Honau (The municipality of Lichtenstein), The county of Reutlingen
Around 1200 sources mention a castle, whose foundations can still be seen in the courtyard of today’s Schloss Lichtenstein. However, the original castle was destroyed in the Reichskrieg of 1311 and in the Städtekrieg. A new castle must have been built before 1394 and was owned by Württemberg, but was first given to the Lichtenstein family and later to the Lords of Neuhausen. In the 16th century, Schloss Lichtenstein lost its military importance and was only occasionally used as a forester’s and hunting lodge. At the end of the 18th century the castle had deteriorated so much so that its upper part got demolished in 1802 by Duke Frederick II and a simple forester’s lodge was put up instead.
The castle only became known when the poet Wilhelm Hauff published his novel “Lichtenstein” in 1826, in which he wrote about the legend that in 1520 it had served as a refuge to the deposed Duke Ulrich of Württemberg. In addition to Wilhelm Hauff, a number of poets of the so-called Swabian Romanticism such as Ludwig Uhland contributed to the wider distribution of the above-mentioned legend. In the 1830s, Count William of Württemberg, a cousin of King William I of Württemberg, had the idea of building an enchanted knight’s castle according to the notions of Romanticism. The Count’s specifications included a main building with a hall, a cabinet with a few rooms, a small chapel, a large tower, a few oriel windows and balconies as well as an entrance gate with a drawbridge. In addition, the castle should have merlons and gables. The outer bailey included the main gate; the knight’s building with the royal stables as well as the ring wall with four bastions. In the spring of 1842 the work was largely completed and on May 27, 1842 Schloss Lichtenstein was opened in the presence of not only the Duke, but also of King William I of Württemberg and his family.
In the following decades, Count William expanded Lichtenstein. After the German Revolutions of 1848 and 1849 the Mathilde Tower, the Eugenia Bastion and the August Tower were added to the fortifications of the outer bailey. In the mean time, Count William had become Duke of Urach. His son, Duke William II of Urach (1864-1928) expanded the outer bailey 1899 Gerobau and added from 1908 to 1910 the so-called Fürstenbau. The two residential buildings were designed by the architect Karl Mayer from Stuttgart. From 1984 to 1999, amounting to 15 years, Lichtenstein was renovated.
Video Schloss Lichtenstein: Horst Guth, Cinecopter