Abandoned Castle in Germany - Schloss Vitzenburg, May 2018

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Jul 25, 2017
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43132811521_ace84f8368_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #01 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

High up on an old vineyard this mysterious fairy tale castle is located. It’s surrounded by a landscape you couldn't paint more beautiful. This mansion in the Neo-Renaissance style is visible from far away, so it became the landmark of the region. But the owner of the castle isn’t interested in rescuing it. Instead it’s decaying more and more. For decades this place has been closed to the public. But a short time ago we had the chance to enter the castle. We set out on a search for clues, to find out what happened to this historical site which had become famous because of a story about a witch.

42228432665_f6442eb984_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #02 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

The history of this place in the heart of Germany goes back to the 9th century. Back then at the very same location a castle was built. At first it was used as a nunnery. But some centuries later it became the home of monks. At this point there were only the castle's main building and a few other houses. Today there's a whole village with a population of around 230 people.

29260760418_eb0058d8d7_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #22 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

A spacious inner courtyard is part of the site. As well as a large park. In one of the building there's a horse stable and even a riding hall.

Nowadays it's possible to explore Schloss Vitzenburg with permission. With a key we're opening a door to a side wing of the manor house.

42414019214_ddb3d5dfe8_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #09 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

There isn't much stuff left behind. Visitors are awaited mostly by long hallways and empty rooms. Traces of decay can be found in the whole building.

The castle had many different owners. Lords took turns, noble families came and went. In course of time this group of buildings was reconstructed many times. In order to practice husbandry, the property was extended bit by bit. Today the overall area of the castle has a size of over 20.000 square meters.

42414035334_15d9a4a30e_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #03 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

The entrance hall is especially palatial and richly ornamented. The stairs are square-built and completely made of marble. The first floor is elaborately decorated as well as you can see on the previous photo. There are even partly mirrored walls.

41321519790_039de9c3c5_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #13 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Multiple parlors with several meters high stuccoed ceilings suggest that splendid parties were hold here in the past. But time marked the building during the ages.

In the 20th century the palace passed into the possessions of the German aristocratic family Münchhausen. Till today this family is known for one of their ancestors who goes by the nickname of “Baron of the Lies”. Baron Münchhausen lived in the 18th century and became famous because of his abstruse stories. For example, he claimed to have saved himself from being drowned in a swamp by pulling on his own hair. Another time he was riding a cannonball to scout enemy positions during a siege. Oh, and in order to come back he just changed to another cannonball that was flying in the opposite direction. You know, just the regular things people did back then.

43132796181_955864cc65_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #06 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

And then World War Two happened. The noble family decided to shelter refugees. There was plenty of them, because more and more people were coming from the East. They were fleeing from the Soviet army. Until war’s end the palace was filled to the rafters with refugees. Around 200 people were living here at once. And the landlord shared nearly all his rooms with the people.

Until April 1945. Suddenly American tanks were at the gates. The allied soldiers occupied the castle and chased out the refugees.

28263258457_49e0c84dce_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #10 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Only a few months later the next occupants came. This time it was the Soviet troops. While other noblemen were running because they knew that they would be hunted, the lord of the manor decided to stay. He didn’t do anything wrong during the Nazi era. Apart from that he was very social and thought he had nothing to worry about. But no - far from it. The Soviet occupying forces brought him to Buchenwald concentration camp. After it was liberated from the Nazis, the Soviet troops used it for their own purposes. Political opponents were imprisoned here to ensure establishing the Socialist state. Only a few years later the baron died in Buchenwald. At this point the rest of the family had already fled to the West. Their land was dispossessed and given to farmers and agricultural workers. The buildings were now owned by a trust.

42414005304_6ae46c54bf_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #16 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

During the time of the German Democratic Republic only a short time later the castle was used for different purposes. As a young people's home, a school of home economics and an agricultural college. In this order. Finally, it was turned into a children and youth psychiatry. Remnants of that time can still be found in many of the rooms.

Until then the castle was maintained by its inhabitants on a regular basis. The decay of the place started with the political changes in 1989. After the reunification of Germany, the psychiatry was closed and relocated in 1996. And the castle was sold for a ridiculously low price. The new owner was able to redecorate the pleasure ground. But only a short time later he had fallen into insolvency. In 2004 the castle had to be put up for compulsory sale.

However, the current owner is never on site. He isn’t caring about his property at all and it’s already been decaying for years now. In the past the whole site was full of life. Today the castle has only a small number of visitors. The people in the surrounding cities are appalled by the current state of their landmark.

43132801921_a9b2cf1bd0_b.jpg Schloss Vitzenburg #05 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

But luckily this isn’t the end of the story. In 2013 the palace had been awoken from its deep slumber. Because it is a dreamlike setting for movies. A famous German audio drama series for children which goes by the name of “Bibi and Tina” was turned into a movie here. The film is about the adventures of the little witch Bibi Blocksberg which are taking place on a horse farm. So in the following years three sequels in total were produced here. The castle which was already decaying for years now was brought back to life by those movies.

Today fans of the films are pilgrimaging to Schloss Vitzenburg. For two Euros per person you can visit the courtyard. For 20 Euros you can get inside the castle. You can now decide for yourself if it’s worth that much money or not. An elderly couple is living in a trailer next to the castle during the day which makes spontaneous and unannounced visits possible.

At this point the future of the castle is uncertain. The owner is willing to sell the whole property for less than ten million Euros. Under the condition that the buyer has a good concept. But until then the decay will advance. This building complex on a vineyard was used as a monastery, castle, home, shelter, school, hospital and movie set. But nothing of that matters anymore when the place is falling apart and no one dares to rescue this manor.

If you want to see more of this stunning castle, make sure to watch our cinematic video:



Super Moderator
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Jun 7, 2014
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That is amazing, brilliantly reported!


Moderate Moderator
Apr 2, 2007
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Wow what a place! Beautiful photos and a brilliant write up.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us.