Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Liechtenstein Castle

I tried, really I tried. I had a subject all planed, I had pictures and I was doing research. But, at the last minuet, yesterday afternoon, I decided not to do the post. I had very good reasons, and I am glad that I am not going to do it. So, that meant that I didn't have a blog post.

Finding a cool castle isn't difficult, my Ever Faithful List of Castles makes that easy, very easy. It is just hard to do a good post in a small amount of time. And I didn't even have a tiny amount of time. I spent the evening looking for a cool-looking castle that didn't have to much information that I could do a post on.

That is when I saw Liechtenstein Castle. I had seen it before (There is a picture of if on the left side of my blog.), but I didn't do a post on it because I could find hardly any information on it, information in English, that is.

Do you remember
Lichtenstein Castle? Well, I found it whilst I was looking up Liechtenstein Castle, the only difference is an 'e' after the first 'i'.

Liechtenstein ("bright stone") Castle is located near Maria Enzersdorf in Lower Austria bordering Vienna. It is near the edge of the Wienerwald a Viennese forest. It was originally built during the 12th century, but it was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1529 and 1683. The castle remained in ruins until
it was rebuilt 1884.

Today, the castle is mainly known for the Nestroy Theatre Festival held annually during the summer months. The castle is currently closed to visitors.

I think that the castle is quite spectacular looking, very tall and grand.

Wissekerke Castle

No, I did not chose it for it's name. It was Sunday, I had no castle to do a post on. I usually at least have a clue which castle I am going to do by Thursday. So I was searching desperately my Ever Faithful List of Castles (Which I am not going to tell you where it is.), under Castles in Belgium. And there was the castle of Wissekerke.

I personally wouldn't be so bold as to call it a castle. But, it is a castle. I do think that it is a beautiful building, though. A very beautiful building, of else I wouldn't do a blog post on it.

The castle of Wissekerke is located in the village of Bazel of Kruibeke municipality in the East Flanders province of Belgium. It was built by Rass Van Borele in 1238. In 1510 the castle was sold to Emperor Carl's counselor, Lieven Van Pottelsberghe. Lieven left the castle to his son, Frans. But Frans died without ever having a son, so the castle went to his mother, who gave it to her brother, Servaas Van Steenlandt. The castle was ditroyed in 1562 by the army of Marnix van Sint-Aldegondon. The restoration of the castle began in 1590. The website did not say by whom.

Over the pasts several centuries, many changes were made on the castle and many new rooms and renovations. Such is the way with castles.

The 23 meter suspension bridge by the castle is one of the oldest surviving wrought iron suspension bridges in Europe. It was designed in 1824 by Jean-Baptiste Vifquain, an engineer from Brussels and has been of value, because of its historical and structural uniqueness. Since 1981, the bridge at Bazel has been a protected historic monument.

Here is the website where I got most of the information:

Not very helpful or informative. But, contrary to common belief, The Internet does not know all and it certainly does not tell all.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Burg Rotenhan

Remember what I said at the beginning of my last post? Well, I found a castle in Germany that I am nuts about. Oh, I'm sure that the more I look I'll find more that I like, but this one is the first. It doesn't have a thrilling history or anything, but I think that it is absolutely beautiful.

It is Burg Rotenhan, located a ways north of the Ebern village of Eyrichshof in Landkreis Haßberge, Unterfranken, Bavaria, Germany.

Since there is really not very much to say about this place, I'll just show you these awesome pictures.

I think that these are some of the coolest stairs that I have ever seen. I never seen any quite like them.

I love the arched doorway in the picture above.

I think that this place is so very amazing. I find this heap of rocks more fascinating and beautiful than all of the other grand palaces in Germany.

This last picture is my favorite.
Though I would like to see Lichtenstein castle, I would Utterly Adore seeing Burg Rotenhan.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lichtenstein Castle

The castles in Germany that I have seen pictures of are mostly, not all, but mostly, either to plain or to disneyprincess, i.e., I've never been too nuts about any of them. Lichtenstein Castle in no exception. It is disneyprincess, but I like it fairly well despite that.

