Photo credits: Steffen Schmitz

Top 5 German castles which will make your head spin

It's believed that Germany has some 25,000 castles and palaces - or burgs and schlosses. One of the greatest ones are located in the Rhine Valley which is a must-visit place for every castle lover.
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Here're top 5 German castles which will make your heart beat really fast! Schloss Neuschwanstein and Hohenzollern are not included

5. Burg Maus

Where: Rhine Valley
The 14th century Burg Maus or Mouse Castle on the Rhine stands on the east side of the river north of Katz Castle – isn't it cool!? A legend says that this castle owes its name to the Counts of Katzenelnbogen who used to mock the future owner of Burg Maus during the 3 decades of its construction.
Burg Maus. Photo credits: Peter Weller
They reportedly said that the castle was a "mouse" that would be eaten by a "cat". Who was that cat? Of course their 'superior' Burg Katz. The castle was a lucky one – it was never destroyed although the 16th and 17th centuries were very hard for the building as it started to fall apart. After a careful restoration the castle raised from the dead. Anyone can visit the complex now - it hosts an aviary that is home to eagles, falcons and owls.
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4. Burg Katz

Where: Rhine Valley
Unlike Burg Maus its rival – Burg Katz - cannot be visited because it belongs to a Japanese family who do not allow any visitors. The castle in Rhineland-Palatinate was built in the 14th century.
Burg Katz
Today it is a mixture of medieval and not so medieval ruins with 19th century buildings. The castle was totally destroyed by Napoleon in 1806. But even before it was destroyed at least twice in the 17th century during local feudal wars as well as during the Thirty Years war with the French. The only visible medieval part is a ruined keep of the castle.

3. Burg Kriebstein

Where: Saxony
Next comes Kriebstein castle in Saxony. Have you ever heard of the Treasure of Kriebstein? These are items made of gold, silver and porcelain as well as an old tapestry which were found in a fireplace at one of the castle towers back in late 20th century. These treasures were evacuated here by Heinrich Graf von Lehndorf from his family castle Steinort during WWII as the Soviet forces advanced in Easter Prussia.
Burg Kriebstein
But the man who was an officer in Hitler's army took part in July 20 plot to assassinate the Nazi leader. The plot failed and Graf von Lehndorf was put to death. After WWII was over Germany handed over the treasure to the USSR as part of reparations however what was hid in the fireplace remained at the castle only to be found half a century later.
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2. Schloss Moyland

Where: North Rhine-Westphalia
This Neo-Gothic castle in North Rhine-Westphalia clearly stands out. Schloss Moyland survived WWII and was not seriously damaged. Field Marshal Montgomery used the castle as his headquarters and Winston Churchill also visited Moyland during that time. However after they left, Canadian soldiers looted and vandalized the interiors.
Schloss Moyland
The fact that the castle at that time belonged to Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland - a high-ranking Nazi diplomat under Joachim von Ribbentrop - only added fuel to the fire. Originally built in the 13th century the castle now houses the art collection of Van der Grinten brothers. It also boasts the world's largest collection of works by Joseph Beuys, which consists of nearly 5,000 pieces.

1. Reichsburg Cochem

Where: Moselle Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate
And Castle Number One is the 12th century Reichsburg Cochem in Rhineland-Palatinate. Its oldest part is the 40m tall keep which has been towering over the surroundings for the last 1,000 years. The troops led by the French king Louis XIV however had no mercy. Just like they did with many other Rhineland-Palatinate castles Cohem was destroyed.
Reichsburg Cochem, Photo credits: STEFFEN SCHMITZ
The ruins - quite picturesque at that - were spotted in the 19th century when people with money were mad about romantic castles. So it was a rich Berliner who bought them up and built this fairytale castle reincarnation.

Next time in Germany - do plan your trip and make sure you visit all these fantastic castles!
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