If you’re not from Europe and never visited Europe, your perception of a castle is probably very different from the reality of medieval castles. Thanks to fiction castles are often portrayed as as old fashioned mansions for the handsome prince and to whisk the princess to live happily ever after. They were luxurious for their time, but castles had one main purpose: battle. This will be part of our ongoing series of authentic medieval European castles. The Castle (Schloss) Lichtenstein is a small castle near the German city of Reutlingen which I can only recommend for any traveler for an inexpensive, yet educational visit.
A brief history of Schloss Lichtenstein
After 50 years under construction, the castle Lichtenstein was completed in 1150 CE and first inhabited by the Knights of Lichtenstein1. The same noble family continued to possess the fortress at Lichtenstein until the last of their linage died fighting the Turkish invasion of 1687. Throughout its history the old castle was destroyed twice in battle between the citizens of the free city of Reutlingen and the lords of the castle in 1311 and 1388. After the castle was destroyed a second time, a new fortress was constructed. The new fortress was considered one of the best fortified castles and was never again destroyed. After the last of the Lichtenstein family, Ensign Anton of Lichtenstein died fighting the Turkish invasion of 1687, the castle was abandoned until King Friedrich of Württemburg purchased the castle in 1802 and turned it into a hunting lodge. King Wilhelm I of Würtemburg later sold the castle to Duke Wilhelm of Urach and the castle is still owned by the Urach family.
Inside Schloss Lichtenstein
Above pictured is the armory with original weapons and body armor. One of the things that striking is how poorly nourished people were in the middle ages. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this particular piece of armor but visitors can view a display of a set of small squire’s armor. In those days, most boys became squires at 14 or 15. This particular armor would be about perfect for a modern 10 year old boy, but certainly wouldn’t fit a healthy 14 year old.
The Chapel. Most of the noble class had a chapel for them to go to church within the castle.
Visitors to Schloss Lichtenstein can view centuries old, hand carved wooden alter decorations and medieval paintings.
Above you’ll find the family’s dining area and the lord of the castle’s bedroom.
Outside Schloss Lichtenstein
I really enjoyed my visit. I visited the castle with my parents who’ve never been to Europe. My dad is in the picture in front of the castle gates.
Admission to the castle costs on 7 Euros for a guided tour and is a nice educational stop. There’s also a great beer garden to have lunch.
Fun facts about Schloss Lichtenstein:
1) A recent german language version of Sleeping Beauty was filmed at the castle in 2009.
2) The Castle was the primary inspiration for Cammy’s stage in Super Street Fighter II2