Published: January 13th 2007January 2nd 1980
The town of Sigmaringen (pop:. 17,000) enjoys a fantastic location: It lies right on river Danube on the edge of the Swabian Jura and is an entry point for Upper Swabia.
Even the Celts recognized this locational advantage: they settled here from about 1,000 BC until the Romans arrived. By the year 50 BC the Romans had already established here a hub with 3 important Roman routes going through this town. From about 260 AD on the Alamanni replaced the Romans. In the year 1290 AD Sigmaringen was sold to the Habsburgs of Austria and in 1534 AD it became part of the (later) principality of Hohenzollern .
The most obvious attraction of Sigmaringen is its castle from 1535 AD. In 1895-99, after a terrible fire, it was reconstructed.
Another very negative time for the castle was between September 1944 - April 1945, when French Marshall Petain and his Vichy regime resided here. They fled Paris from the advancing Allied troops.
You can visit the castle through guided tours in German, English and French. You'll see more than 3,000 historic exhibits.
Nov., Feb. - April daily 9.30 - 4.30 PM
Mai - Oct. daily 9.00
Dec. + Jan. only groups w/ reservation
Also interesting is the historic market square : Every year during the carnival season you can see how the Sigmaringers celebrate their "Braeuteln" (impossible to translate) tradition: Men who got married the previous twelve months in Sigmaringen are carried on bars (!) around the fountain. A band is playing ompah-music and the guys on the bars throw pretzels and candy into the cheering crowd...
While this certainly sounds pretty funny today, this custom goes back to an era when, after the Thirty Years' war (1618-1648), the Sigmaringers were very poor and it was feared that there wouldn't be enough people around in the near future because of the many lives that were lost in the war.
The first man who married in Sigmaringen City after the Thirty Years' war was carried on bars to celebrate this event that gave new hope to the town.
Phone: +49-(0)7571-106-224, firstname.lastname@example.org
The town hall is in front of the market square. The first town hall at this place was built in 1454. The one you see in the picture was built from 1925 - 27.
The city of Sigmaringen
was created by noblemen from neighboring Sigmaringendorf, a settlement much older than Sigmaringen. .
The founding father of Sigmaringen was possibly Alemannia knight Sigmar, hence the name of the city.
Today, Sigmaringen is the beautiful capital of Sigmaringen county with many administrative staff living in and around Sigmaringen. Sigmaringen is also a place with many educational facilities, schools, and a top-ranked university.
Sigmaringen city is about 50 minutes by car from Lake Constance.
Countess Amalie-Zephyrine of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was on very good terms with the Bonapartes. Here's the story:
Amalie was born in Paris in 1760 and in 1782 she married Anton Aloys of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Amalie wasn't too happy with her marriage though. She eventually moved to Paris to her longtime friend, empress Josephe de Beauharnais who was Napoleon's first wife. Earlier already, during the French Revolution, it was Amalie who happened to save the lives of Josephe's two children. And that's what finally later helped to keep the small principality of Hohenzollern not only independent but made it even larger! In later years Amalie returned to Hohenzollern and moved to the small town of Inzigkofen..
On a sidenote, Amalia's son Karl later married
Antoinette Murat, the foster daughter of the King of Naples and his wife Caroline Bonaparte.
In 1849 Hohenzollern became Prussian. The reason here were economic difficulties after the German revolution in 1848 so that Hohenzollern was pledged to the then dominant German State.
In 1858 count Karl Anton of Sigmaringen was appointed Prussian Governor. Karl Anton's successor as governor of Prussia by the way was Otto von Bismarck.
Another very famous person of the Hohenzollern nobility was Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen who in 1866 became Domnitor (prince) and in 1881 King of Romania.
In 1945, the French occupying Forces merged Hohenzollern with Southern-Wuerttemberg which in 1952 became part of the newly created state of "Baden-Wuerttemberg". They simply omitted the name 'Hohenzollern'.
Also worth visiting is St.John's church (Stadpfarrkirche St. Johann). This church close to the castle has its origins in a chappel from AD 1247.
From 1756-63 it was largely rebuilt by Johann Martin. Other famous artists of that time that contributed to this beautiful structure included Johann Jakob Schwarzmann, Johann Michael Feichtmayr, Johann Georg Weckenmann and Sigmaringen born painter Meinrad von Ow (1712-1792).
This church is one of the
most remarkable baroque churches in the region. It also accomodates the famous Fidelis Shrine.