Lichtenstein ("light colored stone") Castle is located in the Swabian Alb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. There has been a castle on this site since 1200. The first was destroyed in 1311 during the Reichskriegs war and again by the city-state of Reutlingen in 1381. It was not rebuilt and fell into ruin.

King Frederick I of Württemberg built a hunting lodge there in 1802. By 1837 the land was owned by the king's nephew, Duke Wilhelm of Urach, Count of Württemberg. Now, Wilhelm was inspired by the fairytale novel
Lichtenstein, written by Wilhelm Hauff, to rebuild the castle in 1840-1842. The Neo-Gothic castle was created by the architect Carl Alexander Heideloff.

Today the castle is still owned by the Dukes of Urach, but is open to visitors. The castle contains a large collection of historic weapons and armor.

I rather like the way the little castle seems to have just been carved out of the crag on which it sits. The lower rooms of the castle actually were carved directly into the rock, but the rest weren't. The tower was built more recently than the rest of the castle. I think it looks like it doesn't really match.

It does look like a lovely place, though, and I should like very much to see it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blue and White Castles

I know it is Thursday and that I usually do my posts on Wednesday, but today is special for a person dear to me, so I had to do a post today, a special post. And for a special post, why not special castles?

You see, it is my Dear Mother's birthday. We are not birthday people, but she means more than anything to me, and I think that the day that the world was first undeservingly graced by her presence should be remembered.

I gave her the this little vessel.(Are we surprised?) The picture really doesn't do it justice.

She loves blue and white dishes and has many very beautiful ones. I like castles, so my post for her is of Blue and White Castles.

I love you, My Dear Mother.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bamburgh-Castle Part II

The great saga of Bamburgh Castle continues.

Bamburgh was very important, due to it's location. It was used to keep the Scots and other rebels at bay. So it was necessary to keep the place up: over the next few hundred years, various improvements were made on Bamburgh. In 1131 the castle was rebuilt (wear and tear from various sieges and all) and fortified. And in 1164 The Great Tower, or Keep, was built. It still stands in the heart of the castle to this day. A very sturdy structure.

A Great Hall, 150 feet long and 34 feet wide, was built by Henry III in 1221. Well, he ordered it to be built, it's not like he did it him self. He also had glass windows put in (a luxury) to protect against the fierce northerly gales and had chimneys built in place of roof holes.

During the War of the Roses (the Red Rose and the White Rose being Lancaster and York [respectively], the two royal families) in 1464, King Henry the Sixth of the Red Rose of Lancaster was living at Bamburgh. Lord Warwick, fighting for Henry's rival Edward the Sixth of the White Rose of York, besieged the castle. After centuries of withstanding every kind of armed assault, Bamburgh Castle finally fell. King Henry fled the castle as the walls crashed to the ground. It was the first castle in England to be destroyed by gunfire. Bamburgh never again regained its powerful status as a fortress.

Another terrible blow befell Bamburgh. In 1610. James the First gave the fortress to Claudius Forster, the castle's last royal keeper, in thanks for his long standing service to the Crown. And so, after more than 1200 years of being the property of kings, Bamburgh Castle was privately owned for the first time. Now this by itself might not have been a problem, but, alas, sadly, though, maybe not surprisingly, the Forsters were unable to afford to keep up the already declining castle and Bamburgh fell into uninhabitable ruin. Only the Norman Keep remained intact. That is, the Great Tower. I knew it was a sturdy structure.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn. And so it (kinda) was for Bamburgh in 1701. The pitiful remains of Bamburgh Castle were inherited by Dorthy Forster, the last of the Forster family. Things looked very hopeless, but, fortunately, Dorthy fell in love and married the distinguished Bishop of Durham, Lord Nathaniel Crew. He was 40 years her senior, but they loved each other and were very happy. That was the dawn, but it came to an end (this had to be tragic). Dorthy died.

