Top Historic Sights in Erfurt, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Erfurt

Erfurt Cathedral

Erfurt Cathedral, dedicated to St. Mary, is a late Gothic cathedral which replaced the church built on this site for Bishop Boniface in 742. Martin Luther was ordained in the cathedral in 1507. The architecture of the Erfurt Cathedral is mainly Gothic and stems from around the 14th and 15th centuries. There are many things of note as far as the architecture is concerned, not least the stained glass windows and furnishing ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Erfurt Synagogue

The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the ma ...
Founded: c. 1094 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Merchants' Bridge

The Krämerbrücke (Merchants" bridge) is a medieval bridge which is lined with inhabited, half timbered buildings on both sides. The bridge was built next to a ford and was part of the Via Regia, a medieval trade and pilgrims" road network, which linked Rome with the Baltic Sea, and Moscow with Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Originally constructed from wood, the bridge was first mentioned in ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

St. Augustine's Monastery

The church and monastery of the Augustinian hermits in Erfurt was built around 1300. Martin Luther, the famous Augustinian monk, was admitted to the monastery on 17 July 1505. The Augustinian Monastery pays tribute to Martin Luther with a new exhibition. The Lutherzelle (Luther's cell) can be visited as part of the exhibition. Since 1988 the monastery has been used as an ecumenical conference centre and a memorial to Luth ...
Founded: 1300 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

St. Severus Church

The Church of St. Severus, a five-naved early Gothic hall church, was a collegiate church for the regular canons of St Augustine during the 12th century. Today, along with the cathedral, it is Erfurts most famous landmark.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Petersberg Citadel

The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that ...
Founded: 1665 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Predigerkirche

Predigerkirche ('Preacher"s Church') is a monastic church to the Dominican friary adjacent to the church. Predigerkirche was originally built by the Dominican Order in the 13th century, when the mystic Meister Eckhart was prior here. The church only became a Protestant church after the Reformation. The original building was modified in 1340-50, and the bell tower was built between 1447 and 1488. Around 1806 ...
Founded: 1340-1350 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Cyriaksburg Fortress

The Cyriaksburg Fortress is situated on a hill outside the city gates of Erfurt. The construction was started in 1480 but not completed until about 1604. The shape of the foundations is like a rectangle with unequal sides. Two strong round towers from 1528 have been preserved. One of them is now used as a viewing tower and the other one houses an observatory. The moat is also partly visible. From 1631 to 1649, during the ...
Founded: 1480-1604 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor

The Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor (Merchant"s Church St Gregory) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square. It is one of the largest and most important original parish churches in Erfurt. The parents of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Ambrosius Bach and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt married here in 1668. The former Romanesque building (11th century) on the site was burnt down in 1291. The consecration of t ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.