86956 Schongau, Schloßplatz 1 (705 m über NN)

Schongau Castle was built in the 15th century as a side residence of Wittelsbach under Duke Christoph the Strong. It later became the seat of the caretaker (district judge) of Schongau, later district office, then until 1972 district office of the district of Schongau. It is a two- and three-storey three-wing complex with half-hipped roofs, the core of which was created after a town fire in 1493. It was expanded and renovated in the second half of the 18th century and in 1938. The old castle garden wall on the Bauerngasse probably dates from the 16th Century. The building is still used today by the Weilheim-Schongau district office.

Audio commentary on Station 7, Pflegschloss

Excerpt from the audio commentary by Oliver Pötzsch

Gentlemen, take off your hat, ladies, curtsey - because you are standing in front of a truly ducal palace. Admittedly, it is not a particularly large castle, and both castle towers were blown up during the War of the Spanish Succession. But at least this stately building served as a secondary residence for a Wittelsbach duke in the 15th century. Christoph, called the Strong, was a brother of Bavarian Duke Albrecht the Wise. From the two nicknames you can already tell that Christoph was more of a sporty type, while his brother ruled the country with a clever hand. It is said that the strong Christopher once threw a stone weighing over 360 pounds nine paces. You can admire his muscular strength in the painting on the front.

Since the time when the city was founded, including the times of executioner Kuisl, the castle has been the seat of the caretaker, a kind of representative of the Bavarian elector. In my novels, it serves as the official building for court clerk and deputy district judge Johann Lechner – a historical figure that you can learn more about at the station at the parish church. Since the actual carer was often not on site, I made Johann Lechner the secret ruler of Schongau. It is from here that the writer directs the fortunes of the city, and the hangman Jakob Kuisl is often summoned - the two of them have something of a love-hate relationship in the books.

If you close your eyes, you can see the hangman stomping across the dirty courtyard , on the way to Johann Lechner. It is probably about the soon embarrassing questioning of the midwife Martha Stechlin.

We now follow Kuisl in our imagination to the door of the office via well-worn steps and a dark corridor with narrow arrow slits. The right-hand defense tower rises up as a sooty ruin, the roofs of the adjacent stables and threshing floors are mossy and leaking. Broken carriages and all sorts of junk peek out from between the shattered wooden walls. We‘d better leave these two alone now. Johann Lechner doesn‘t like it when you look at his cards - and Jakob Kuisl has a heavy head from yesterday‘s drinking and is accordingly grumpy ...

From the time the city was founded to the present day, the former castle has housed the offices of the Bavarian state administration in the city, since 1972 as a branch of the Weilheim-Schongau district office, a continuity that is probably unique in Germany and Europe.

Incidentally, after the Second World War, another – democratically legitimized – ruler was to begin his triumphal march over Bavaria from here: Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss began his political career as a district administrator in Schongau. Whether or not you bow to his bust to your right, well... that‘s up to you.

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