Meersburg Castle – Visit the Oldest Inhabited Castle in Germany

The Meersburg Castle is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Germany, home to some enchanting architectural wonders. Just as interesting and culturally rich as the history of Germany, the Meersburg Castle stands true to its place in history. A survivor of many attacks and onslaughts, this castle still evokes awe and wonder. People believe that it has secret underground passages that kings and other Knights used to escape during major wars. Located on the banks of Lake Constance, it also houses a beautiful café open for the public to enjoy a hearty meal and a view to die for.

Meersburg Castle History

Meersburg Castle Inside, by Carsten Steger, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

There are two theories that surround the construction of Meersburg Castle. The first theory suggests that King Dagobert I, during his efforts to Christianize the Alamanni around 630, built the central keep known as Dagobert’s Tower. This theory is mainly based on a source from 1548 and supported by Joseph von Laßberg, a 19th-century resident of the castle. Further reinforcing this theory is a charter issued by Frederick Barbarossa in 1155, referencing Dagobert’s involvement in establishing regional boundaries.

The second theory says that the castle was constructed in the early 12th century, and the association with the Merovingian king was drawn from the tower’s name. This theory takes into account the absence of 7th-century castle records in the Lake Constance region and the substantial castle-building activity in the 12th to early 13th Century. The earliest mention of Merdesburch Castle dates back to 1113, showing a construction date before the early 12th century. The stones at the base of the Dagobertturm, while large and roughly squared, do not point to either the 7th or 12th Centuries, leaving the debate unresolved. However, some architectural similarities link Meersburg to other 12th-century castles.

Meersburg Castle Inside

The castle has 36 fully furnished rooms that are captivating and bear their own unique style and essence. These rooms include the knights’ hall, great hall, castle kitchen, well-water chamber, and guardsmen walkways atop the castle wall. It also contains an extensive collection of weapons and knights’ armour, a bathhouse, and a castle bakery. The most interesting part of the castle inside is a torture chamber from medieval times situated at the base of Dagobert’s Tower and within the castle dungeon, giving a sneak peek into how justice was served during those times.

The rooms also include those where the famous German poetess Annette von Droste-Hülshoff once resided for a while, drawing inspiration from the beautiful lakeside and castle surroundings. Her bust figure is there to be witnessed at the main gate, although she may be lesser known to international visitors. Annette von Droste-Hülshoff famously composed her works at Meersburg Castle until her passing in 1848. As a privately owned castle, its museum has been accessible to the public since 1878.

The charming castle café here provides a scintillating panoramic view of the lake, perfect for a relaxing time during the visit.

Meersburg Castle Interesting Facts

Being the oldest inhabited castle in Germany, the Meersburg Castle has not only a long-standing history but also really interesting facts about it.

  • This popular castle, known as the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Germany, can trace its roots back to the 7th century. Although it wasn’t noted until 1147, the town in which it stands likely existed as early as 1113. Interestingly, the castle has never faced any attack or been razed by external forces
  • Several films have been shot at the Meersburg Castle, including Willi Manages the Whole Thing, Die Fischerin vom Bodensee, Mailman Mueller, Elisabeth und der Narr, and many others

Meersburg Castle Nearby Places to Stay

This historic castle, dating as far back as the 7th century, is also nestled at a beautiful location, just by Lake Constance. Not surprisingly, there are ample choices for accommodation near the castle. While some are usual hotels, other options also include heritage homes, castles turned hotels, homestays, and more. Some options include Hampton Hotel, Hotel St. Elisabeth, Holiday Inn, Parkhotel St. Leonhard, Hotel City Krone, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns the Meersburg Castle?

Currently, Ms Julia Naeßl-Doms is the owner of the castle and takes complete care of the entire premises while also maintaining the castle and looking after tourists, guided tours and upkeep of the café.

Where is the Meersburg Castle located?

The Meersburg Castle is located on the banks of Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Sitting at an elevation of approximately 440 meters above sea level, the castle looms over the Lower City below. However, in relation to the rest of the city, it stands at a similar level.

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