German castles reflect the diversity of
the country's landscape, and each is a reflection of the background
against which it is set. Circular castles and citadels, often
constructed to be completely surrounded by water dominate
lowland districts in the north. Castles set on high ground
in the southern part of Germany have a picturesque lack of
symmetry, with spires and towers that give them a fairy-tale
A main reason for this variation in castle
building styles was Germany's contact with architectural styles
of surrounding cultures. Add to this the activities of German
rulers and knights in the Mediterranean area and in Eastern
Europe. Men returning from wars and revolts brought new ideas
for castle construction after seeing the enemy's fortifications.
Medieval castles began to undergo serious
development during the emergence of early feudal German states.
Many different building materials were used, and Germany's
diversity of available materials made for some colorful strongholds.
Many German castles were also elaborately decorated on the
interior, with colorful plasters covering the walls.