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Castles and Palaces - a rich source of myths and legends

As centers of temporal and spiritual power, castles and palaces were naturally also the settings for peculiar events, which have been passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation. Edifices, monuments, anniversaries and celebrations keep alive the memory of catastrophes and miracle rescues, foul crimes and heroic deeds.

The myths are a mixture of fantasy and reality, they tell of knights and serfs, evil-doers and innocents, saints and villains, squires and peasants, of wars and famines, pestilence and ordeals, hallowed miracles and witchcraft. Stories emerged which were only known in particular regions, but there were also those which were widely spread like the series of legends about Charlemagne and Henry the Lion, Tristan and Isolde or Lohengrin.

The heroes are not just noble rulers, but also ordinary folk. There are figures like Michael Kohlhaas and Schinderhannes or Rodensteiner who as a vampire led Wotan's horde in the Odenwald forest. Thanks to the Brothers Grimm who had the stories told to them and wrote them down, many of these old fairytales and legends are familiar to you. If you go along "fairytale road" (Märchenstrasse) you will get a vivid reminder of some of the Brothers Grimm's finest fairytales (you will also find a mention of this on page 34 of our tour recommendations). It leads you to the castles and palaces where the kings and queens, and brave princes and beautiful princesses from the stories used to live, love and suffer. You will find they are in the same state today as they were several hundred years ago. One very special myth surrounds the famous castle of Neuschwanstein. Its originator, King Louis II. of Bavaria, succeeded in transforming himself into a legendary fairy-tale king during his lifetime.