I have been fascinated with the castles of Germany since I first toured
there with the help of my travel agency, the U.S.Army, in 1955.
That's right! Time does go back that far! And still, with all those years, there was never enough time to cover the approximately 12,000 castles (Burg, Burgen), mansions (Schloss), Palaces (Palas) and ruins that remain today in Germany. That number goes up to 20,000 if we include the German castles in the countries that once made up the Holy Roman Empire.
I hope you will enjoy this newly updated and extensive treatment about Germany's Middle Ages. Within these pages you will find history, maps, directories, translated terms and more. And there is more to come! But I wanted to launch the work done so far and find out what you, the visitors, think and want. Over the next few months there will be more maps to castles as I include several other states.
Please feel free to contact me with inquiries and suggestions. I can not respond to inquiries regarding family histories - only specifics about castles and the task of finding them.
Oh, I don't always run around town dressed this way - only for Oktoberfest celebrations.
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I am proud to announce the availability of Roads to Ruins, the book.
This has been a project decades in the making. If you are a castle lover this will be an exciting addition to your collection. If you know a castle lover this will make a great gift!
198 castles, medieval villages and other locations. 192 full-color pages with a brief historical background and a gallery of castle photographs broken down by the German state in which they are located.
What began as an idea for a quick book on the subject of German castles has now stretched out close to 30 years. As a military member I was part of a generation of service men and women who had spent a good part of their military service in Germany and fell in love with its castles. I designed Roads to Ruins in part for those service personnel and their families as a souvenir to remember many castles they may have visited. There is also a large population of residents in North America who have not had the pleasure of serving or traveling in Europe, but have a fascination with castles. For their future travels I have included features in the book to make their travels and castle searches fun and as trouble free as foreign travel can get.
After finding 240 castles in six trips I realized I would only tap the surface of the roughly 12,000 medieval buildings within the current borders of Germany. Under the empire there were at least 20,000 protective structures built in lands now comprising Germany, Northern Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
The term "castle" has long become an umbrella term covering virtually every mansion and palace in Europe (and beyond), from every period of history. In Roads to Ruins I will attempt to bring the term back to roost among the more appropriate form of structure and within a rather limited period of time. For my purposes Roads to Ruins is about structures from the tenth century and (generously) into the earliest years of the 16th century, and those structures research has indicated were fortified in some manner to protect inhabitants from unwelcome visitors with potentially hostile intent.
I have been helped tremendously by Dr. Wilhelm Avenarius (now deceased) of the German Castle Association at Marksburg Castle on the Rhine River. He once stated that if a building originated in the period defined as the Middle Ages, although it may presently be a lavish manor or stately home, it was most likely built with protection in mind and renovated by later generations for the increasing degrees of comfort that innovation and technology have made available.
Whether you have been to Germany or not, whether you have plans to travel there or not, Roads to Ruins will prove a delight own and informative to read, with its short descriptions of some of the highlights of Germany's history, beginning in the last half of the existence of the Roman Empire until the beginning of the proliferation of castle building in the Late Middle Ages.