When is a castle not really a castle? The answer: when it’s a church. Confusing? Perhaps, but once you’ve been to the cute lil’ town of Schwendi you’ll understand.
You see, the old Burgrest Schwendi used to be a castle, but some time in the 15th century the castle was torn down, and the Pfarrkirche St. Stephen was built on top in 1561. In 1724 the church itself was renovated in the Baroque style; so beautifully that it earned a stop on the Upper Swabian Baroque Route.
Burg Schwendi isn’t the only castle that’s gone. Burg Großschafhausen, came along around 1182, and by 1525 it was gone. Burg Weihungszell didn’t fare any better, nothing remains of this castle either.
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What does remain is really pretty. The St. Anne Chapel’s interior is elegant and simple; and you’d never know the original is over 800 years old.
Schwendi’s old Schlossmühle (from 1406) wasn’t so lucky. While it might be dilapidated, there’s still something striking about the old building. I’m not the only one who must think so, it’s on the Mühlenstraße Oberschwaben, or Upper Swabian Mill Route.
Still, my heart belongs to Schwendi’s old churches. Over in the village of Sießen (one of Schwedi’s six) there’s the St. Maria Magdalena, a church that’s been here for more than 600 years.
One last church, I promise. The Chapel of Sts. Peter & Paul over in the village of Weihungszell. Wait… one more. If you get a chance go see the Kloster Ochsenhausen, a wonderful old monastery in nearby Ochsenhausen.
Now that you’ve seen all that, you’ve earned the right to wander around Schwendi’s countryside. The Wurzacher Ried is a quiet bog area, but just about any hiking trail or sidewalk will do.
And you’ve earned the right to enjoy one of Schwendi’s festivals. Might I suggest the Gartenfest in June, the Musikfest in April, or the Weinfest in October?
Yeah, that last one will work for me — and I’ll raise my glass to salute Schwendi!