18 May 2006

Meersburg Castle

We visited the Meersburg Castle with Hedi. (Yes...another extremely hilly hike that Hedi pushed us to make! She is merciless!!) It was a medieval village on the shores of Lake Constance. The armaments in the castle were spectacular even to Mom the Pacifist! There were all shapes and sizes and types of killing implements as well as armor and chain mail that were in incredible shape. All were used by men in this specific castle at some time. It really reinforced what a brutal time the medieval ages were.

To quote from a travel web page:
"Three countries border the shores of Lake Constance (Der Bodensee): Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The town of Meersburg is in Germany on the north shore of the lake, between Friedrichshafen and ├ťberlingen. In the town are two castles, a medieval one, Altes Schloss (Old Castle or Meersburg Castle), and a baroque one, Neues Schloss. Altes Schloss is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Germany.

Meersburg Castle dates back to 628 when Dagobert I, the Frankish king, built a military tower on granite overlooking Lake Constance. Features were added to the castle over the years, including the main tower which dates from 1509.

The castle was built for heavy use, and survived many onslaughts. In 1334 when the castle was under siege by Emperor Louis the Bavarian, Bishop Nicholas I of Kenzingen had a secret underground passage dug from the castle to the lake. The 400 miners assigned to the task finished the tunnel in the 14th week of the siege, allowing supplies to be brought in to the castle without Louis’s notice. With the castle able to hold out for such a long time, Louis was finally forced to give up. After time the tunnel entrance was used as a dungeon. Known as the “Hole of Fear,” prisoners were lowered into it and left to starve. "

Suffice it to say, there needed to be a female touch added here or there to soften the militaristic decor.

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