Possibly the most famous German castle outside Germany, but virtually unknown inside Germany, Colditz Castle holds a special place in my childhood.
Colditz is famous for being the ultimate German Prison Camp, a place that housed the most experienced and expert escapees in the Allied army imprisoned in Germany. The Nazis boasted that the prison was escape proof, and it was unique in being the only prison camp with more guards than inmates.
But when you put the best and most experienced escapees in the world into one place, claims that the prison was impossible to escape from were guaranteed to have their makers humbled. And so it proved.
The prison became the home to some of the most audacious prison escapes ever attempted, including a home made glider, and the amazing tunnels that inspired the movie "The Great Escape". It also inspired a board game that I played endlessly with my brother and sister: Escape from Castle Colditz. I know the layout of the castle like a picture in my brain.
Along with famous inmates like British fighter ace Douglas Bader, the prison was also home to Hitler's special prisoners, the Prominente. The first of these was a nephew of Winston Churchill, Giles Romilly, captured in Narvik, Norway. Later additions included the US ambassador to Britain, the Viceroy of India, and the commander of the Warsaw Uprising.
Because the Germans care or know little of this famous castle, and because it is part of a war history most would like to forget, it doesn't feature prominently in the tourist literature, and it isn't always easy to get there. The best hope of visiting is probably on a day trip from Leipzig. This can be done with the irregular Bus 931 service from the east side of the Leipzig station. The trip takes about an hour.
Just 45km east of Leipzig is the town of
Torgau. Torgau is well known for its Elbe-Bridge on which Soviet and Allied troops met the first time in World War Two on April 25th, 1945. But the landmark ist the castle of Hartenfels. It was built in 10th century and remodeled between 1482 and 1623.
A beautiful palace in the middle of a residential area a few minutes drive from the city center. Unfortunately it was closed... And the restaurant and beergarden as well :-( One more thing on the list for my next visit.
Location: Menckestraße 23 in Gohlis
South of Leipzig along the Zwickauer Mulde can be found numerous historical buildings. Rochsburg Castle, a 12th century feudal castle, Wechselburg Castle, a picturesque castle built in 1168 as well as Rochlitz Castle, a residence of the Saxon royals built in 1525 (photo).