Being a history person at heart as well as by major, I was interested in the history of Tübingen. I was particularly interested in the history of the castle at the center of the old town, ’cause let’s face it castles are just plain cool. One day after classes I took a walk up to the castle. The ‘old town’ in Tübingen is something of a maze to a new comer and can be confusing. Finding the castle, however, is a simple matter of heading uphill. The castle being on the highest point in Tübingen, if you keep going uphill you will eventually find it. When you do find it this is what you are rewarded with; a view of the outer gate of the castle.
I know that a number of the castles in Germany that are still in good shape were built during the late renaissance, long after they were needed as military fortification, which was the original purpose for a castle. Many others were redone after the renaissance, and although they look like castles they really don’t function as fortification, they were simply ‘Story Book Castles’. I was curious to know if the Castle in Tübingen was for real or simply one of the Story Book Castles. After going through the Main gate you come to an inner gate and a mote that would have served as a formidable barrier. Once inside I discovered that there was a museum and that it was open.
The museum did a great job of telling the story of the castle and it was pretty clear that it had been a military structure from the beginning. I suspected that given the very real nature of the defenses that I saw as I entered the castle. The castle was originally built on this spot sometime in the 12th century, and then it was no more than a wooden palisade that was about the size of the inner court yard of the castle today. It was large enough to protect the knights and their horses. Because of its location on top of the hill, it was a military strong point even then.
Like most castles it was added to over the years and improved. Looking closely at the gate to the inner courtyard you can see older stones alongside newer more decorative stone work.