Set in the scenery of the Bergpark above Wilhelmshöhe Palace, the castle of Löwenburg, built between 1793 and 1801, was among the earliest mock-medieval »ruins« of Continental Europe.
Landgrave Wilhelm IX (r. 1785–1821, later Elector Wilhelm I) commissioned his court architect, Heinrich Christoph Jussow (1754–1825), to create the building. The castle was intended to serve two purposes: on the one hand it provided the Landgrave with a maison de plaisance, on the other it was designed to represent the historical status of the House of Hesse, which had been in power since the Middle Ages.
Although the structure resembles a semi-ruined knight's castle from the outside, its interior conforms to the characteristic layout of a Baroque country palace. It also includes, besides the princely apartments, an armoury and a Neo-Gothic chapel. The castle's patron found his final resting place in the crypt beneath the chapel.
The castle's immediate surroundings were laid out to conform to the medieval theme: they included a deliberately old-world castle garden, a vineyard, a tiltyard, and a menagerie. The Wolves' Glen at the foot of the structure was originally intended to provide the setting for a monumental waterfall, which would have become a major element of the park's Romantic water features if it had been built. The project was abandoned early on, however.
The castle's artfully ruinous appearance became a sad fact when the keep and other parts of the structure were destroyed during WWII. Construction work is underway to restore the keep, reinforce the existing structure, and re-furnish the rooms with their original furniture and fittings. Once the work is complete, visitors will be able to experience Löwenburg as it looked in the time of Elector Wilhelm I.