The charismatic Burghausen Castle, located in the eponymous town in Upper Bavaria, Germany, is the longest castle in the world and preserves its medieval fortifications even today. Though somewhat overshadowed by the more glamorous castles in the country, Burghausen Castle certainly deserves a visit because of its unique architecture and immense historical significance.
Its sheer size
The Burghausen Castle complex is 1,051.02 meters (3,448 feet and 2 inches) long, making it the largest castle in the world, as confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The first mention of Burghausen Castle can be traced back to the Bronze Age. It served as a sovereign castle under the Bavarian Wittelsbachs. From 1255 to 1503, the castle was the family residence and treasury of the Lower Bavarian dukes. In the later centuries, the castle changed multiple hands, and was extended and modernized several times.
The surrounding geography
Burghausen Castle sprawls across a lofty, narrow ridge between the Salzach River and Lake Wöhrsee, and looks down at the historic town of Burghausen, Upper Bavaria. It is located close to the German-Austrian border, and is around a two-hour drive from Munich.
The castle is an example of Gothic architecture and is mostly made of travertine stone. It consists of an inner courtyard and five outer courtyards, originally protected from invaders by moats, portcullises, and drawbridges. The castle museum, including the art gallery, is housed in the private rooms of the Great Hall (Palas). Stables, a brewery, and a bakery are located in the first outer courtyard. Burghausen Castle is not only the longest castle in the world, it is also one of the few ancient castles with almost intact fortifications, which once made up the most massive stronghold in Germany. The interior is done in an Art Nouveau style.
The Polish princess Hedwig, wife of Duke Georg der Reiche (Georg the Rich), resided in this castle. Even today, once every four years, a huge celebration termed as the Landshut Wedding commemorates the royal match.
Events at the castle
The castle has four beautifully ornate rooms that can be rented for receptions, exhibitions, concerts and banquets. The chapel provides a perfect setting for a romantic, fairy-tale wedding.
The castle remains open to the public from April to September, 9 am to 6 pm daily, and from October to March, 10 am to 4 pm daily. The museum is closed on January 1, Shrove Tuesday and December 24, 25, and 31. Regular price for a ticket is €4.50. Visitors under 18 years of age do not need a ticket.
The castle does not offer guided tours, but visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour around the castle and discover its many wonders, including the Great Hall (Palas), St.Elisabeth Chapel, apartments, courtyards, and the outer fortifications. The art gallery houses a great collection of late-Gothic panel paintings. The icing on the cake is certainly the panoramic view over the river and the town of Burghausen from the roof of the castle. There is a cozy restaurant and beer garden in the outer courtyard.