its arcades.
This last building connects with the current Prinz-Albrechtsbau. Finally, in the year 1717, he built the Weedenbau. If you want to get an idea of how this extension was before visiting the castle in person, you can see it on the official website.
Count Wilhelm had plans to continue with the extension of the building. What’s more, he had a pretentious project with which he wanted to build a sumptuous residence with a huge glass dome. This ultimately did not take place.
This count not only undertook the modifications of the castle, but also also carried out projects in the town of Braunfels, such as the market square, which we can still walk through today.
Important facts for visitors to Braunfels Castle
Like the vast majority of castles, the one in Braunfels is also open to the public, although only in the summer season. There are different guided routes; a general one, which offers you a tour of the most emblematic places of the complex, and other more specific ones, which focus on a specific aspect, such as sacred works of art.
In the complex there is another essential building: the church, which dates from the end of the 15th century. It is Gothic in style and consists of three naves. Currently, it is a highly coveted temple for wedding celebrations.
You will also have the opportunity to visit a small museum of the Solms-Braunfels family. Access to the place is easy, there is parking for those who move in their own vehicle and, for those who do not, there are bus services that reach the center of town.
Are we going to visit Braunfels Castle?
Without a doubt, visit Braunfels Castle It is an experience that every castle lover should do once in their life. And it is a place as beautiful as it is historically important.
Many times we do not travel alone, and we already know that we do not all have the same concerns, so if you have to accompany a fan of castles and the visit does not generate any emotion, do not worry; In the castle there is a fabulous cafeteria where you can calmly wait for the end of the tour.