Thursday, 23 January 2014

Münsterland, Germany - the land of thousand castles

Münsterland is Germany's answer to the Loire Valley, with equally as many castles and all as beautiful.  Sitting quietly and unnoticed by most tourists at the northwest corner of Germany, a region known as North Rhine-Westphalia, it is so named for its capital city, Münster. 
Quite a number of them are well-known and very much ingrained into Teutonic culture.  Particularly outstanding are Burg Vischering and Schloss Nordkirchen, which are within minutes away from each other. 
Burg Vischering is only one of three castles in the small town of Lüdinghausen.  Constructed in the 13th century, it is surrounded by a moat and accessible by a draw bridge.  Fortunately it wasn't heavily bombed during the Second World War, and the castle is now beautifully preserved. 
Schloss Nordkirchen is nicknamed the Versailles of Westphalia - and rightly so.  What is most impressive isn't the castle itself but the park surrounding it.  The moats that surround the castle are actually canals, and there are sculptures adorning every corner of the park.  Built shortly after the Versailles in France, this is now the most famous castle of the Münsterland. 
Münster the city does not disappoint too.  It is the cultural capital of the region and a university town, boosting stunning architecture such as the romantic St. Paul's Cathedral and the imposing palace. 
有人說 Münsterland 就是德國的 Loire Valley,因為她跟法國的 Loire Valley 同樣地美麗,同樣地有很多城堡。她座落於寧靜的德國北部一叫North Rhine-Westphalia 的地區,她的首府是Münster,是一個通常被遊人遺忘的地方。 
要在一日之內遊覽所有在 Münsterland  的城堡是幾乎不可能的,因此我選擇了Burg Vischering 及Schloss Nordkirchen,他們只相隔幾分鐘的車程。 
Burg Vischering 是位於Lüdinghausen 的三座城堡的其中之一,建於十三世紀,被護城河環抱著,要經過一條吊橋才可進入城堡。這座城堡雖然很不幸地在二次世界大戰中受到嚴重的破壞,但是經過悉心修葺後,已經大致可以回復昔日的面貌。
Schloss Nordkirchen 擁有「Westphalia的凡爾賽宮」的綽號。當中最引人入勝的並不是城堡的大樓,而是城堡的花園。這個花園包圍著城堡的護城河,這條護城河是一條真正的小河流,而花園的每一個角落都有雕塑擺設裝飾著,並且建於法國凡爾賽宮剛落成之後,因此得此稱號。她是現在Münsterland 最有名的一座城堡。 
而首府Münster 亦是值得一遊的,她是North Rhine-Westphalia 地區的文化中心,擁有許多宏偉的建築物如聖彼德教堂、皇宮等等,是一個不能錯過的城市。

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