Castles and fortifications in Germany

Waldenburg Castle

Waldenburg castle lies at the summit of the spur that projects sharply from the crest of the mountain on the site of the original 13th century castle, commanding a superb panoramic view over a plain with a radius of almost 160 kilometers. It has been in the possession of the House of Hohenlohe without interruption since 1253. In the 16th and 17th centuries the castle was converted into a royal palace. The palace church, t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Waldenburg, Germany

Meßkirch Castle

Build around 1557 by the Counts of Zimmern, Messkirch Castle is reputed to be the earliest quadrangular Renaissance structure north of the Alps. The castle"s main showpiece is the large ceremonial hall with its magnificent coffered ceiling, which today provides a festive setting not just for concerts and exhibitions, but also for weddings and conferences. In summer, the castle"s inner courtyard and adjoining gar ...
Founded: 1577 | Location: Meßkirch, Germany

Gruttenstein Castle

Gruttenstein castle was probably built in the 12th century for the local counts. It was however destroyed by the army of archbishop of Salzburg in 1196 and rebuilt few years later. From the 13th century Gruttenstein served as the official residence of ducal Bavarian official. Today the castle is in private ownership and completely renovated.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bad Reichenhall, Germany

Uenglingen Gate

Uenglingen gate was built ca. 1450-1460 and is regarded to be amongst the finest late medieval city gates amongst those built in the northern German brick Gothic style, only surpassed by the Holsten Gate in Lübeck. The gate is believed to have been built by Stefan Boxthude, one of the most reknowned masterbuilders of the 15th century. The gate"s tower, boasting sheer rounded ramparts, was originally the main gat ...
Founded: 1450-1460 | Location: Stendal, Germany

Hohengeroldseck Castle Ruins

Hohengeroldseck castle dates from the 13th century when it was the seat of the Counts of Hohengeroldseck. It was besieged twice, 1426 and 1486. ​​The final destruction took place by the French troops in 1689 when the castle burnt down completely.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Schönberg, Germany

Hirschberg Castle

The first reference to Hirschberg castle dates from 1180. Since 1305 it was owned by the bishops of Eichstätt. They expanded and strengthened the castle around two Romanesque towers flanking the gatehouse. In 1760-1764 the castle was converted ino the bishop's hunting lodge. The imperial hall and knight's hall are decorated with paintings and have Rococo stucco work.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hirschberg, Germany

Leonrod Castle

The Leonrod water castle was built in the 13th century as the family seat and Ganerbenburg of the lords of Leonrod, who were descended from the lords of Buttendorf, in order to protect an important road link to the city of Nuremberg. The castle was first mentioned in 1235 with a Rudolf miles de Lewenrode. In the 14th and 16th centuries structural changes were made to the castle. The castle survived the Thirty Years& ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dietenhofen, Germany

Neudahn Castle Ruins

The rock castle of Neudahn is situated on one of the sandstone rock outcrops that are typical of the Dahner Felsenland region. The name Neudahn ('New Dahn') is rather confusing, because the castle is older than Grafendahn Castle in the nearby group of three castles of Dahn, albeit more recent than Altdahn ('Old Dahn'). Its location enabled it to protect and block the old road running through the Wieslauter valley, the cou ...
Founded: 1230-1240 | Location: Dahn, Germany

Frankenstein Castle

Frankenstein Castle is a medieval fortification on a spur above the village of Frankenstein. The name first appeared in a document of 1146 mentioning the free nobleman Helenger of Frankenstein. But the beginning of the castle is assumed to be at an earlier date because the erection of a defensive tower around 1100 is reported in various documents. The tower belonged to nearby Limburg Abbey in charge of security on the ro ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Frankenstein, Germany

Vorderburg Castle

Vorderburg is one of the four local castles built early 13th century by Ulrich I of Steinach. It consists essentially of a residential building, a dungeon and a farm building. Parts of ancient ramparts are also obtained. Today the castle is privately owned by the barons of Warsberg-Dorth.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Neckarsteinach, Germany

