german royal house

Die Burg Hohenzollern is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. The third of 3 castles on the site, it is located atop a 234 m bluff rising above the towns of Hechingen & Bisingen in the foothills of the Swabian Alp in Baden-Württemberg, Southwestern Germany.

The House of Hohenzollern is a dynasty of former princes, electors, kings, and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose during the 11th century. Their first ancestor was mentioned in 1061. They derived from the Burchardinger dynasty. The family split into 2 branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch, which later became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Swabian branch ruled Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1849, and also ruled Romania (1866-1947). Members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525. The Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, eventually leading to the unification of Germany and the creation of the German Empire (1871),  with the Hohenzollerns as hereditary German Emperors and Kings of Prussia. Germany’s defeat in WW1 (1918) led to the German Revolution. The Hohenzollerns were overthrown and the Weimar Republic was established, thus bringing an end to the German Monarchy. Read more. 

Die “Lutherstadt” Wittenberg in Sachsen-Anhalt, Eastern Germany, is situated on the river Elbe, pop.: ~50,000. It’s of historal importance as it was the seat of the Elector of Saxony, a dignity held by the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg, and also due to its close connection with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Several buildings are associated with the events of this time: the Augustinian monastery in which he dwelt, first as a monk and later with his family, is considered to be the world’s premier museum dedicated to Luther. Various Luther and Melanchthon memorial sites were added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1996.

On 31 Oct 1517, Luther nailed his 95 theses against the selling of indulgences at the door of the All Saints’ Castle Church - an event taken as marking the beginning of the Reformation. The Anabaptist movement had one of its earliest homes in Wittenberg, when the Zwickau prophets moved there in 1521, only to be suppressed by Luther when he returned from the Wartburg in 1522. The Capitulation of Wittenberg (1547) is the name given to the treaty by which John Frederick the Magnanimous was compelled to resign the electoral dignity and most of his territory to the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin.

2017 is a special year for Wittenberg as it celebrates the 500 year anniversary of Luther nailing his theses on the castle church door.

Dresden am Ufer. Dresden in Sachsen, Eastern Germany, became a city in 1206 and celebrated its 800th birthday in 2006. It was home to many Saxon kings, the most famous being August der Starke, whose kingdom included Poland. They appertained to the family of the Wettiner and were closely related to many other European royal families. Many buildings date from their reign and the rich art collections are testimony of their extreme wealth. The last Saxon king abdicated in 1918. 75% of the historical center was destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945. These events have left deep scars on the city and are still remembered annually with processions and ceremonies. More than 30,000 people died in the bombing - the exact number is unknown. For many years the ruins and now the newly rebuilt Frauenkirche acted as a call for peace among the nations of the world. The historical center is now largely restored to its former glory, though some parts are still under reconstruction.