Bonn/Region · Spring is a wonderful time to visit the many castles and palaces in Bonn and the region, especially when the weather is so inviting. We introduce a few of them.
Castles, palaces and old fortresses are fascinating for many people. The impressive dwellings are a reminder of another era. Around Bonn there are numerous castles and palaces that carry much history and are certainly worth a day trip. Here, we share a few of them.
Imposingly perched on the Drachenfels in Königswinter is the Drachenburg Castle. The foundation stone for the castle, built in neo-early Gothic and neo-Renaissance style, was laid in 1882. In 1884, the castle was completed in record time and served as a prestigious residence for the stockbroker, financial expert and later Baron Stephan von Sarter.
Sarter never lived in his castle, however. His adopted home was Paris, where the bachelor died in 1902 without having settled his estate. Jakob Biesenbach, a nephew of Sarter, bought the castle from his estate. He developed the castle for tourism, cultivated all kinds of crops and revitalized the building as a kind of castle for society gatherings. In 1910, Biesenbach sold the estate to the retired cavalry captain Egbert von Simon. His plans exceeded the moderate tourist ambitions of his predecessor. Schloss Drachenburg was to attract masses of visitors as a leisure park but the owner lacked the money for the project. In the course of history, the Order of Christian School Brothers settled in the castle and opened a boarding school there. Under the National Socialists, Drachenburg housed an elite National Socialist school. During World War II, the castle was heavily damaged and eventually occupied by American troops.
After the war, a training center moved into the building and then it stood empty for ten years, from 1960-1970, as it increasingly fell into disrepair. A planned demolition was prevented in 1963, but it was not until 1971 that a private citizen acquired the property. The textile merchant Paul Spinat had the building repaired and refurnished. In 1986, Schloss Drachenburg was placed under a preservation order. In 1989, the North Rhine-Westphalia Foundation for Nature Conservation, Heritage and Cultural Preservation initiated the urgently needed steps toward a comprehensive restoration.
Today, the castle is open to the public. Visitors can view the historic interiors, the private level, the park, a permanent exhibition on the castle's history and the north tower.
At 122 meters, the top of the Godesburg is located in Bad Godesberg. The foundation stone for the so-called Höhenburg was laid in 1210. The archbishop of Cologne, Dietrich I von Hengebach, wanted to build it on the Rhine as proof of his power - because with his election as bishop, Dietrich I entered into struggles for power in imperial politics. At the time, the families of the Hohenstaufen and the Saxon Guelphs were wrestling for power. The opponents Philip of Swabia and Otto of Brunswick were not afraid of anything. The people of Cologne sided with the Guelphs, who had ruled as King Otto IV since 1198. By interceding for Dietrich I, Otto in turn made the latter a follower.
When Otto was expelled from the communion of the church in 1210, Dietrich also came under fire. But instead of ending his allegiance to Otto IV, he arranged for the construction of Godesburg Castle. Whether he wanted to protect the southern tip of his territory and the roads to Cologne and Bonn from afar or to create a place of refuge for himself was unknown at the time.
Today's St. Michael's Chapel on the Godesburg has its origins somewhat later. In the 17th century it was built from the stones of a predecessor building, which was presumably erected during the first expansion of the castle from 1244 under Dietrich's famous successor Konrad von Hochstaden. Konrad probably did not like the idea of owning a castle without divine assistance. In 1891, Kaiser Wilhelm II donated Godesburg Castle, which had been heavily fought over until then and badly destroyed, to the then municipality of Godesberg.
Today the castle is the landmark of Bad Godesberg. From the tower and the viewing platforms, the view of the Siebengebirge and towards Bonn is breathtaking. Inside the castle there is a restaurant today. Visitors can access the lower viewing platforms free of charge, but those who want to go to the top of the tower have to pay an entrance fee.
Brühl is home to the impressive Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces. They are among the most important baroque and rococo buildings in Germany and, together with the palace park, were designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1984. Augustusburg Palace was one of the favorite residences of the then Cologne Elector and Archbishop Clemens August.
Commissioned by Clemens Augustus, the Westphalian master builder Johann Conrad Schlaun first began construction of the castle in 1725 on the ruins of a medieval moated castle. From 1728 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was given its final design by François de Cuvilliés, the master builder at the Bavarian court. Until its completion in 1768, renowned artists of European renown worked here - for example, Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the grand staircase.
Just a short walk from Augustusburg Palace in Brühl, on the edge of a secluded grove, lies Falkenlust Hunting Lodge, one of the favorite hunting lodges of Cologne's Elector and Archbishop. The choice of the building site for this hunting lodge was determined by the flight path of the herons, the preferred prey birds of falconry. After the pleasures of the hunt, courtly society gathered in the sumptuously furnished interiors of Falkenlust Palace. Among the completely preserved rooms, the lavish cabinets stand out - a young Mozart having admired them as early as 1763.
From 1949, Augustusburg Palace was used for many decades as a palace of the Federal President and the Federal Government.
A visit to Augustusburg Palace is only possible with a guided tour, which is offered continuously during opening hours. Falkenlust Palace can be visited without a guided tour.
Since March 1, both castles are open. The 3G rule applies. Groups of 10 or more are requested to make a reservation.
Electoral palaces in Bonn
The Electoral Palace in Bonn was also the residence of the Cologne Elector. In the 18th century, a glorious period began for Bonn. The Elector Joseph Clemens, who lived here at the time, was familiar with the palaces of the French "Sun King" and, with the help of French architects and craftsmen, had similar buildings erected in Bonn. He died before he could realize his building plans, and so Clemens August completed his project. Wonderful buildings were erected, but all at the expense of the citizens and peasants.