Wildenstein Castle

Wildenstein castle was built in the 13th century above the Danube. Today it functions as a hostel of the German Youth Hostel Association.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Leibertingen, Germany

Neuwerk Tower

The Great Tower Neuwerk is the most significant building of the Neuwerk island, belonging to Hamburg. This former beacon, watchtower and lighthouse is also the oldest building in Hamburg and oldest secular building on the German coast. The construction was started in 1300. It was completed after ten years in 1310. The style matches the common norman tower type of the time. Contrary to some literature, the tower was built ...
Founded: 1300-1310 | Location: Insel Neuwerk, Germany

Gimborn Castle

Gimborn Castle is a former water castle located in the upper Leppe valley. It was pledged in 1273 from the county of Berg to the county of Mark, and became the Residenz in the county of Gimborn Neustadt of the House of Schwarzenberg in 1631. Since 1874 the castle has belonged to the Barons von Fürstenberg zu Gimborn. Since 1969 the Castle has served as a conference site and meeting place for the International ...
Founded: 1273 | Location: Marienheide, Germany

Wiesentfels Castle

Wiesentfels castle belonged from 1333 to 1938 to the Counts of Giech, who received it from the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg. After the Hussite Wars the castle was rebuilt (from 1476 to 1481). In 1525, it was burnt down by rebellious peasants and rebuilt in the old style by Count Achaz von Giech.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hollfeld, Germany

Klusenstein Castle

Klusenstein castle was built in 1353 by Gerhard of Plettenberg, a vassal of earl Engelbrecht III of the Mark. The castle formed the boundary fortification of the earldom Mark to the bishopric state of Cologne and the earldom Arnsberg. All three territories met at the Hönne river valley, the castle was also overlooking an old road crossing the valley. During the feud between earl Engelbert and Gottfried IV of Arnsberg, ...
Founded: 1353 | Location: Hemer, Germany

Bederkesa Castle

Bederkesa is a medieval castle built originally in the 12th century. Its original owners, the counts of Bederkesa, lost their fief in 1381. For more than two centuries, the City of Bremen became owner of this castle and its surrounding subjects. As a symbol of sovereignty, they have constructed a Roland statue which is still standing in front of castle. Until 1859, this castle served as administrative centre of its surrou ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bederkesa, Germany

Bilstein Castle

Bilstein castle is located on a spur which falls away steeply on three sides so that the castle's defences only needed to be oriented towards the hill to the northeast. The appearance of the castle is thus dominated by its two round towers, each with a diameter of about eight metres: the Chapel Tower in the northwest and the Hohnekamp Tower in the southeast. The towers are connected by a tunnel under the castle courtyard ...
Founded: 1202-1225 | Location: Lennestadt, Germany

Rauenstein Castle

Rauenstein Castle guarded the crossing over the River Flöha along the road from Freiberg to Annaberg. The castle is first mentioned in 1323, although from archaeological investigations it is postulated that it had been built by around 1200. The first lords of Rauenstein were the Schellenbergers. After several changes of ruler, the castle went into the possession of the Electorate of Saxony in 1567. The Amt of Ra ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Pockau-Lengefeld, Germany

Liebieg Castle

Liebieg Castle was built by knight Marsilius Gondorf around 1255-1272. Between 1493-1762 it was owned by Eifel family. The current appearance dates mainly from the restoration made in 1859-1960.
Founded: 1859-1960 | Location: Kobern-Gondorf, Germany

Liebenzell Castle

Liebenzell Castle is a hill castle above the town of Bad Liebenzell. The fortification was once the most important castle in the Württemberg part of the Black Forest. The castle was built in the 12th century by the counts of Calw. In 1196 the counts of Eberstein were recorded as the castle's owners. From 1220 to 1230 the castle was extended. It was destroyed in the 16th century and in 1692 and rebuilt in 1954. Today the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bad Liebenzell, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Narikala Castle

Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.

The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.