Castles and fortifications in Germany

Leuchtenberg Castle

Leuchtenberg Castle was built around 1300 by the landgraves of Leuchtenberg, an influential medieval aristocratic family. Presumably there was already a fortification on the hill before. The noble family died in 1646. After the death of the last landgrave, the castle deteriorated rapidly, in 1842 it was completely destroyed in a major fire. In the 20th century the castle ruins wer restored and today it is used as an ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Leuchtenberg, Germany

Glücksburg Castle

Glücksburg Castle is one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe. It is the seat of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and was also used by the Danish kings. Situated on the Flensburg Fjord the castle is now a museum owned by a foundation, and is no longer inhabited by the ducal family. The castle was built from 1582 to 1587 by Nikolaus Karie for John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holste ...
Founded: 1582-1587 | Location: Glücksburg, Germany

Electoral Castle

The Electoral Castle is Eltville's landmark and was built in 1330 by Balduin von Trier on the ruins of a castle destroyed during the Tariff Wars ('Zollkriege'). Construction was completed in 1350 by Heinrich von Virneburg. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the castle was the residence of the archbishops and electors of Mainz. In 1635, the entire property, except for the living tower (“Wohnturm”), was destroyed by Sw ...
Founded: 1330 | Location: Eltville, Germany

Nanstein Castle

Nanstein Castle was built around the year 1162 after Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I demanded its construction as additional defense for the Palatinate. In 1504, German knight Franz von Sickingen, inherited part of the castle after his father"s death in the War of the Bavarian Succession, finally acquiring the entire castle in 1518. He immediately began extensive refortification to make the castle suitable for firear ...
Founded: 1162 | Location: Landstuhl, Germany

Blutenburg Castle

Blutenburg Castle is an old ducal country seat in the west of Munich. The castle was built between two arms of the River Würm for Duke Albert III, Duke of Bavaria in 1438–39 as a hunting-lodge, replacing an older castle burned down in war. The origin of this castle is a moated castle of the 13th century. The core of this castle was a residential tower, the remains of which were uncovered in 1981. The fortress w ...
Founded: 1438-1439 | Location: Munich, Germany

Hartenfels Castle

The early Renaissance Hartenfels castle dominates the town of Torgau. It is the residence of the Saxon electors and the political and administrative centre. The castle chapel was designed especially for Protestant worship services and was consecrated by Martin Luther himself. History The fortification already stood on the banks of the Elbe during the Slavic period. It was developed into a castle in the mid-10th century ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Torgau, Germany

Ponttor Gate

The Ponttor is one of the two remaining gates of the original city wall of Aachen. It was built in the 14th century and manned by soldiers and militia throughout the Free Imperial City of Aachen era. Today, the Ponttor is used by German Youth and Scout groups. The Ponttor was constructed as a right-angled three-stock tower castle. In the main entrance, there is a Portcullis as well as a machicolation, through ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Aachen, Germany

Veste Niederhaus

Veste Niederhaus is located below on the bank of the Danube. It is connected to a larger Veste Oberhaus castle by a battlement; this addition, made after 1367, created a double fortress almost 700 metres in length.
Founded: 1367 | Location: Passau, Germany

Trausnitz Castle

Trausnitz Castle was the home of the Wittelsbach dynasty, and it served as their ducal residence for Lower Bavaria from 1255–1503, and later as the seat of the hereditary rulers of the whole of Bavaria. The castle was founded in 1204 by Duke Ludwig I. By 1235, when Emperor Friedrich stayed in Landshut as a guest of the duke, the castle was largely complete. In the first half of the 13th century, Trausnitz was not on ...
Founded: 1204 | Location: Landshut, Germany

Anholt Castle

Anholt moated castle is one of North-Rhine Westphalia"s few privately owned castles. It first appears in records in the 12th century. Further extensions in around 1700 created a grand Baroque residence with the feel of a palace. Today, the moated castle is used as a museum founded by Prince Nikolaus of Salm-Salm, which features a private collection documenting his family"s history. The historical housekeeping ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Anholt, Germany

