Castles and fortifications in Germany

Spyker Castle

The Spyker (Spycker) Castle and estate is the oldest profane structure on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. Spycker was first recorded in 1318. It belonged then to the Stralsund patrician family von Külpens. In 1344 a daughter from the House of von Külpen married the Jasmunds. As a result the Spyker branch of the von Jasmunds was founded which died without issue in 1648. As a result of the Thirty Years" ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Glowe, Germany

Maus Castle

Maus Castle construction was begun in 1356 by Archbishop-Elector of Trier Bohemond II and was continued for the next 30 years by successive Electors of Trier. The construction of Burg Maus was to enforce Trier"s recently acquired Rhine River toll rights and to secure Trier"s borders against the Counts of Katzenelnbogen (who had built Burg Katz and Burg Rheinfels). In the latter half of the 14th century Burg Maus ...
Founded: 1356 | Location: Wellmich, Germany

Horneck Castle

Horneck castle was built around 1200 and was given to the Teutonic Order by Konrad von Horneck in 1438, thereby making it the seat of the 'Deutschmeister' (German Master) until it was destroyed in 1525 by fire during the German Peasants' War. Despite reconstruction shortly after Horneck Castle's destruction, Mergentheim became the new headquarters for the Teutonic Order in that region in 1527. As of 2006, the castle was ...
Founded: 1200/1533 | Location: Gundelsheim, Germany

Windeck Castle Ruins

Windeck 'old' Castle was built around 1200 by the lords of Windeck. The family, probably of Franconian origin and based in the Ortenau, owned wealthy allodial estates and held numerous fiefs from various liege lords, such as the empire, the Prince-Bishopric of Straßburg, the counts of Eberstein as well as the Vogtei of Schwarzach Abbey as an Afterlehen of the burgraves of Nuremberg. The first documentary evidence da ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Bühl, Germany

Neunussberg Castle

The lords of Nußberg are known since the first half of the 12th century. The Neunußberg castle was built by Konrad von Nußberg in 1340-1350. It was destroyed by lightning in 1564 and left to decay without military purpose. Today Medieval castle tower, relics of the rampart with tower and the chapel (1353) remain.
Founded: 1340-1350 | Location: Viechtach, Germany

Dagestein Castle

Dagestein castle was built in the 12th century, although the written documentation is unclear. Vilseck village was first time mentioned in 1185. The oldest part is the Romanesque keep. The castle was looted and burned down during the feud in 1512 and later rebuilt. The extensive reconstruction took place in the 1730s. Today Dagenstein castle is owned by the city.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vilseck, Germany

Heimburg Castle

Heimburg castle was built from 1294 on as a bastion in the Electorate of Mainz against the Palatines. It decayed later and was destroyed by the French in 1689. In the 19th century it was rebuilt by the industrialist Hugo Stinnes.
Founded: 1294 | Location: Niederheimbach, Germany

Bergzabern Palace

Bergzabern Palace is a landmark of the town of Bad Bergzabern. Formerly the residence of the Dukes of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, it now houses the administrative functions of the local government of Bad Bergzabern. The Counts of Saarbrücken probably built a water castle in the 12th and 13th centuries on the site of the present palace. It was first mentioned in 1333. In 1385 it fell to the Electorate of the Palatinate a ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Bad Bergzabern, Germany

Bodelschwingh Castle

Bodelschwingh magnificent castle dates from the 13th century. The current Renaissance style water castle was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. It became to the possession family Innhausen and Knyphausen at the end of the 19th century, whose property the castle is still today.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dortmund, Germany

Pyrmont Castle

Burg Pyrmont was built in the late 12th century by Kuno von Schönburg. It was first time mentioned in document dating from 1225. Waldbott Bassenheim family restored the castle in 1712, but it was partially demolished during the French occupation in the tide of 18th and 19th centuries. The last restoration was made in 1912. Today Pyrmont castle is open to the public.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Roes, Germany

Gödens Castle

Gödens Castle was built in 1671 to its present form in the style of Dutch Baroque by Freiherr Haro Burchard v. Frydag. The north-east wing was built by using rests of the castle built in the Dutch Renaissance style and burned down in 1669. On the park side, the south-west wing is decorated with pavilion-like lateral projections and to the side of the court-yard, with large-scale portal projections and an arched outside s ...
Founded: 1671 | Location: Sande, Germany

Homburg Castle

Homburg was first mentioned in documents in 1276. Gottfried I of Sayn from the House of Sponheim (1247-1283/84) transferred his castrum Homburg to the German King Rudolf of Habsburg, in order to place it under his protection. He received the castle back as an inheritance. The castle was the residence of the Counts of Homburg, an imperial fiefdom (Reichsherrschaft). From 1635 Count Ernst von Sayn-Wittgenstein alte ...
Founded: 11th century/1635 | Location: Nümbrecht, Germany