The foundation stone was laid in 1697 for the "Residenz", Bonn's largest palace, today the main building of the university, but the two side wings were not built until 1715. This annex housed the private apartments of the Elector and offered an unobstructed view of the Kaiserplatz.
Almost at the same time, the Poppelsdorf Palace was erected. It was built from 1723 to 1761. The building "Clemensruh", which was actually used as a leisure or summer palace, today houses the Zoological Institute of Bonn University. To make it easier to travel from the "Residenz" to the Poppelsdorf Palace in absolutist times, an avenue was built between the two palaces. The road to the Poppelsdorf Palace, which is still visible today, was originally planned as a canal. Due to a lack of money, however, it was laid out as a park-like avenue.
On January 15, 1777, the palace burned down. After the fire, the reconstruction was not started immediately. Only the court garden wing was restored in a simplified form. The use of the palace as an electoral residence ended in 1794 with the invasion of the French Revolutionary troops.
Since the former residence is now the main building of the University of Bonn, it can be freely visited when the university is open.The Poppelsdorf Palace houses the Mineralogical Museum and various facilities of the University of Bonn. It is also worth a visit to the botanical garden directly at the castle.
In the 12th century, the counts Heinrich and Eberhard von Sayn gained influence on the middle Sieg. Around 1150 they built Blankenberg Castle on a hill in the Siegtal, 80 meters above the river - within sight of the abbey in Siegburg. A settlement developed in the neighborhood.
The fortification high above the Sieg River enabled the Counts of Sayn to control the approaches to the Siegtal and the Bergisches Land as well as to the Westerwald. The castle is one of the largest regional castles in this part of the Rhineland.
During the 30-year war, the castle complex was almost completely destroyed. Remains of the palace, the gatehouse and sparse remains of a double chapel have been preserved. On the south side stands a mighty bastion tower from the 15th century, on the north side a round keep.
Today the outer castle is privately owned and cannot be visited. The city of Hennef owns the main castle, which can be visited free of charge. From here you have a sweeping view of the Siegtal and the Ahrenbachtal.
In the middle of Troisdorf is the historical site of Wissem Castle. The history of the court complex dates back to the Merovingian period (500-700 A.D.). The first written record dates back to 1474. The courtyard was surrounded by moats and served as a fortification and ancestral seat of the Lords of Troisdorf.
Components from three epochs make up the building complex. Wissem is an elongated rectangular complex. Two corner towers complete the complex. The manor house was built after 1840 and was renovated and restored in 1954/1955. The east side is occupied by a long quarry stone wing dating back to around 1550. The 18th century brick wings on the north and west sides, damaged during the war, were replaced by new buildings in 1962.
Public funding made it possible to rebuild and reconstruct the west wing between 2010 and 2012. The complex is surrounded by the extensive castle park, which merges directly into the Wahner Heide.
Today, the castle's manor houses the city's Picture Book Museum. In addition, facilities of the city, the Museum of Urban and Industrial History Troisdorf and a restaurant have moved into the courtyard complex.
Adendorf Castle in Wachtberg is a moated castle. It is one of the best preserved moated castles in the Rhein-Sieg district. The history of the complex dates back to the 14th century. Of the original building, however, only the foundation walls and the four corner towers remain. The complex consists of two parts, the manor house and an outer castle. It is surrounded by a moat, which is enclosed by a wall. Adendorf Castle also includes a castle park.
The castle is privately owned. Groups of ten or more people can be guided through Adendorf Castle with advance arrangements. To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Auel Castle in Lohmar dates back to 1391. The current main house was not built until 1763. The building is owned by the La Valette-St. George family. Several famous personalities have visited the castle. In 1811 Napoleon Bonaparte stayed there. Also guests there were Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Today the complex houses a hotel, meeting rooms, a bistro and a restaurant.
There are three different types of accommodation in the Auel Hotel. In the historic baroque castle, luxuriously furnished rooms take you back to days gone by. The Golf Lodge has a minimalist design made of wood and slate, which even won the NRW Architecture Award in 2018. And the Forest Lodge is an idyllic resort above the Aueler ponds, in the middle of nature.
The castle is also a hit with golfers. On the huge 27-hole golf course, every golfer will be challenged.
In the middle of the water stands Heimerzheim Castle, which was first documented in the 13th century. Originally, the castle was a fortification, but it has been expanded over the centuries. The castle has been in family ownership since 1825. The von Boeselager family rents out the castle's rooms for private parties, conferences or company celebrations. The romantic and idyllic location in the middle of nature and at the same time close to the city makes it ideal for this purpose. It takes only 30 minutes to drive from the castle to Bonn city center.
The castle not only offers overnight accommodations but is also located in the direct vicinity of hiking trails of the Eifel National Park and the Römerhof golf course.
Teutonic Knights' Kommende Ramersdorf
The Ramersdorfer Kommende was established between 1200 and 1300 as one of the more than 300 commanderies of the Teutonic Knights. It was first documented in1254 and was rebuilt after a fire in 1842 - in the neo-Gothic style. In 1973, a citizens' initiative fought to preserve the castle. It was to be demolished in the course of the construction of the A59 and A562 but was saved. Afterwards, the castle underwent extensive renovations. Today, it houses a restaurant, hotel, conference and special event rooms.
This list of castles does not claim to be complete or follow objective criteria. It is also not a ranking. The order is arbitrary. Please note that due to the Corona pandemic, changes or closures can occur at any time and at short notice. Is a castle or palace missing in the listing? Send us an email to email@example.com.
(Orig. text: ga / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)