Burghausen is not only the world’s longest castle that’s extra long. Burghausen extra long means extra long enjoyment of extra attractions from culture to gastronomy.
The seemingly endless walls, battlements, towers and chapels of the longest castle in the world (1,051 m) stretch over a narrow mountain crest nestled between the romantic Lake Wöhrsee and the glittering Salzach, the alpine river forming the border with Austria. The castle which stands as a witness to over one thousand years of history, is the focus of a visit to Burghausen and a picturesque feast for the senses and the soul. Couple of years ago we decided to escape somewhere on 31 st of December in order to avoid the hustle and stress. Silvester (31st of December) 2018 wasn’t exception. After I saw an amazing picture of the castle of Burghausen it was no question where to go. I booked a hotel in the neighborhood and left on the 30 of December for Burghausen (from München it’s 139 kms). The battlements livened up our expectations.
The six castle courtyards were strung together like a pearl necklace. Every castle courtyard had lots to discover.
In the 6th courtyard
The outermost courtyard mainly housed the administrative offices and places of work, officials’ residences and castle staff quarters. The fortified character of the “Oberer Schanz” (bastions with three bridges) was lost through the damage and modifications which occurred in the 19th century.
Highlights of the 6th courtyard:
Liebenwein Tower with temporary exhibitions by the artists group “Die Burg”
Uhrturm – Clock tower with colorful paintwork and sundial
Rentmeisterstock – The tax collector’s rooms, now home to The House of Photography
The Öttinger Gate tower (the sole entrance from the north until 1836): Here, the Hofberg hill leads down into the old town
In the 5th courtyard
The highlight of the 5th courtyard is Hedwig’s Chapel. This outer castle chapel (Hedwig’s Chapel) was built by master court and fortress builder Ulrich Pesnitzer between 1479 and 1489 by order of Duke George the Rich and his wife Hedwig.
Further highlights of the 5th courtyard: Gärtnerturm – Gardener’s Tower, which was converted to a viewing tower in 1963, Aussichtspunkt -Vantage point with a view of Lake Wöhrsee
In the 4th courtyard
This castle courtyard was mainly used to house criminals. However, grain was also stored here. Highlights of the 4th courtyard:
Folterturm – Torture Tower and museum
Haberkasten – The stables and oats barn, now home to The Athanor Theatre Academy
In the 3rd courtyard
One particularly striking sight is the master gunsmith’s tower, also popularly known as “Schwurfinger”, referring to the thumb and first two fingers raised to swear an oath.
Further highlights of the 3rd courtyard:
Pfefferbüchsen -Pepper pots, which were used as guard and lookout towers
Altes Zeughaus – The “Old Armoury” was as used as a weapons and munitions arsenal with a silo. Two fabulous vantage points overlooking the old town and Lake Wöhrsee
In the 2nd courtyard
This castle courtyard is the forecourt to the main castle. The “training yard”, where many events and concerts are held in the summer, is also situated here.
Highlights of the 2nd courtyard:
Georgstor – George’s Gate with the Bavarian and Polish coats of arms
Viewing tower overlooking Lake Wöhrsee
1st courtyard – Inner castle courtyard
The first castle courtyard is the centerpiece of the world’s longest castle. Features of the inner castle courtyard, surrounded by a high tuff stone wall, include two museums, Elisabeth’s Chapel and the heated room.
Highlights of the 1st courtyard:
Entrance to the tour in the lower bailey
Dürnitz – Heated room with the “Zehrgaden” (storage room) underneath; this is now home to the visitor information centre
Inner castle chapel (Elisabeth’s Chapel)
Furthermore, the world longest castle is home to three museums. The House of Photography, the Town Museum and the State Collection. The Burghausen Town Museum is located in the main castle of the world’s longest castle. After the 2012 Bavarian-Upper Austrian State Exhibition, the permanent exhibition in the Town Museum was re-designed from scratch.
See history brought to life across a total area of 900 m2 through a variety of hands-on exhibits and audio stations. Experience courtly culture on the ground floor and learn all about the town’s history on the second floor.
Once the other areas, the “art city Burghausen” and the Salzach-Wöhrsee nature area, are set up, in a few years’ time the Town Museum will be able to present a total of four subject areas over an area of 1,400 m2.
The history of Burghausen
In the 2nd/1st c. BC it was presumably a Celtic sectional fortification
In the 8th/ 9th c. Presumably the fortified official court of the Agilolfingian dukes for the protection of salt shipping
In the 11th/ 12th c. Seat of the Count of Burghausen (until 1164); first castle expansion under Sighard X of the Aribones (around 1090); Henry the Lion is in possession of the castle; further expansion under the Wittelsbachs (from 1180)
In the 13th c. Completely new facility under Duke Henry XIII of Lower Bavaria after the first partition of Bavaria (1255); second residence of the Dukes of Lower Bavaria after Landshut; border stronghold against Salzburg and Passau; oldest preserved structure (main castle)
In the 14th c. Now fully expanded as a defense facility
In the 15th c. The most important construction period under the last Dukes of Lower Bavaria (Henry the Rich 1393-1450, Ludwig the Rich 1450-1479, George the Rich 1479-1503); expansion of the facility to its current form comes under pressure from the Turkish threat (1480-1490); ducal residence; the castle is a self-contained community (defense and residential castle)
In the 16th c. Loss of the castle’s residential character after the Landshut War of Succession (1503-1505); Princes’ residence (sons of Albert IV the Wise); the castle continues to be of great military importance as a main weapons site; minor modifications; begin of decline
In the 17th c. Fortifications strengthened against the threat of the advancing Swedes (1632)
In the 18th c. Expansion of outer fortifications according to the system of master fortress builder Marshal Sebastian de Vauban (1633-1707); turmoil of the Wars of Succession in the first half of the 18th century; extensive rebuilding (garrison castle from 1763); 1779 Peace of Teschen: Burghausen becomes a border town as the Inn section is lost to Austria
In the 19th c. All outer fortifications torn down by French troops under General Ney (1800-1801); Napoleon declares the castle no longer fit for use as a fortress (1809); modifications, demolition, levelling and privatization of parts of the castle; discharge of the garrison (1891); start of large-scale renovations to the main castle (1896); renovation work on the entire castle facility since 1960/1970.
And at the end we visited the Powder tour
To the west of the castle and Lake Wöhrsee, situated on the Eggenberg, the imposing, robust Powder Tower is a prominent landmark. A guards’ walkway linked the complex with the exposed barbican, built in 1488. With its six gun emplacement platforms, the barbican served to defend the castle and was therefore constructed in front of it. Guns and gunpowder were stored in the tower for defensive purposes. The overall diameter of the building is 18 meters, and the walls are five meters thick on average. In emergencies, stocks and a 22-meters-deep well ensured an independent supply of food and water for the garrison. A beautiful walking trail leads through the old “secret passage”, which starts at the entrance to the Wöhrsee bathing lake and along Alois-Buchleitner-Weg to the castle.
Happy new year to everyone, I wish good health and happiness to all of my readers!!! Cheers!