As I was reading the complete collection of Brothers Grimm fairy tales in preparation for this trip, I was completely taken aback by how gory some of them are (several of them end with "and then everyone was dead." Not exactly the same as the "happily ever after" we're so used to) . Having visited two mediaeval castles, I can safely say I understand where the Brothers Grimm took their inspiration for these tales from.
Castles were used in mediaeval times to protect the surrounding towns. They served as armory to help defend against invaders. There was also a court and some family life, but for the most part, castles were all about defense and protection. They were also the center of crime and punishment.
The Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is an excellent example of this. First built in 1027CE, it housed a variety of Emperors as they travelled through the countryside. In the 1300s, it also became a town hall and center for law. It was the home to court life, and there was a wide variety of the finery that we'd expect from castles, like fancy cups and crowns, amazing art, and fancy furniture.
It also had a shocking number of weapons and artillery pieces that served for protection during wartime.
The castle also had a tower, called the Sinwell Tower, which was used for keeping lookout.
One thing that surprised me was how much the city had to rebuilt after WWII. Nuremberg was Nazi headquarters, and was heavily attacked during the war. In 1945, pretty much the entire city had to be rebuilt from scratch. The city has posted pictures of the damage everywhere as a warning.
After touring Nuremberg, it was time to head to Burg Colmburg. (My picture from the road didn't turn out, but here's what it looks like:)
;_Burg Colmberg is a castle that was built as a wooden tower in the year 711CE. In 1128CE, the castle was extended and further built to be a fortified fortress and robbery castle. It became the defensive heart of the city and provided protection to the inhabitants. In the late 1960s, it was purchased and converted into a hotel. Visitors can opt to eat or spend the night there.
I couldn't WAIT to get some writing done in an actual, real-life castle! I made an (extremely rough, due to lack of time/internet.) video tour of it. Check it out:
It was incredible to walk around on something that's been around for almost a thousand years. I wonder what stories the walls would tell if they could talk!
Hunting has long been a tradition at castles, and this one is no different- there were deer running around everywhere!
It's been an awesome day, and I learned A LOT of new things about how the middle ages and castles worked. It also shed some light on the stories from the Brothers Grimm that I'd wondered about. Tomorrow I'll hit the official start of the Fairy Tale Trail in Hanau. It's marked by a giant monument to the Brothers Grimm.