Castles and fortifications in Germany

Gnandstein Castle

Gnandstein castle was built in the Romanesque style in the 13th century, probably only with a rectangular groundplan and a residential tower. Parts of the present building still date from this early period. The external walls were extended several times. During the Thirty Years" War the castle was attacked by Swedish troops and partly destroyed. Shortly before the end of the war the south wing burned down afte ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gnandstein, Germany

Cappenberg Castle

Cappenberg Castle is a former Premonstratensian monastery. The Counts of Cappenberg, who were related to the Salians and the Staufers, were a rich and powerful family. During the Investiture Controversy, when they supported Duke Lothar von Supplinburg against Emperor Heinrich V, Count Gottfried von Cappenberg and his brother Otto von Cappenberg led their armies against Münster in February 1121 under the ...
Founded: 1122 | Location: Selm, Germany

Scharfenstein Castle

The original structure of Scharfenstein castle was built in 1250. It is suspected that the von Waldenburgs ordered its construction, but only its first owner occupant is known for certain. When, in the 15th century, Greifenstein Castle was destroyed, Scharfenstein also took over the guardianship of Thum, Ehrenfriedersdorf and Geyer. As a result, its value increased, so that in 1439 the Elector acquired the area from the ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Scharfenstein, Germany

Tiefburg Castle Ruins

It is not known exactly when the Tiefburg castle was built or by whom. It is assumed that it was built in the 12th century, possibly by the Abbey of Lorsch or the Count Palatinates of the Rhine (later known as the Prince Electors of the Palatinate), who set up residence in nearby Heidelberg around this time. It is also possible that the castle had its origins in a fortiied estate. The knights of Handschuhsheim who lived i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Heidelberg, Germany

Thurant Castle

Thurant Castle (Burg Thurant) was built in 1198-1206 by Heinrich Pfalgraf Guelphs. It was besieged in 1246-1248 during the war between Trier and Cologne archbishops. After the war the castle was interestingly divided to two parts, Trier tower and Cologne Tower. Both sides had a separate entrance and living buildings. In the 19th century the castle was left to decay, but restored in the 20th century.
Founded: 1198-1206 | Location: Alken, Germany

Mespelbrunn Castle

Mespelbrunn Castle is a late-medieval and early-Renaissance moated castle built in a tributary valley of the Elsava valley. It is a popular tourist attraction and has become a famous Spessart landmark. The first precursor of Mespelbrunn Castle was a simple house. The owner was Hamann Echter, vizedom of Aschaffenburg, a title which means that he was the representative of the ruling prince, the Archbishop of Mainz Johann v ...
Founded: 1427 | Location: Mespelbrunn, Germany

Stolberg Castle

The development of Stolberg Castle in its present appearance was essentially proceeded in three phases. In the second half of the 13th century, the original castle (built by the lords of Stalburg in the 12th century) was rebuilt by Wilhelm I of Nesselrode and his son Wilhelm II. After damaged during the Guelders Wars (1502-1543), Hieronymus von Efferen renovated the Stolberg after 1542. A third construction phase wa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stolberg (Rheinland), Germany

Moyland Castle

Moyland Castle (Schloss Moyland) is a moated castle in Bedburg-Hau in the district of Kleve, one of the most important neo-Gothic buildings in North Rhine-Westphalia. 1307 is the first time that a fortified farm called Moyland is documented with ditches and ramparts. It was between 1345 and 1355 redesigned by Roland von Hagedorn into a classical gothic castle with a square floor plan. In addition to three round ...
Founded: 1345-1355 | Location: Kleve, Germany

Grafendahn Castle

Grafendahn Castle belongs to the group of castles at Dahn, which also includes Altdahn and Tanstein. Although the three castles are sited next to one another on a rocky ridge, they were not built at the same time. Grafendahn was built in 1287 by Conrad of Mursel, who was a Lehnsmann or vassal of the bishops of Speyer and a nephew of Frederick of Dahn. The castle was conceived from the outset as a so-called Ganerbenburg - ...
Founded: 1287 | Location: Dahn, Germany

Strünkede Castle

The moated Strünkede Castle with thick walls was the seat of the Barons of Strünkede for seven centuries. The castle was built before 1243. In the mid-17th century it was rebuilt in the early Baroque style. First it housed a restaurant, later the police, and a hospital during the war. In 1948 the city bought the castle, restored it and opened a branch of the Emschertal Museum (Emschertalmuseum) in it with an exhibition ...
Founded: before 1243 | Location: Herne, Germany

