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11Hohenzollern Castle - Stuttgart, GermanyHohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern.] The third of three castles on the site, it is located atop Berg Hohenzollern, a 234 m  bluff rising above the towns of Hechingen and Bisingen in the foothills of the Swabian Alps of central Baden-Württemberg, Germany.A popular tourist destination, Hohenzollern castle has over 300,000 visitors per year, making it one of the most visited castles in Germany.The first fortress on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. Over the years the House of Hohenzollern split several times, but the castle remained in the Swabian branch, the dynastic seniors of the Franconian-Brandenburgian cadet branch that later acquired its own imperial throne. This castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege by the free imperial cities of Swabia. A larger and sturdier structure was constructed from 1454 to 1461, which served as a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns, including during the Thirty Years’ War. By the end of the 18th century it was thought to have lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair, leading to the demolition of several dilapidated buildings. Today, only the medieval chapel remains.

07Leipzig - Germany (by Heribert Pohl)Leipzig is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany.  Leipzig is located about 150 kilometers  south of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleisse, and Parthe rivers at the southerly end of the North German Plain.Leipzig has been a trade city since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The city sits at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important Medieval trade routes. Leipzig was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. Leipzig became a major urban center within the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after World War II, but its cultural and economic importance declined despite East Germany being the richest economy in the Soviet Bloc.


28Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany (by S.Rose Fotografie)Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle.


26Schloss Ahrensburg, Germany (by Hans-Peter Hein)Ahrensburg  is a town in the district of Stormarn, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located northeast of Hamburg and is part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Its population is around 31,000. Schloss Ahrensburg, the town’s symbol, is a Renaissance castle dating from 1595.

22Cochem castle, Germany
Cochem is the seat of and the biggest town in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. With just under 5,000 inhabitants, Cochem falls just behind Kusel, in the like-named district, as Germany’s second smallest district seat. Since 7 June 2009, it has belonged to the Verbandsgemeinde of Cochem.


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