Incantato concert venue: Burg Hohenzollern

Hohenzollern Castle lies approximately thirty miles south of Stuttgart, Germany, and is considered to be the ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern family who emerged in the Middle Ages to ultimately rule as German Emperors. Located on Mount Hohenzollern, 855 meters above Hechingen and nearby Bisingen, the castle overlooks the Swabian Alb. It was originally constructed in the early 11th century.
The castle was tragically destroyed following a ten-month siege in 1423 by the imperial cities of Swabia. A second, larger and sturdier castle was completed in 1461 only to fall into disrepair following extended periods of war and an earthquake in the Swabian Alb.
According to historic tale, on a beautiful summer evening in July 1819, the 23-year-old Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia paid a visit to his ancestral seat on Mount Hohenzollern. So impressed by the romantic castle ruins, he quickly ordered its reconstruction.
After being crowned King Frederick William IV, his royal highness wrote in 1844, “The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, especially the sunset we watched from the bastions… Now a dream of my youth has become one wish, to see the Hohenzollern hill made habitable once more.
Along with his Swabian relatives, the princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Hechingen, and the architect Friedrich August Steuler, the king’s dreams finally came to fruition in 1850 when construction began on the new castle. Resulting was one of the most imposing neo gothic castles in Germany, following the romantic architectural ideal of the era. The main castle complex, with its many towers and turrets, is surrounded by ramps and fortifications, acclaimed by 19th century contemporaries as masterpieces of military architecture.
Rising majestically above the Swabian Alb, Burg Hohenzollern offers breathtaking panoramic views of the countryside below. The splendid rooms have been furnished by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1907-1994) with valuable works of art highlighting the history of Prussia’s kings and Germany’s emperors. Among the historical artifacts contained within the castle walls are the Crown of Wilhelm II, some of Frederick the Great’s personal effects, and a letter from United States President George Washington thanking the scion of the House of Hohenzollern Baron von Steuben for his service in the American Revolutionary War.
The castle’s Catholic Saint Michael’s Chapel, whose origins date back to the 15th century, boasts Romanesque sandstone reliefs and 13th century stained glass windows which depict the earliest images of Hohenzollern heraldry. The romantic chapel’s high vaulted ceilings provide the perfect venue for choral performances, especially traditional madrigal arrangements.