Mainz Citadel

The Mainzer Zitadelle (Citadel of Mainz) was constructed in 1660. The Jakobsberg hill, where the citadel was constructed, had been occupied by a Benedictine abbey during the middle ages (since 1050). Halfway up the hill, the amphitheater of the Roman settlement of Mogontiacum, which has been recently excavated, must also have been visible at that time. The Jakobsberg hill, however, had not been integrated in the ring of t ...
Founded: 1660 | Location: Mainz, Germany

Klopp Castle

Klopp Castle is the landmark of Bingen. It stands on a hill above the town with a wide-ranging view, which may have been the site of a Roman fortification built by Drusus at Bingium around 10 CE. The hill is one of three locations where local legend says that Emperor Henry IV was imprisoned by his son in 1105 or 1106, this being the first surviving mention of a castle there. The last medieval castle on the site was built ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bingen am Rhein, Germany

Tanstein Castle

Tanstein Castle is one of the three castles at Dahn; the others being Altdahn and Grafendahn. Although the three castles are sited next to one another on a hill ridge, they were not built at the same time. Tanstein is the oldest of the three castles in the group. An 1127 document refers to an Anshelmus de Tannicka as the owner or governor; as a result the castle was probably built in the early 12th century. In 1189, in a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dahn, Germany

Altdahn Castle

Altdahn castle was probably built in the early 13th century. Certainly in 1236 the castle was being run by Frederick of Dahn as a vassal (Lehnsmann) of the Bishop of Speyer who, at that time, was Conrad IV of Dahn and may well have been a relative. The subsequent history of the castle is characterized by many wars and frequent destruction, that was, time and again, followed by rebuilding. Altdahn was first destroyed in 1 ...
Founded: 1200-1236 | Location: Dahn, Germany

Bad Mergentheim Castle

The castle of Mergentheim was the residence of the Grand Masters of German Teutonic Order from 1525-1809. In 1996 the museum was opened with around 3000 m² of exhibition space. The 800-year history of the German Teutonic Order from 1190 to the present day is illustrated with objects, works of art and models. The castle has a rich architectural history. There are Romanesque structural elements (residential quarter co ...
Founded: 1525 | Location: Bad Mergentheim, Germany

Blankenheim Castle

Blankenheim Castle was built around 1115 by Gerhard I and became the family seat of the House of Blankenheim. The lords of Blankenheim were elevated to the countship in 1380. The site has been remodelled on numerous occasions. In the course of time the medieval defensive site was converted into a Baroque schloss with a Baroque garden and an orangery. Its end came in September 1794, when French troops marched ...
Founded: c. 1115 | Location: Blankenheim, Germany

Gemen Castle

The beautiful water castle of Gemen near Borken was founded probably in the 9th or 10th century. The first document dates from 1274. The current appearance is a result of five essential reconstruction phases. Since 1946, the castle has been used as a youth camp under the guidance of the diocese of Münster.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Borken, Germany

Burg Lichtenberg

About halfway between Kaiserslautern and Trier lies the castle Lichtenberg - the largest castle in the Palatinate and one of the largest castles in Germany. Its more than 800 years old walls have been listed since 1895. Today, the castle with its diverse gastronomic and cultural offer a popular destination, which also offers accommodation. Every visitor will love the charming location of the castle in the heart of the P ...
Founded: 1200 | Location: Thallichtenberg, Germany

Rötteln Castle Ruins

Rötteln Castle has probably existed since the beginning of the 11th century. In the year 1102 is the first documented mention of a lord of Rötteln, the bailiff of St. Albans near Basel. This year is also considered the date of the founding of the city of Lörrach. In 1204 Dietrich III of Rötteln died, having amassed a large holding in the Wiese valley. The first documented mention of the castle itself is from the year ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lörrach, Germany

Plassenburg Castle

Plassenburg is one of the most impressive castles in Germany and a symbol of the Kulmbach. It was first mentioned in 1135. The Plassenberg family were ministerial of the counts of Andechs (later the dukes of Andechs-Meranien) and used as their seat the Plassenburg. The House of Guttenberg, a prominent Franconian noble family, traces its origins back to 1149 with a Gundeloh v. Plassenberg. The name Guttenberg is derived fr ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kulmbach, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

The Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is a large castle located in Nantes. It served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1941. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French Monarchy. Today the castle houses the Nantes History Museum.

The restored edifice now includes the new Nantes History Museum, installed in 32 of the castle rooms. The museum presents more than 850 objects of collection with the aid of multimedia devices. The castle and the museum try to offer a modern vision of the heritage by presenting the past, the present and the future of the city. Night-time illuminations at the castle further reinforce the revival of the site. The 500-metre round walk on the fortified ramparts provides views not just of the castle buildings and courtyards but also of the town.