But, poor Lord Nathaniel set up a trust fund in the memory of his dear wife to restore her beloved castle and support the people of Bamburgh. This was, perhaps, another dawn.

Dorthy Foster's great niece proved a heroine. Her name was also Dorthy. In 1715, Dorthy's (the younger) brother, Tom Forster, became a supporter of the Jacobite Cause (a political movement to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and the Kingdom of Ireland). Tom was made a General. His army was defeated and he was captured made a prisoner. (In London, if you wanted to know.) Here is where Dorthy comes in. She went to London, riding behind (it's called "pillion") the local blacksmith, to rescue her brother. She would go visit him often, and always took her maid with her (The website didn't say how the maid got to London). On her last visit, she went alone, and she wore under her dress her maid's clothes. When the guards weren't looking, she dressed Tom in the maid's clothes. After a bit, she and Tom left. By now, the guards had been changed, and these ones were accustomed to seeing two women leaving, so they let them pass, and Dorthy and her brother returned safely to Bamburgh.

The Bishop died in 1757 and a large sum of money was left in the trust fund for the upkeep of the castle. The Crewe Trustees began restoring Bamburgh. The work was done under the supervision of Dr. John Sharp. Now, Dr. Sharp did great wonders for Bamburgh. He set up a pharmacy and a hospital, he used his own money to pay for a midwife for the town and he did many other things. He turned the Castle into a free school for underprivileged children, and he had meat, milk and coal distributed to the poor and had their crops ground at the castle mill and the meal sold to raise funds for their benefit.

Dr. Sharp did more great things in 1781. He turned Bamburgh Castle in to a coastguard station. It is believed that it is the first ever of it's kind.You see, the 20 Farne Islands and hidden reefs before the castle had claimed many lives. The good Dr.Sharp was determined to make Bamburgh's seas safe. A gun was fired from the castle in foggy weather, a watch system and beach patrols were set up and massive iron chains for hauling floundering ships to safety. In 1786, Dr. Sharp launched the first ever lifeboat at Bamburgh. He also provided accommodation for shipwrecked mariners and paid for the bodies that washed up on the beach to be buried. I find all of this very neat, particularly fascinating, actually.

But, as you already know, Bamburgh's history is always full of ups and downs. Despite Dr. Sharp's efforts, the Castle fell into financial difficulty once again and the castle was sold.

In 1894, the Victorian industrialist and inventor Lord Armstrong learned that his distant relatives, the Forsters, had put Bamburgh Castle up for sale. He bought the partly restored castle for 60,000 pounds. His vision was to create a great country mansion to be used as a convalescent home for retired gentlemen.

Lord Armstrong did a great many remarkable things. He built a hydro electric power station, and he invented and installed central heating and air conditioning in Bamburgh Castle. But he died before all of his work on the castle was complete. His great nephew, the 2nd Lord Armstrong, completed the work, though, and made Bamburgh a family residence and it remains a private home to this day. It is also a museum.

You can read all about it at This website is where I found the information I have relayed here.

There are two artifacts associated with Bamburgh Castle that are quite interesting, The Bamburgh Sword and the Bamburgh Beast.

The "Beast" is a little solid gold plaque from the 7th century based on Celtic zoomorphological artwork. I couldn't find out exactly how big it is, but one place described it as being "thumbnail sized." The Bamburgh Castle official site says it is "smaller than a penny piece" so that sounds about right. I read on one place that it looks like an elephant, I thought
that's weird, but as I was tracing the picture above, I thought this does look like an elephant. Look at it closely, you'll see. I'd like to tell you what the tablet is but, they don't really know what it is, so I can't. It does look very cool, though, and has become sort of an emblem of Bamburgh Castle.

The Bamburgh Sword is most remarkable: it is the believed to be only one of its kind. I found this place that tells all about this absolutely fascinating sword.

Now, there are pictures of two different swords. I think that the cool shiny one is a replica of what the Bamburgh Sword would have looked like and the rusty shard is the actual sword.

I believe Bamburgh Castle is one of the most amazing fortress I have ever come to know.