Merseburg Schloss (Castle)
Visiting castles is like stepping back in time. Their stones evoke mystery and history, bringing to life adventures and battles from the medieval ages. In Merseburg, the mother of towns in central Germany, you must-visit the Merseburg Schloss – one of Germany's most impressive renaissance castles and an important demonstration of the heritage of the city. Wear comfortable shoes and take a trip to the top of the hill to discover a beautiful cathedral, magnificent views of the city and the river Saale. You will be witnessing what once Kings did.
The castle is unique for its noble structure and complex architecture, emphasizing the characteristics of the renaissance movement: symmetry, proportion and geometry with many spires and small towers. It is commonly believed that castles were built for protection of enemies or to show off wealth. In this case, the castle took a long time to finish. Constructions began in 1483 and went on until 1661 when three-winged late renaissance building was finally completed. Together with the cathedral this three-wing building forms a big courtyard. The castle has been used as an administrative seat since 1815 and today officiates as a touring site as well as the district administration of Saalekreis.
After climbing, take a walk through the gardens located to the north and separated from the castle by a water trench. They were built around 1730 by Johann Michael Hoppenhaupt as a pavilion to host parties and nowadays, to keep the traditions alive, it's still a popular venue for holding conferences and meetings. In the garden you can observe a couple of obelisks and a copy of the bronze sculpture of Friedrich Kleist von Nollendorf, a Prussian field marshal. Other points that might interest you include: the statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III and a monument, created in 1816 to commemorate the Battle of Nations in Leipzig.
Fun fact, sad story
The most curious fact about this castle is the empty raven's cage in the courtyard. The cage is made of stone and holds an old German folk story about a Bishop and a raven. The legend says the Bishop accused one of his servants of stealing him a ring and order his execution. On a stormy day, the roof of the cathedral was blown away revealing a raven's nest with the ring in it. The Bishop then constructed the stone cage to be reminded of his mistake every day.
To get a picture of the whole panorama, we suggest you cross the river and near the bridge by the castle you will be able to get the best shot. The castle also has an art museum with unique exhibits you must check out. Read more about the specifics of the Cathedral of Meresburg in the next point of interest.