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Schloss (Castle) Harburg, Southern Germany

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In the Fodor’s 26th Edition of Germany, on page 180, Schloss Harburg is shown as a black square on a map. Unfortunately no information is given of this castle in this edition or on the Fodor’s website. Dating back since the 12th century the castle was originally owned by Staufer royalty. It changed hands in 1299 when it was given as a pledge to the Counts of Oettinggen. It stayed in that line for nearly 700 years. Now, the Oettingen-Wallerstein Family owns Schloss Harburg.
Harburg is one of the oldest and best-preserved historic castles in Southern Germany. The best way to visit is by car. Parking is located just outside the ancient walls and then it’s a quick walk around through the gate into the main dirt square. Once in the square, take a look around. From all angles the castle’s pale walls hang shutters that are decorated red with a yellow “X”. In the center is the original well, which once had an approx depth of 426 feet but after 800 years now only about 154 feet remain. The administration building for the hotel and restaurant was once where the castellan lived and was built in 1562. The souvenir shop dates back to the 16th century and used to be the Bakery but now instead of bread you can buy gifts and the tickets to tour the castle. The tour begins just outside the shop and its first stop is the church. As you walk in, notice the Protestant, Catholic, and Hebrew art and statues that adorn the walls. The church was renovated in 1720 but the paint and art has faded on the walls and even if it's due for another restoration it is awe-inspiring. Next you will walk through what used to be the cemetery and up stairs to walk the Wall Walk. The Wall Walks core elements date back from the 12th century. The “loop-holes,” “hook-guns,” and openings to pour hot water or oil onto the enemy still remain. Visit the dungeon and see the torture “sweat room” and “Dark Room”. I loved the Granary because of the family tree with coat of arms of the Oettingen liege families.
Not only can you tour Harburg’s rooms but you can stay and dine under this historic roof. Most tours are in German but tours in English are offered. It is best to call or e-mail to find out the schedule. Admission is 5 Euros and for a pamphlet in English it will cost 50 cents extra. All money goes to the upkeep of Harburg. The castle is closed on Monday. If you don’t want to tour Harburg it doesn’t cost anything to park and walk around.
Because of a lack of information and spontaneity my boyfriend and I took the tour given in German. We were very lucky to have such a great tour guide that tried to provide us with more information than the pamphlet offered and answered any questions at the end of each room.

D-86655 Harburg / Schwaben
Tel.: (+49) 90 80 / 96 86 – 0
Fax: (+49) 90 80 / 96 86 66
E-mail: burg-harburg@fuerst-wallerstein.de
Web: www.burg-harburg.de

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