Castles and fortifications in Germany

Godesburg Castle

Godesburg castle was built in the early 13th century on the Godesberg, a hill of volcanic origin, it was largely destroyed following a siege in 1583 at the start of the Cologne War. The site has a controversial history. First mentioned in documents from the early 8th century, there was supposedly an old cult site and its name derived from the old Germanic Wotansberg, Woudensberg, or Gotansberg. The fortress founda ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bonn, Germany

Jever Castle

Jever castle dates back to a weir from the late 14th century. The fortress got its typical characteristics mostly from the massive keep, which during the 15th and 16th century was surrounded by a Vierseitanlage. When Jever became part of the Duchy of Oldenburg in 1818, the castle was declared an auxiliary residence of the Dukes of Oldenburg and the now useless outbuildings and fortification were done away with. The museum ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Jever, Germany

Lahneck Castle

Lahneck Castle was built in 1226 by the Archbishop of Mainz Siegfried III of Eppstein to protect his territory at the mouth of the Lahn, where the town of Oberlahnstein and a silver mine had come into the possession of the Archbishopric in 1220. The castle chapel, dedicated to Saint Ulrich of Augsburg, was built in 1245, in the same year the first Burggraf took up residence in the castle. In 1298, King Adolf of Nassau wa ...
Founded: 1226 | Location: Lahnstein, Germany

Hambach Castle

Hambach Castle considered to be the symbol of the German democracy movement because of the Hambacher Fest which occurred here in 1832. Archaeological finds prove that the area of Hambach Castle was used in late Roman times. In late Carolingian Dynasty times and Ottonian dynasty times a castle of refuge was built there. Portions remain in front of and under the outer ring wall. There is little known about its early histor ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany

Hirschhorn Castle

Hirschhorn Castle was built around 1250-1260 on land given as a fief by Lorsch Abbey, which since 1232 was in the possession of the Archbishop of Mainz. In the castle, which is fortified by walls and towers, a keep, a great hall, stables and several gates and outbuildings can still be seen.
Founded: 1250-1260 | Location: Hirschhorn, Germany

Hohenfreyberg Castle Ruins

Hohenfreyberg Castle, together with Eisenberg Castle directly opposite, are situated on a twin-topped, rocky ridge in front of the Tannheim Mountains. The castle was one of the last great castles of the German Middle Ages. Its lord base dit consciously on the – actually anachronistic – design of a high mediaeval hill castle whilst, in other places, the first castles had been abandoned or converted into schloss-like co ...
Founded: 1418-1432 | Location: Pfronten, Germany

Nordertor

The Nordertor is an old town gate in Flensburg, Germany, which was built around 1595. Today the landmark is used as a symbol for Flensburg. The town wall of Flensburg was built step by step from 1345 onwards. A town gate, named Norder Porte, was built in the northern section of the wall. At the end of the 16th century it was replaced by the Nordertor, a building with stepped gables and archway. At this time ...
Founded: 1595 | Location: Flensburg, Germany

Rosenburg Castle

Rosenburg Castle was built in the 12th century by the Counts of Riedenburg. It has been rebuilt and extended many times, right up to the present day. In the Peasants' War , the castle was conquered in April 1525 by rebels and largely destroyed. A reconstruction took place between 1556 and 1560. In the Thirty Years' War the castle 1632-1634 was sacked several times. During the War of Spanish Succession Rosenburg was conqu ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Riedenburg, Germany

Mitwitz Castle

The moated Mitwitz Castle was mentioned for the first time in documents in 1266. The basement of the north wing and the northern corner tower already existed at that time. In 1525 the castle was sacked during the German peasants war and partially destroyed. In the following years, the castle was only provisionally repaired. In 1596 it was rebuilt and expanded to its present appearance by Hans Veit I of Würtzburg. From ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mitwitz, Germany

Neuleiningen Castle

Neuleiningen Castle was built in 1238-1241 by Count Frederick III of Leiningen. The French destroyed it in 1690 and it has lain in ruins since that time. Together with, Battenberg Castle, 1,400 metres to the south, the castle controlled the entrance to the Eckbach valley. Passing between various lines of the family, the castle remained the property of the Leiningens for over 200 years. In 1468, Prince-Elector Frederick th ...
Founded: 1238-1241 | Location: Neuleiningen, Germany

