Weikersheim Palace was originally just a routine medieval castle with a moat around it until the 16th century, when Count Wolfgang II of the House of Hohenlohe developed it into an imposing residence for himself and his family.
The palace is on the Market Square and is the only large building in Weikersheim, so you can’t miss it. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April through October, and from 10 to 12 a.m. and 1.30 to 4.30 p.m. from November through March.
If you have some time before the opera starts, be sure to take a tour of the palace. Some of the rooms still contain the original furniture and tapestries from the 16th to 18th centuries. Our tour guide explained that this branch of the Hohenlohe family died out after a couple of generations. The distant relatives who inherited the castle were preoccupied with other things and just left everything the way it was.
The only way to see these rooms is to take a tour. These are held at least once an hour during the opening hours of the palace. The tours are conducted in German, but they have laminated information cards in several languages that they will lend you for the duration of the tour, so you can get an idea of what it is all about.
This “Knights’ Hall” (Rittersaal) is one of the largest and oldest rooms in Weikersheim Castle. The furniture is gone, but the room is still impressive because of the many paintings on the walls and especially the ceiling.
Count Wolfgang II of Hohenlohe was an alchemist who lived and worked in Weikersheim palace around the year 1600. This permanent exhibition in the palace shows how the alchemists worked at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
The goal of all alchemists was turn transform ordinary metals into more valuable ones, and ultimately into gold. They never accomplished this, but while trying they developed techniques and insights that helped prepare the way for the modern science of chemistry.
Outside, you can see the palace and the garden from all angles because there is a paved walkway called Prince Constantine’s Walk, on which you can walk all the way around the palace grounds in about twenty minutes. This walkway includes two footbridges over the Tauber River.
The walkway was named after Prinz Constantin zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1893- 1973), a descendant of one of the branches of the Hohenlohe family who moved to Weikersheim in 1945, at the age of 52, because he was expelled from Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) at the end of the Second World War, when all his land holdings there were confiscated.
He lived in Weikersheim Palace from 1945 to 1973, and devoted himself to preserving and caring for the palace and its furnishings. He was also the one who made it possible for Jeunesses Musicales to begin using Weikersheim Palace in the 1950s.
In 1967 Weikersheim Palace was sold to the state of Baden-Württemberg, but Prince Constantine went on living there and looking after the palace until his death at age 80 in 1973.
My photos in this post are from 2004, 2005 and 2009. I revised the text in 2019.
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