30 youth hostels in Germany can be found in fortresses, castles and mansions. Now, one of Germany's most beautiful historical buildings has been fully restored.
Because of its sturdy fortification, the moated castle of Heldrungen in the North of the State of Thüringen was once believed to be invulnerable. Today, thousands of people occupy the historical building every year, as it now houses a newly refurbished youth hostel.
Once a year a colourful camp scene is reminiscent of the days when the castle and the separate ring of fortifications were erected: craftsmen and tradesmen, minstrels and travelling entertainers take up abode between the moats, bastions and turrets. Furthermore, the Medieval market will take visitors back centuries.
A youth hostel with great history
The first mention of the building was found in a document dating back to the year 1217. The moated castle that still remains today was built between 1512 and 1519 and is the only fully preserved monument in Germany built in the French architectural style. The bastions are arranged in the geometric pattern typical for the Renaissance period in France. A characteristic feature of Heldrungen is the so-called outwork, which, in Heldrungen, is filled with water. In order to prevent deterioration and to preserve their authentic appearance, the buildings have been restored and renovated several times.
The youth hostel moved into the moated castle 40 years ago, and is equally popular amongst school classes, families and seminar groups. The North and South Wing of the castle have recently been renovated so that guests can continue to enjoy high standards. The regulations for the preservation of historical buildings and monuments were also taken into account, and although construction work went on for 5 years, the youth hostel remained open without interruption. Now the hostel is able to house 142 guests; twice as many as before. Pleasant colours, wooden furnishings and an agreeable overall impression create an appealing atmosphere.
Heldrungen lies in the South Harz, near Erfurt and Bad Frankenhausen, and belongs to the natural park Kyffhäuser. Countless hiking trails cross through the uplands; the beech forest is a retreat for wild cats, and in the autumn thousands of cranes rest here on their journey south. Mines, churches, monasteries and historical parks are some of the many attractions of this region full of cultural monuments.