Hohennagold Castle Ruins

Hohennagold Castle is a ruined castle overlooking the Black Forest town of Nagold. The ruins represent a relatively well-preserved 12th-century castle. The keep behind the curtain walls, a tower in the north-western corner of the complex as well as the outer ward with half-round and angular towers, are still visible. Around the castle there appears to have been a moat. An early medieval fortification was possibly erected ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Nagold, Germany

Stein Castle

Stein Castle is the most important cave castle in Germany. The origins of the upper house are not totally clear. It may have stemmed from a fortification dating to the Roman or Celtic period. Stein was first recorded in 1135. The romantic figure of the legendary robber knight, Hainz von Stein dem Wilden, is closely associated with the castle. He is supposed to have lived in the castle in the early 13th century and was wri ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stein an der Traun, Germany

Wolkenstein Castle

The Wolkenstein Castle developed historically by joining various older structures together. The tower with living quarters is the oldest part of the castle dating back to the 14th century, which was preceded by fortifications of unknown appearance. The kitchen building was expanded in the 16th century by the current dominating building parts: the South and North wings with gate house. Although much hints to the once neces ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Wolkenstein, Germany

Husen Castle Ruins

The original Husen castle, documented for the first time in 1246, was probably built here by the dukes of Zähringen in the 12th century. It given into the possession of the counts of Freiburg. In 1303, the castle went to the counts of Fürstenberg as a result of the marriage of Verena of Freiburg. Count Henry IV of Fürstenberg had the castle extensively remodelled and expanded from 1453 to 1477. A neck ditc ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hausach, Germany

Hückeswagen Castle

Hückeswagen Castle was first mentioned in 1189. In 1260 the county Hückeswagen was disposed to the counts Berg, and the Hückeswagener counts moved to Moravia. In the future the castle of the countess Margarete von Hochstaden served as a widow"s seat. To constant Verpfändungen of Hückeswagen during the following centuries the name changed in 1397 into castle. During the following centuries the castle was mostly ...
Founded: c. 1189 | Location: Hückeswagen, Germany

Hexenagger Castle

Hexenagger castle probably was first built in the tenth century, as it is first mentioned in a record from the Monastery of St. Emmeram of Regensburg in 982. Originally, the Bavarian noble family of Muggenthaler resided in the castle. The castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years" War and rebuilt in the Baroque style. Since the extinction of the Hexenagger Muggerthaler family line, the castle has passed through se ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Hexenagger, Germany

Martinsburg Castle

Martinsburg Castle with its powerful hexagonal tower was built around 1324 as a toll station on the Rhine bank in Oberlahnstein. It was a toll castle in the Electorate of Mainz. The pictorial assembly was built together with the town fortification. The pointed gate in the east wall shows a delicate cast iron oriel with emblem (1395). The north wing probably contained the main rooms. The apartment tower in the northwest, ...
Founded: 1324 | Location: Lahnstein, Germany

Filseck Castle

Filseck castle dates from the first half of the 13th century when it was built by Counts of Aichelberg. In 1596 it was acquired by Burkhardt von Berlichingen, who built a Renaissance castle with two towers. The ornamental paintings in the hall dates from this period. A devastating fire destroyed the south and west wings of the castle in 1971, but the restoration completed in 1994. Today Filseck castle hosts cultural event ...
Founded: 1596 | Location: Uhingen, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Schloßberg

The Schloßberg is the site of ancient fortress in the centre of the city of Graz, Austria. The hill is now a public park and enjoys extensive views of the city. The fortification of the Schloßberg goes back to at least the 10th century. In the mid-16th century, a 400 m long fortress was constructed by architects from the north of Italy. There are records of a cable-hauled lift being in use between 1528 and 1595 to move construction materials for the fortifications. The castle was never conquered, but it was largely demolished by Napoleonic forces under the Treaty of Schönbrunn of 1809. The clock tower (the Uhrturm) and bell tower (the Glockenturm) were spared after the people of Graz paid a ransom for their preservation.

The remains of the castle were turned into a public park by Ludwig von Welden in 1839. The park contains the Uhrturm, the Glockenturm, a cistern and two bastions from the old castle. The Uhrturm is a recognisable icon for the city, and is unusual in that the clock"s hands have opposite roles to the common notion, with the larger one marking hours while the smaller is for minutes. The Glockenturm contains Liesl, the heaviest bell in Graz.

Near the Uhrturm there is a café with views over the old town. Additionally, on the western side of the Schloßberg, there are two small cafés, one with table service and the other one with self-service. Next to the terminus of the funicular railway there is a hilltop restaurant with views of western Graz. In what was once the cellar of one of the ruined bastions is the Kasemattenbühne, an open-air stage for concerts and performances.

Below the Schloßberg hill is an extensive system of tunnels, which were created during the second world war to protect the civilian population of Graz from aerial bombing. Some of these tunnels are still accessible, including a passage from Schloßbergplatz to Karmeliterplatz, and a grotto railway for children. Also in the tunnel complex is the Dom im Berg, which was expanded in 2000 to provide a venue space for up to 600 people.