Built in response to a threatened Turkish siege, the fortress then had to resist the advancing Swedes in 1632 – Burghausen Castle has experienced many ups and downs through the ages. Its history goes back to the 8th and 9th centuries. The castle's present appearance with its fortified towers, walls up to five metres thick, keep, banqueting halls, ditches and drawbridges dates from the 13th to 15th century. Work began on restoring the castle nearly 50 years ago – and it may well look more beautiful now than under any of its previous lords. The castle also paints a wonderful picture as a museum. Its State Collections feature furniture, weaponry and art from the castle's heyday, while the House of Photography's 15 display rooms contain over 300 exhibits, including the camera used on the first manned space flight. The observation platform on the roof offers amazing panoramic views of the entire castle complex and the glorious surrounding countryside. Burghausen Castle measures 1,051 metres from one side to the other, making it the longest castle in the world. Nearby attractions: head down into the picturesque old quarter of Burghausen with its brightly coloured facades from the Renaissance, baroque and rococo periods. You could then travel the 30km to Markl, the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, or visit Altötting, Passau and Landshut. Another option is the Glass Route, which runs for more than 250 scenic kilometres through the Upper Palatinate and Bavarian Forest.