Positioned overlooking the Rhine River on the Drachenfels near the town of Königswinter, Schloss Drachenburg was built as a private villa by Baron Stephan von Sarter between 1882 and 1884. It features a diverse array of architectural styles, including medieval castle elements and Gothic cathedral-like spires that have made it one of Germany’s most striking and unusual landmarks.

Drachenburg translates as “Dragon’s Castle” and this eclectic villa was recently restored by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia because of a mounting apprecia-tion for “historicism”. This 19th-century trend saw various architectural styles replicated to reflect historical buildings, something that is truly apparent with Schloss Drachenburg.

Schloss Drachenburg has had a storied history, starting out as a private villa be-fore being transformed into a museum, an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys, a US army base, a home for war refugees and a squat for the homeless. But the state of North Rhine-Westphalia saw its potential as being their very own Neuschwan-stein Palace and a treasure trove of German art and craftsmanship.

Artisans were brought in from across Germany to recreate its original tapestries and wall paintings, with vintage postcards from the early 20th century used as a guide. Turn of the century furnishings were bought at auctions to decorate the rooms and windows recreated to their original design.

Today Schloss Drachenburg is open to the public, with guided tours offering a fascinating insight into its history and restoration. Tours are available in Ger-man, English, Italian, Spanish and Russian and include a visit to the terrace for sweeping views of the River Rhine.