Greiz Upper Castle
The Upper Castle is a well-known, architecturally interesting and striking cultural monument which never fails to fascinate its visitors. As a symbol of German history, it is a distinctive landmark in the attractive Greiz landscape in the valley of the River Weisse Elster.
Seen from the south, the Upper Castle appears as simply a "grand house". The impressive Renaissance gables on the east wing, above all, give an indication of the castle-like character of the building complex, whereas, seen from the north and west, the Upper Castle still appears to be a medieval fortress today. The buildings in the extensive complex - connected to a greater or lesser extent - stretch in an ellipsoid form from NNW to SSW and rise in the same direction, while the transverse wing in an east-west direction divides the interior space.
When the Reuss princes moved to the Lower Castle in 1809, after it had been rebuilt following the town fire in 1802, the Upper Castle became the seat of the government offices of the principality of Reuss, Older Line. Incidentally, this principality was the smallest German monarchy - in terms of surface area - in the German Empire founded in 1871. During the November Revolution in 1918, the prince abdicated and the state government resigned and the Upper Castle became the property of the people’s state of Reuss through a deed of settlement.
As early as the 19th century, the Upper Castle housed numerous homes. In 1884, the residents were awarded the status of a separate "Castle Community" with their own mayor and administration. Not until 1919 was the Castle Community merged into the town of Greiz again. Parts of the buildings are still used for residential purposes today.
The Upper Castle is owned by the town of Greiz and was redeveloped and restored in 1991.
In November 2010, the museum in the Upper Castle opened, displaying the permanent exhibition "From the Land of Reeves to the principality of Reuss, Older Line". Its main topics are the history of the reeves, lords, Imperial Counts and Imperial Princes of Reuss and the associated residential culture in the petty state. Of interest are the 3D film "Grandure and Glory of the Reuss Dynasty" (always shown on the hour) and the archaeological findings, including the Romanesque double chapel.
On the bel etage of the Lower Castle, which has housed a museum since 1929, visitors can experience the past history of the princely residence in an historic ambiance. In the former court kitchen in the Lower Castle, there is also a show textiles workshop, presenting the chequered history of Greiz' textiles industry.