During Covid times, we decided to spend one of our vacations in a region that we had on our radar for quite a while. A region in Germany that is also well known for hiking for its Nature Reserve – and that we had never visited before. We finally wanted to go and visit the Region of the Bavarian Forest / Bayerischer Wald!
As we are both not so keen on driving long distances – we combined the drive to our (hopefully) nice apartment with a little detour to a quite historical place that I had never visited before: Burghausen in the southeast of Germany! As it turned out later, it is even the longest castle in the world with a length of over 1km. I admit, I’m fascinated by history and more precisely by the medieval. So .. castles are a good fit! Imagining the effort needed to build and maintain such structures. Without huge machinery. With the only purpose of defence. Imagining the living standard (especially in winter).
The day itself was pretty grey. I was a bit afraid of having a plain grey sky without any structure – or rain – which makes photographing a bit hard (as I always avoid having a wet camera). So, we started our walk around the area. Armed with camera bag, jackets and umbrella. Always looking for interesting perspectives and compositions. This very stretched architecture makes Burghausen a bit different from other castles that are usually very centrically organized.
The reason for this unique architecture comes from the fact that the castle rests along a ridgeline. Luckily, the castle is still maintained, restored and filled with museums where you can learn a lot about the history of this place. By the way: the first foundations are dated back into the year 1025. So, there is quite some history.
But the area is not only restored and kept “lifeless”. Some Areas directly at the wall seem to be dedicated to art exhibitions. I pretty like that contrast – or is it a contrast? Sculptures and some nice gardening made the area in front of the wall a really vivid area – quite inviting for a visit:
Photography wise I am not really happy with the shot. The city in the back right draws too much attention. Also, I regret a bit that I did not go down there to try out some other compositions. But that’s always the peril if you don’t have a huge amount of time for a place – or composition.
When heading back we passed all the gates again that we had just seen a while ago from the other side. Meanwhile I had fallen in love with the weather. Not only did it allow this certain mood: the dramatic sky, the blueish toning, the darker shadows … but also: there were almost no visitors that day! Just some groups and a couple of other persons around. It never was a problem to just wait a couple of minutes at a certain spot until no (or almost no) people were in my shot! For me, the absence of people adds even more drama to the scene.
For me it is this special mood in these shots that makes them so interesting: You know that it is a very old architecture, loaded with history. Yet you do not look at ruins. You see wild growing grass on the walls – so that part it is obviously abandoned. But also maintained gardening and flower beds on the other side. A cleaned road in between – yet not a single person around. The dramatic sky adding some more mood to the scene same as the cooler and darker toning. The question “Where did all the people go?” comes to my mind.