During our home exchange in Munich, Germany, we were invited to spend a weekend in Europe’s longest castle complex Castle Burghausen.
Before you ever reach the main castle, which forms the southern tip of the 1051 m [3448 ft] long walled fortification, you have to pass through five outer courtyards, each one dedicated to a specific purpose of castle life, each one fortified to further protect the safety of the ducal household in the inner keep. We were fortunate to stay within the castle complex for two nights. On Sunday morning, we continued on to Landshut to visit yet another Wittelsbach castle. Not just any one of their many residences across the Freistaat Bayern, but Burg Trausnitz, for centuries the main castle of the Wittelsbach dynasty of Bavaria.
Our exceptional weekend only happened thanks to the modern-day castellan of these castles. In the Game of Thrones, a castellan is appointed by his liege lord to govern in his stead, perhaps during a lord’s minority or his absence. In Central Europe of the Middle Ages, a castellan used to be the governor of a castle reporting directly to his liege lord, who was often absent fighting wars. A castellan was in charge of the garrison and the households of the castle. He pretty much ran the day-to-day operations of the castle community. In our Modern Age, a castellan still governs castle operations and he is still reporting directly to his liege lord, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen [Bavarian Administration of state-owned Castles, Gardens, and Lakes]. The soldiers of the former garrison are now museum guards, while the household members have morphed into tour guides, landscapers, and maintenance crews. Foreign invaders with swords and halberds have been replaced by tourists brandishing cameras. The castellan then and now is in charge of the castle gates, his keys are the symbols of his office, his token and batch of honor.
To honor and thank our Castellan and his Lady, who guided us so graciously on her day of rest, I wanted to post a few views of gateways, doors, and locks from both Burg zu Burghausen and Burg Trausnitz. We are very grateful to have had such a unique opportunity to visit!