April 15, 2007

A journey to the world's smallest Kingdom

After hearing that the world's smallest Kingdom is hear in Germany we had to go there. Its Located in Okertal, a narrow valley surrounded by high mountains within the Harz Mountains. Its our second journey to the Harz mountains which produces some great landscapes and there are scores of tourist attractions like wellness centers, a national park and many waterfalls.

Lurking there is the Hotel Königreich Romkerhall which boasts to be the center of the "world's smallest kingdom". I have dug out some history:

Romkerhall, named after a small river, the Romke, is in the administrative district of Braunschweig and the county of Goslar. Originally a hunting lodge, it was built in the 19th century by King George V, and the property belonged to his Kingdom of Hanover. He refused to support Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (1866), and consequently lost his kingship. This monarchy was annexed in 1871 by Prussia as a province, until the German Empire came to an end in 1918. The current owner is Baron Walter Lechner (a former architect), who purchased this former princely estate after a fire. He claims that the surrounding territory was forgotten about and never formally attached to a particular parish. He took advantage of this opportunity by attracting Princess Erina von Sachsen, Duchess to Saxonia, to his minuscule piece of municipality-free, independent land. She, married to Prince Thimo (grandchild of the last king of Saxony, Friedrich-August III, who was deposed in the aftermath of World War I), was enthroned as acting Queen in 1988; on that same day, his establishment was proclaimed the “world's smallest Kingdom”." Since then, Romkerhall has been the cause of continuous quarrels between the Baron and the German government and its aristocracy.

Well I was particularly not impressed by this "kingdom". This explains why:

In terms of marketing, the Baron attempts to lure tourists to the premises by offering to host several types of services for the celebration of special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, confirmations), not the least of which are fancy weddings, conducted in Romkerhall's audience hall. The Baron sells/confers titles of nobility to worthy individuals.

It seems nothing but a marketing gimmick. The waterfall besides the hotel is also not impressive than the one we saw near Bad Harzburg.

I continued to drive through the mountain range and that was an amazing experience.

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