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History of Berchtesgaden Castle

Berchtesgaden Castle originated in 1102 from the Augustin Collegiate. According to legend, Countess Irmgard von Sulzbach vowed to found the monastery as gratitude for saving her spouse after a serious hunting accident.

Throughout the ages, provosts and canons expanded the complex of buildings (‚provost‘ refers to the abbot of the Augustinian Friars, who is called ‚prior‘ in English; the word is derived from the Latin „propositus“, meaning ’superior‘ in the sense of placed ahead of one).

Seen from today, it is a lucky circumstance that never enough money was available for tearing the place down. On the contrary, extensions have always been added in the style of the time. The Romanesque cloister has been built around 1180, followed around 1400 by the two-nave Gothic hall. Around 1500 two Renaissance halls were built on the southern side and the Baroque wing was added in 1725.

During the 14th century, the Augustin collegiate achieved imperial immediacy, which made it direct subordinate to the emperor. The provost became the territorial lord and the monastery premises became his residence. In 1559, the monastery was raised to the status of provostry. Five villages fell within his area: Berchtesgaden, Ramsau, Schönau, Bischofswiesen and Marktschellenberg.

After mediatisation (meaning lifting of the spiritual status) in 1803 and the concomitant end of provostal rule, the Land of Berchtesgaden came for short periods under different rules until, in 1810, it became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Since 1818, Berchtesgaden Castle has been used as hunting lodge by the kings of Bavaria. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria made it his residence and lived in it with his family from 1922 until 1933. The rich furnishing of the castle with works of art is due to him. To these days, the head of the House of Wittelsbach, Duke Franz of Bavaria, uses the castle as summer residence.