A real eye-catcher sits on the outskirts of Büdingen. We saw the beautiful castle when we arrived and countless more times while we wandered the cobblestone streets. We definitely had to explore the enchanted seeming estate.
Who Calls This Castle Home?
The castle was first mentioned in 1219, when it was owned by the “Büdingen” family. Twenty-eight years later, the male lineage of the family had all passed and the sons-in-law of four different houses (Breuberg, Hohenlohe, Kempenich & Trimberg) took over. Today it is owned and operated by the Ysenburg family and their patriarch with the wonderful name of Wolfgang-Ernst Ferdinand Heinrich Franz Karl Georg Wilhelm Prinz zu Ysenburg und Büdingen in Wächstersbach. I don’t think that this name will fit on any standardized application form. A bit shorter, but also pretty is the name of his wife, Leonille, Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.
At the entrance to the castle you will find two guards made out of sandstone. The legend says that the two switch places at midnight, but can only be seen by people who have never lied in their life.
Also, this is one of the settings for the Büdingen Frog Folk Tale. Did you miss it? Here it is.
Büdingen Castle Inner Courtyard
Standing inside the forecourt, we admire the big tree in the middle, wondering what all it's seen, and all the windows and doors surrounding it, some of them with very crooked frames. These rooms were occupied by servants many years ago, but have been converted to hotel rooms. If you ever wanted to sleep in a medieval castle, here is your chance.
Büdingen Castle Tour
Our tour guide takes us through a tunnel and a big gate, into another court, the heart of the castle. This is where we enter the Palace room with wonderful murals from the middle ages all over the ceiling, painted around 1546. The murals were eventually covered with white wall paint when the owners of the castle had converted to the Calvinism beliefs, where the display of wealth was frowned upon. In the 1940s the murals were rediscovered, and luckily the white wall paint preserved them perfectly and the murals could be restored to their former glory.
Next, our guide announces that we will be entering the residential part of the castle, where the family still lives. We enter a living room with even more paintings on the ceiling and precious furniture all over the room. The large dining room table is set up and looks very inviting. I would love to sit here and dine. Our guide tells us that the family is usually here on weekends or holidays, but that they value their privacy. We notice more modern family photos sitting on end tables.
Büdingen Castle Chapel
We walk through the alchemist kitchen where they experimented with cures for diseases and reach the late gothic chapel inside the castle.
I am fascinated by the choir stalls cut from oak by Peter Schantz and Michel Silge. Together, it took them two years to complete the choir stalls, and they completed them in 1497. Our guide invites us to sit down to get a better feel for this room.
The carvings in the wood show angels, animals and middle-age weapons and we are told that the two carvers took almost two years to finish this stunning choir. Looking around the room, you realize that all the furniture was made to fit the space. There is an abundance of long, straight walls. The room feels crooked, which forces me to lean back in order to take it all in. Looking up, we see a number of original wedding flags, and the chapel is still currently being used for weddings and christenings. At the cornices are coats of arms of the Ysenburg and Nassau families.
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