Okay, here comes the one I’ve been putting off: Schloss Blutenburg.
I went last week (or weekend? I forget) and took bunches of pictures. I also bought (for €4) a historical guide that I cannot read, and I have Wikipedia and a website to tell me about things in German, BUT IT’S OKAY, Google Translate is here to make things more confusing. That is to say, this took so long to post because I ended up typing almost the whole guidebook into Google Translate, sometimes phrase by phrase because GT does better that way. I think I’ve spent five or six hours on it already and I haven’t even done most of the chapel yet.
The “Bluten” in Blutenburg either means “Blood” or “Blossom” — or it could have belonged to somebody who had a similar name, or it could have just changed slightly over time from another name. People are confused as to whether it was also known as “Petalburg,” and even 15th century records aren’t clear. So they don’t know where the name comes from.* During the extensive renovations in the early 80s, they found remains that dated to around 1200, but the first written record of the castle is from 1438. Already in the 13th century it was used by the Wittelsbachs (the “kings”/dukes/varying-titled rules of Bavaria) as a hunting castle.
(*Isn’t medieval history cool??? The 15th century is the very end the middle ages, and comparatively speaking, even 1200 is pretty late — and it’s not like they didn’t write things down at all during that period — yet when you try and trace back the meaning and/or origin of this name, there’s just nothing left to tell us conclusively one way or the other, because the records have disappeared or because they were just busy writing and thinking about different things than we want to know about. I love that.)
Here are the remains of a granite stone wall from 1200. The 1200-era fortress was probably just a stronghold of the local Menzinger aristocracy.
Here is the manor house, or Herrenhaus. The castle complex that existed here prior to 1430 consisted of the manor house surrounded by a wall, four towers, and a moat. (Did you know a castle with a moat is called a “Wasserburg” in German?) There was a chapel dedicated to St Andrew and St Georg – their consecration crosses were found somewhere during renovation, but I think it says they were bricked up again for preservation.
The mid-15th century additions were made by one Duke Albrecht III, and there’s something to do with him having (or trying to have) an affair with this girl Agnes Bernauer. But then he got married to Anna of Brunswick in 1436 and built the lake and the gate tower and the current manor house (though this wasn’t his main residence – it was a hunting castle, remember). By 1441 if not before, the villages of Pipping and Obermenzing belonged to his “”Hofmark.” In 1460, after his death, his sons Johann and Sigismund took over the governance of the estate. But Johann died in 1463, and by 1465 Sigismund, who was a dreamy, art-loving sort of guy, had managed to abdicate and get his younger brother Albrecht IV to take over. He spent most of the rest of his life (he died in 1501) living here in Blutenburg. We’ll learn more about Sigismund later, because the chapel was built under his direction.
Blutenburg from above.You enter through the gate tower (on the right side, towards the bottom). As usual in medieval castles, the chapel and farm buildings are in the outer bailey (or courtyard). The long building along the bottom of the picture is a hall, the “new hall,” because it was so decayed it had to be rebuilt.
The gate tower again. Of course, most of the exterior work you can see today was redone in a more Baroque style – the bright colors of the architecture, the yellowish-white plaster of the house, the emphasis of windows and doors painted green, all probably date from the 17th century.
Here’s the gate. Those numbers on the top left are apparently the remains of a sundial from the 15th century — probably the oldest surviving sundial in Munich!
This part of the courtyard is now used as a tavern. Yes a TAVERN. It was originally swine barns.
Here’s the Herrenhaus again – not a great picture, but it shows the cobblestone ramp going up to the main residential building of the castle. There used to be a bridge here because the moat came right through this part, around the inner bailey (!). Cool.
Okay, bear with me, because here my translation gets weird. But I think this shows how the residential building (from the rear) was attached to the outer curtain walls, and it was linked all the way around…
Above the (c. 1700) horse stables, and to the old hall. Also notice the arrow slits in the walls, although for the most part even the towers were used as living quarters and not for defense.
Another entrance? Is this just a storeroom or does it open into the wall?
Okay, now you’ve been around the walls. Here’s the moat, from the tower nearest the gate.
That church in the distance is Leiden Christi… I visited there next (but the post will have to wait for later!).
Here’s the outer courtyard again…
One last tower picture…
They say the Swedes sacked the castle when they invaded Munich in the Thirty Years War (1618-48), but that appears to be just a legend (though they did destroy some other stuff in Obermenzing). In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the castle fell into disrepair and stayed that way. Apparently it was used for housing ladies (and court mistresses), who filled the rooms with all kinds of fancy French and Italian furniture (which has not been preserved).
In 1827 it was leased as state property to private owners. In 1848, on her last night in Germany, Lola Montez spent the night here. Lola was a dancer who had caught King Ludwig I’s eye, and all his fawning (and her aspirations to the nobility) made the locals furious, so eventually she was exiled when Ludwig abdicated. She was actually born in Limerick in 1818, and died in 1861 in New York.
From 1866 the castle was leased to an order of religious sisters (the Sisters of Loreto – Mother Theresa’s order), and in 1957 the Sisters of the Third Order (of St Francis, I believe) took over and used the complex as a nursing home. They had to give it up in 1976 when expenses became too high. In the 1980s it was renovated to use for the International Youth Library, which is still installed in the castle.
And that is Schloss Blutenburg! Hope you enjoyed. I’ll keep working on my post for the chapel and hopefully get it up in the next day or two.