Just west of Munich (around 14 min by car from Nymphenburg Palace) is a medieval moated castle that was once the country residence of Duke Albrecht III of Bavaria (and his son, Duke Sigismund).
Blutenburg Castle was built in the 1430’s as a hunting lodge and replaced a previous castle from the 13th Century. The castle is fortified with three towers and a gate tower.
Albrecht lived here with Agnes Bernauer, a commoner whom he may have married in secret although there are no records of it. As Albrecht was the only son of Duke Ernst, the latter was furious and ordered Agnes to be executed. Whilst Albrecht went hunting, Agnes was accused of witchcraft and drowned in the River Danube in Straubing on 12 October 1435. The tragic love story is commemorated in a contemporary sculpture.
In 1467, Albrecht’s third son, Duke Sigismund abdicated and retired to Blutenburg, where he enlarged the castle and added a beautiful chapel. The late Gothic Palace Chapel is one of the best examples of the time. Visitors can go in between 9am-5pm from April-September or 10am-4pm from October-March. (Unfortunately, I arrived too late so there are no photos of the interior.)
By the late 16th Century, the Bavarian rulers had lost interest in Blutenburg and the castle became derelict. It was later acquired by the Berchem family from 1676-1702 and refurbished in the Baroque style.
During the last days of WWII, the victims of Dachau Concentration Camp passed by the Castle as they marched southwards.
Since 1983, Blutenburg Castle houses the world’s largest International Youth Library (Internationale Jugendbibliothek) – which includes children’s and young people’s literature – within its walls. The Castle also houses two museums and a society for the friends of Blutenburg Castle. The Castle and Chapel are free to visit, although most people preferred to sunbathe across the castle.