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Schloss Sigmaringen
Photo courtesy Schloss Sigmaringen at Hohenzollern

The Castles of Southwest Germany

Southwest Germany is nothing short of gorgeous with stretches of wine fields and charming towns and winding streets.

The Stately Palaces and Gardens of Southwest Germany celebrated the 25th anniversary of Maulbronn Monastery's UNESCO heritage status in 2018. The agency sustains and maintains 60 magical and historic castles, palaces, gardens and monasteries.

Taking in the castles and gardens of Baden-Württemberg is going back in time to experience worlds of glorious art, architecture, collections of porcelain, tapestries, statuary and acres of elaborate gardens. One extraordinary destination is the Palace of Sigmaringen where the Hohenzollern family has lived and ruled for hundreds of years, and they are still there today.

Hospitality is a cherished tradition at Hohenzollern Palace, also known as Sigmaringen Castle. For centuries, the Hohenzollern family has been welcoming members of the public into their ancestral home. When you are there, you can explore firsthand the history of the royal house.

Palace guides will accompany you on a journey through the world of German nobility, bringing you close to history. It is not magnificence, splendor and grandeur that make these guided tours a piece of living history, but rather the people who lived, loved and dreamed within these historic walls.

Hohenzollern Palace also offers many different tours from the past to the present. One example is a tour focusing on the Hohenzollerns themselves. It's a rendezvous with the past, featuring exceptional people and areas not included in the standard guided tour.

Schloss Sigmaringen at night

In every room you'll encounter a new key figure from a different time period. For example, cigar-loving Prince Karl Anton (1811-1885): he is also the reason why the royal confectioner produces chocolates in the shape of cigars, which are served to guests in the Casemate. Then there are noblewomen, such as Amalia Zephyrine, Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1760-1841): her friendship with Napoleon's wife, Joséphine, led to the special development of the Hohenzollern region during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The noble family still lives in the castle today and makes it known that visitors are welcome year-round for tours and special events. Visitors will also feel right at home in SouthWest Germany's public palaces and gardens as the State Palaces and Gardens of Southwest Germany also open the doors to their public palaces and gardens all year for private and public events, themed tours and theater productions.

Photo courtesy State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Wuerttemberg

The Staatliche Schlösser & Gärten (SSG),the State Palaces and Gardens of Southwest Germany, is the state heritage preservation agency. The agency preserves, protects, develops and maintains 60 historic monuments, including famous places such as Heidelberg Palace in the north but also lesser known gems such as Weikersheim Palace in the northeast, or the luxurious Salem Monastery and Palace on Lake Constance in the south.

As these beautiful castles and gardens span the state of Southwest Germany, driving is one of the best ways to get to many of them for one week's vacation and to allow enough time to book a special tour, linger over a garden, eat a meal in one of the castle restaurants, or enjoy one of the many festivals, concerts and exhibitions.

One important celebration approaching is the 25th anniversary of the UNESCO status of the monastery of Maulbronn, one of the most spectacular places of medieval construction (early Gothic and late Romanesque) in the world. Maulbronn's many buildings are enclosed by medieval walls and towers. Architectural highlights include the Romanesque monastery church, the Gothic cloister, and the fountain house. Historical costume dramas, biographical documentaries, fairy-tale films for children and crime thrillers have considered the monastery as a film location with a very special aura.

Another way to experience the beauty of the area is to bicycle or drive between the towns and royal castles of Heidelberg and Schwetzingen, which are only 10 minutes apart. In Schwetzingen, the summer palace of the kings, the gardens and the orangerie are mesmerizing in autumn. Visitors can spend hours walking and photographing the grounds, having dinner in the orangerie and going to the castle theater in the evening.

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