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Fri 18
Sold by only one euro, German royal Family castle becomes tourist destination

Sold by only one euro, German royal Family castle becomes tourist destination

For centuries one of the Hanover dynasty’s official residences, property has been acquired by a symbolic price, and its renovation has been estimated between 30 and 60 million euros

Luciane Belin

While in England buildings that belong to the royal family have largely remained true fortresses, off-limits to the public, in Germany a castle which is part of the estate of one of the local monarchy’s most important dynasties is now a space open to visitation. To reach that status, however, prince Ernst August, currently first in the royal line of succession, had to practice a true exercise of detachment.

In December, the Marienburg Castle, property of the House of Hanover, has been sold by an incredibly symbolic price of one euro, according to LIemak Immobilien, a real estate company which is a subsidiary of Klosterkammer, and the Lower Saxony State Ministry of Science and Culture.

The company made a commitment to preserve the furniture and the art collection of the palace, turning it into a tourist destination, and, in exchange, will pay for the maintenance expenses of the space and the estimated cost of a necessary reform to preserve the building, estimated between 30 and 60 million euros.

After taking over the responsibilities of the highest post in the House of Welf, in 2004, Ernst August faced a less-than-favorable situation, something common among royal families in a time in which monarchies are not exactly popular regimes throughout the world.

However, unlike the political system, which is going through a decay, the expenses have been on the rise. The prince had to do some big changes to be able to pay for some of the old debts by the House of Hanover, selling important pieces in order to obtain 44 million euros and setting up new tourism incentive practices.

How many stones does it take to build a castle?

Located around 300 kilometers from the capital, Berlin, the Marienburg Castle began to be built in 1859, designed by one of Germany’s most influent architects, Conrad Wilhelm Hase. In 1864, the work was taken over by his pupil, Edwin Oppler, responsible for filling the interior of the palace, as well as some design alterations.

Built in a neo-gothic style, very popular at the time, the majestic castle was intended to be a place of refuge for the royal family in the countryside, but ended up gaining such magnificent proportions, and so much wealth was involved in its construction, that it eventually become the Hanover’s official residence.

Commissioned by King George V of Hanover as a present for his wife, Queen Maria, the castle had its construction interrupted in 1866, when a war struck the province of Hanover and the king had to flee to Austria.

Incomplete, and uninhabited for almost 80 years, the space was extremely well-maintained throughout the years, and was eventually completed almost a century later, by the king’s heirs, becoming one of the most well-preserved properties in Germany. Still, almost two centuries of history demand care, and the space needs to be renovated to strengthen its structure, built over a hill which has been suffering from erosion and natural wear-and-tear, something that also damaged the foundations of the castle.

Nowadays, Marienburg receives around 200 thousand visitors per year, and provides tours through its magnificent rooms and halls, allowing visitors to see its towers, chapels, an art museum and a fine dining restaurant. Tours may be scheduled on the castle’s website.

 

READ IT IN PORTUGUESE:

Vendido por apenas 1 euro, castelo de família real alemã vira destino turístico

Por séculos uma das residências oficiais da dinastia Hannover, propriedade foi adquirida por preço simbólico e tem reforma orçada entre 30 e 60 milhões de euros