Visit the Chateau Haut-Koenigsburg in Bas-Rhin, Alsace
Standing in an extremely impressive location, the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsburg has dominated the Alsace countryside below since its 12th century construction. The location was, not surprisingly, chosen because of the wide panorama that it overlooks, making it ideal for defenive purposes.
The original 12th century castle was destroyed and replaced in the 15th century with a stronger, better defended castle, although the new castle was also eventually seized and largely destroyed after a three month long siege by the Swedes, 150 years later.
This heralded a long period of abandon and decline for the chateau.
The rebirth of the life of the chateau started around 1870 and the Prussian invasion of France. In 1899, after Alsace had been incorporated into Germany, the castle was given to Kaiser Wilhelm and he proceeded to restore the chateau during the first decade of the 20th century. The recreation of the chateau is a rather romantic version of the original, and in any case there was insufficient evidence for a completely accurate recreation, but Haut-Koenigsburg is still a very impressive castle to visit.
Within the castle there are several features of note, including the donjon (keep), the lower courtyard and the auberge, the mill and the drawbridge. The rooms within the castle are partly medieval and partly 19th century German, each in their own way interesting. The views are of course unmissable!
Now on the Alsace wine route, this fairy tale castle is a major Alsace tourist destination.