Castles and fortifications in 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

Ballmertshofen Castle

Castle The first castle on the site of current 16th century Ballmertshofen castle dates probably from the 12th Century. It is first mentioned in 1236 when Graf (Count) von Dillingen gave the castle to Neresheim Abbey. As a further evidence, in 1987 a cistern from this era was discovered under the south east wall of the castle. The castle changed hands several times in the following centuries. It was owned by the von H&uu ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Ballmertshofen, Germany

Arras Castle

Burg Arras is located to the site of ancient Roman hill fort. It was first time mentioned in 1120, but probably built around 936 (the dungeon dates from that time). The castle has been owned by Palatine counts and bishop of Trier. It was destroyed by French army in the late 17th century and rebuilt in the 20th century. Today Burg Arras is a hotel and restaurant.
Founded: c. 936 AD | Location: Alf, Germany

Küssaburg Castle Ruins

Küssaburg is a ruined hilltop castle located in Bechtersbohl, a village in the municipality of Küssaberg. The name may be derived from the Roman personal name, Cossinius, or from the German Kissen (Alemannic Chüssi) which means 'cushion', after the shape of the mountain on which it stands. The hill castle is one of the most important historic buildings on the High Rhine and a landmark of the coun ...
Founded: 1125-1141 | Location: Bechtersbohl, Germany

Rabenstein Castle

Rabenstein Castle is the smallest medieval castle in Saxony. It is located in the Chemnitz suburb of Rabenstein and belongs to the Chemnitz Castle Hill Museum. The hill castle Rabenstein was first mentioned in 1336 in a document from Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor in which he promised it as a fief to his son-in-law Frederick II, Margrave of Meissen, in case the line of Waldenburg were to die out without male h ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Chemnitz, Germany

Sommersdorf Castle

Sommersdorf takes its name from the noble Sunnemannesdorf family who settled in the area in the 13th century. Ludwig von Eyb built the castle in the 14th century. A noteworthy family member is his grandson, Albrecht von Eyb, who was born at the castle and later became Germany’s first humanistic writer. In 1550 the von Crailsheim family took possession of the castle. A year later, Wolf von Crailsheim introduced Protesta ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sommersdorf, Germany

Bladenhorst Castle

Bladenhorst castle was first mentioed in 1266 as the residence of the lords of Blarnhurst lived there. At the beginning of the 14th century it became the possession of the family of Düngelen. In 1338, Rötger Düngelen made the castle available to the Duchy of Cleves to use in the event of war. Through marriage, in 1496 the castle passed to Philip of Viermünden. From 1624 to 1881 it was inherited by the Westphalian ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Castrop-Rauxel, Germany

Klippenstein Castle

The history of the Klippenstein castle dates back to 1289 when it was first mentioned as 'Castrum Radeberch' in official records. From 1543 to 1546, Moritz of Saxony had the castle converted into a hunting lodge and residential palace. It is also among the most significant surviving examples of sovereign architecture built during the reign of Moritz Elector of Saxony, a famous ruler from the House of Wettin. Me ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Radeberg, Germany

Fürstlich Drehna Castle

Fürstlich Drehna Castle was originally built in the mid-16th century near to an old Slavic fortress by the family of Minckwitz. They constucted the surrounding moat and towers. The castle was acquired by the Promnitz family in 1697 and they also enlarged it. Today the closed four-wing castle with its beautiful park is a restaurant and hotel.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Luckau, Germany

Zwingenberg Castle

Zwingenberg Castle dates from the 13th century. In the 1326 the lords of Zwingenberg were mentioned as an owner. In 1364 the castle was conquered and destroyed by the imperial forces. The fortress and estate were then immediately divided in two equal parts and bought by the Palatinate and the archbishoprie of Mainz. The reconstruction of the castle was made by the brothers Hans and Eberhard of Hirschhorn in 1404. The brot ...
Founded: 1404 | Location: Zwingenberg, Germany

Gräfenstein Castle

Gräfenstein Castle was built by the Saarbrücken counts, who had lost their fortress and were in need of a new one. Evidence for the exact date of the castle's building does not exist although the earliest record dates to a 1237 deed of partition by the counts of Leiningen. But from the castle's design and materials it can be deduced that it was built sometime between 1150 and 1200. Another clue is in the date of the res ...
Founded: 1237 | Location: Merzalben, Germany

Inzlingen Castle

Inzlingen Castle is surrounded by a moat situated in the village of Inzlingen. The origins of the castle cannot be clearly dated. The first written evidence dated 1511 – at this time already a possession of a relative of the barons Reich von Reichenstein. This noble family hold fiefdoms from the Prince-Bishopric of Basel, the Margraviate of Baden and the House of Habsburg. A Prince-bishop of Basel, six mayors of Bas ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Inzlingen, Germany

Neuenburg Castle

Schloss Neuenburg was built in 1462 as a fortress by Graf Gerd. In the 16th century, the castle was converted into a residence. In the 17th century, the castle was used for breeding horses and stallions. The castle was then used to house many institutions like the Ackerbauschule, Landfrauenschule, and Reservelazarett among many others. Today, the castle is home to a museum, a kindergarten, a chapel, and a wedding hall.
Founded: 1462 | Location: Neuenburg, Germany

Kemnat Castle

Kemnat Castle was built in 1185 and partially demolished in the 19th century. Today the 'Römerturm' exists and offers beautiful views over the area.
Founded: 1185 | Location: Kaufbeuren, Germany

Wesenberg Castle

Wesenberg Castle is a medieval motte-and-bailey castle. Of the original castle, only the bergfried tower and an adjacent part of the former ring wall survives. The castle was founded by Nicholas I of Werle during the middle of the 13th century, as protection for the city of Wesenberg. Among other things, the castle served as a residence for the widow of Duke Ulrich II of Mecklenburg-Stargard, Catherine. The castle was lar ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wesenberg, Germany

Staufeneck Castle

When Ludwig von Staufen starts work on the construction of Staufeneck castle in 1080, he creates a family seat that will remain in the Hohenstaufen dynasty for 250 years. From 1333 until its decline, the noble family Rechberg-Staufeneck owns the castle. From 1599 onwards the lords of the castle change frequently through sale or marriage. A period of decline begins in 1800; by 1844 the castle is no longer inhabitable and l ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Salach, Germany

Schloss Lieser

Schloss Lieser (Lieser castle) was created on the site of a 1710-built church property. Today's castle was designed by the architect Heinrich Theodor Schmidt in 1884–1887 as the residence for the family of the winery owner Eduard Puricelli. Eduard Puricelli founded and led several gas industries, including in Trier and also in the Rheinböller hut. In 1895/1904-1906 the castle was extended when Maria and Dr Clemens Frei ...
Founded: 1884 | Location: Lieser, Germany

Tangermünde Gate

The Tangermünd Gate is the counterpart to the Uengling Gate. The base of the gate is formed by a Romanesque pedestal built from fieldstones dating to the first quarter of the 13th century. The tower's crown is built from brick, and was added around 1440.
Founded: 1440 | Location: Stendal, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.