Windeck Castle Ruins

Burg Windeck was once an extended castle site, whose dimensions can still be guessed from the current ruins. The previous imposing castle was first mentioned in 1174 as Neu-Windeck. The site was a border fortification of the Count von Berg against the Counts von Sayn (Homberg) and the von Blankenbergs. It was extended a great deal after 1435. Burg Windeck was destroyed during the 30 Years War and in 1672 by the French and ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Altwindeck, Germany

Grünwald Castle

Grünwald Castle is a medieval hill castle. The history goes probably back to a Roman watchtower on the Isar river. The high medieval castle of the 12th century was documented as a possession of the counts of Andechs. In 1293 it came into the possession of the Wittelsbach. Louis II, Duke of Bavaria acquired at that time the possession of the fortress from Ulrich Vellenberg, a ministeriales of the Counts of Andechs. Th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Grünwald, Germany

Schloss Neuhaus

Schloß Neuhaus, the former residence of the Prince Bishops of Paderborn, is deemed to be one of the most significant early examples of the Weser-Renaissance architecture. The first mention of Neuhaus dates from 1016. The construction of the Palace commenced in the 13th century and continued to be developed until the 16th century to the four-winged building with its four round corner spires and its moat, as we now know it ...
Founded: 1257 | Location: Paderborn, Germany

Hohnstein Castle

Hohnstein Castle is located on a hard sandstone slab, 140 metres above the Polenz valley and is the major landmark of the small town. It was probably built around 1200 or earlier as a Bohemian border fortress for the Margravate of Meißen to defend it against Saxony. In 1353 the castle went into the possession of the Bohemian nobleman, Hynek Berka z Dubé, whose coat of arms with crossed oak branches decorates ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Hohnstein, Germany

Dinkelsbühl Castle

The castle of the Teutonic Order in Dinkelsbühl was originally called 'Tewtscher Hof' (around 1350) and situated next to the almshouse. When the town was extended in 1390 it was rebuilt in its actual position. Newer building was built in Baroque style (1764). The valuable Rocaille cartouche on the gable and rococo chapel with intricate stucco are worth of seeing.
Founded: 1764 | Location: Dinkelsbühl, Germany

Hugenpoet Castle

Hugenpoet estate was first time mentioned in 778 AD as a royal property of Charlemagne. The medieval feudal castle was burned down in 1478 during the feud. The new castle was built near in 1647 after it was again badly damaged in the Thirty Years" War.  Today it has been restored as a hotel.
Founded: 1647 | Location: Essen, Germany

Hornberg Castle

Hornberg Castle was probably originally built in the late 12th century. The first mention of the castle dates from 1184. In 1259 lords of Hornberg sold the castle to the bishop of Speyer. Since 1612 it has been owned by the 12th generations of Gemmingen barons. Today the castle is a hotel. Hornberg originally consisted of two separate castles. Between them was a bailey. Around 1510, both castles were enclosed together wi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neckarzimmern, Germany

Wachenburg Castle

Wachenburg castle was built between 1907 and 1928 by the Weinheimer Senioren-Convent, a Corps of former students. The castle contains a restaurant with a nice view of the country.
Founded: 1907-1928 | Location: Weinheim, Germany

Kallmünz Castle Ruins

Kallmünz castle, the seat of the former Counts of Kallmünz, has been fortified since the bronze age. The first owner of the castle, which was documented in 1460, was Judge Kallmüntz of Regensburg. The building houses a restaurant. Now and then, the castle gardens provide the backdrop for musical events.
Founded: c. 900 AD | Location: Kallmünz, Germany

Brüggen Castle

Brüggen Castle was the most important castle in the north of the Duchy of Jülich. The castle was built by the Count of Kessel in the 13th century to guard a ford over the River Schwalm. In the early 14th century it went into the possession of the dukes of Jülich, who had the existing building replaced by a quadrangular castle made from brick. After the occupation of Brüggen in 1794 by Napoleonic troops i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brüggen, 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.