Zwernitz Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Zwernitz Castle

Sanspareil, Bavaria, Germany

Zwernitz Castle is an 11th century castle, once the hereditary seat of the Upper Franconian Walpodes situated in the beautiful village of Wonsees in south-eastern Germany.

Peta Stamper

16 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Zwernitz Castle

First documented in 1156, Zwernitz Castle in the beautifully quiet village of Wonsees in south-eastern Germany was once the hereditary seat of the Upper Franconian Walpodes, a prominent familial line who were present in Bavaria from the 10th century.

Zwernitz Castle history

The structures you can still see today – the keep and tithe barn – date from around 1200. These buildings are part of the original Romanesque complex and are constructed from rusticated ashlar (smoothly finished, square-block masonry surfaces).

In 1338, ownership of Zwernitz Castle passed to the House of Hohenzollern, one of Europe’s most prominent dynasties of princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire and Romania who owned it until 1810 when it was bequeathed to the Kingdom of Bavaria.

During the mid-1550s the half-timbered outhouses surrounding the main building were added to what became a medieval stronghold, as was the rock garden which was overlooked by the castle elevated above.

Zwernitz Castle today

Today, there is a fascinating exhibition documenting the history of Zwernitz Castle, its inhabitants and Sanspareil as well as showcasing a collection of arms, shaft weapons and furnishings spanning the 16th to the 18th centuries. The permanent exhibition, ‘Hunting in the time of the margraves’ documents courtly hunting in the two margraviates of Ansbach and Bayreuth in the 18th century.

Any visit is well worth the stunning panoramic views of the Franconian Switzerland Natural Park, and the rock garden provides a tranquil spot to admire the castle from.

Getting to Zwernitz Castle

In the rural countryside of south-eastern Germany, Zwernitz Castle is just off the 70 highway between Bayreuth and Bamberg. The city of Nuremberg is an hour and 10 minute drive via the A73 from Zwernitz Castle, or you can get a train from the central station to Erlangen then the 202 bus to Sanspareil Busparkplatz/Zwernitz Castle.

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