Wednesday, 5 September 2012

castle week: hessen

Fulda, near where the states of Bavaria, Thüringen and Hessen come together, has, along with the rest of Hessen, an interesting and rich history of reparation and reinvention as earthly and spiritual powers were concentrated, vetted and vested. The Baroque City Palace (Stadtschloss), which has an impressive ensemble of wings, annexes and ornamentation—including an Orangerie (a hot-house for exotic plants) served as a residence for the prince-bishop electors and later the crown prince, dependent on the amoeboid influences of the time, of course, and faces the magnificent cathedral of Saint Saviour, modeled after the old basilica of Saint Peter in Rome, which houses the relics of Germany’s premiere missionary and patron saint, Boniface. Just south of Wiesbaden along the banks of the Rhine is the splendid residential palace and parks of the princes and dukes of Nassau. Schloss Biebrich sprawls with arcades and rotunda and was supposed designed in deference to Versailles as well but the architectural license does not at all seem derivation. The palace was badly damaged during WWII bombing raids but was salvaged and restored, thanks in large part to film and theatrical institutions, like the German motion picture rating agency, that took up temporary quarters in the intact wings.
The towers and bastion of Schloss Steinau, located in the town Steinau an der Straße on a branch of the Kinzig river, form the best-preserved early-Renaissance castle in Germany. The structure, formerly the home to the counts of Hanau, presides over a fairy-tale historic city-centre that was the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm to catalogue and classify folklore and myths. Just to the north of Frankfurt am Main, the fortification of the Lords of Eppstein projects from a spur of the Taunus mountains. 
The archbishop of Mainz, projecting his authority, deeded this territory to the noble line in the 10th century. This grace-and-favour had significant political and economic effects for the land in the following generations, the family rearing several of the archbishops over the years and whose elevated influence cooled tension between Pope and Emperor.