Brömserburg Castle

Once situated directly on the banks of the Rhine, Brömserburg Castle was owned by the Archbishops of Mainz from the beginning of the 10th to the beginning of the 19th century. During the 12th century they converted the old fortress into a castle residence. With its vaulted ceilings and walls of more than two metres thick, it successfully provided resistance against any attack. One exception was the destruction of the cas ...
Founded: c. 1000 AD | Location: Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Wertheim Castle Ruins

Once the domicile of the Counts of Wertheim the castle (extended during 15th to 17th centuries) is one of the most picturesque ruins in Germany with a deep moat and impressive bulwark. In 1618 the castle was partly destroyed by an explosion; during the Thirty Years" War in 1634 and 1647 it was under heavy fire. Today the castle is owned by the Community of Wertheim growing into a more and more attractive setting for ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Wertheim, Germany

Wewelsburg Castle

Wewelsburg castle is perched atop a wooded slope close to Paderborn's airport. The fortification Wifilisburg was used during the 9th and 10th centuries against the Hungarians. The next castle was demolished in 1123/24 by revolting peasants. From 1301 to 1589, the Prince-Bishops of Paderborn assigned the estate to miscellaneous liege lords. The masonry of both predecessor buildings was integrated in the current triangu ...
Founded: 1603-1609 | Location: Büren, Germany

Hohensyburg Castle

The Hohensyburg, a castle complex of the Lords of Sieberg, was constructed on the grounds of a former Saxon refuge, which was conquered in 775 by the Franks under Charlemagne. The castle, which was built around 1100 of Ruhr sandstone, was partially destroyed in 1287 by Count Eberhard I. von der Mark. The castle complex was an imperial fief of the von der Mark counts from 1300. This fiefdom was transferred to Brandenburg i ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Dortmund, Germany

Eagle Tower

The Late Gothic Eagle Tower was built in the 15th century as a part of the Rüdesheim city fortification. It is 20,5 m high with a 5 m interior diameter, 1 m thick walls, four floors and an underground dungeon accessible only through a hole in the vaulted ceiling. It was located close to the river. In winter, when the frozen up Rhine was safe for crossing on foot, a basket with combustible material was put on the tower as ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Harburg Castle

Harburg Castle is one of the jewels of the German Romantic Road. Wonderfully preserved, the castle sits high on a hill and overlooks the town for which it"s named. It is unclear when the first structure was erected, but the castle was first mentioned in a document in 1150. Harburg was built by the former Hohenstaufen emperors of Germany in the 11th or 12th century. In 1295, the castle was transferred to the Count of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Harburg, Germany

Burghausen Castle

Burghausen Castle is the longest castle complex in the world (1,043 m), confirmed by the Guiness World Record company. The castle hill was already settled in the Bronze Age. The castle (which was founded before 1025) was transferred to the Wittelsbachs after the death of the last count of Burghausen, Gebhard II, in 1168. In 1180 they were appointed dukes of Bavaria and the castle was extended under Duke Otto I of Wittelsb ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Burghausen, Germany

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle is a toll castle known also as 'the Pfalz'. This former stronghold is famous for its picturesque and unique setting. The keep of this island castle, a pentagonal tower with its point upstream, was erected 1326 to 1327 by King Ludwig the Bavarian. Around the tower, a defensive hexagonal wall was built between 1338 to 1340. In 1477 Pfalzgrafenstein was passed as deposit to the Count of Katz ...
Founded: 1326 | Location: Kaub, 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

Stolzenfels Castle

Finished in 1259, Stolzenfels was used to protect the toll station at the Rhine, where the ships, back then were the main transport for goods, had to stop and pay toll. Over the years it was extended several times, occupied by French and Swedish troops in the Thirty Years" War and finally, in 1689, destroyed by the French during the Nine Years" War. For 150 years the ruins decayed, until in 1815 they were given ...
Founded: 1259/1826 | Location: Koblenz, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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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.