Castles and fortifications in Germany

Bad Rappenau Wasserschloss

The Wasserschloss (water castle) in Bad Rappenau is a moated castle from the early 17th century. The castle was built in 1601 by the Lords of Gemmingen on the site of an older manor. Today it is used for cultural events.
Founded: 1601 | Location: Bad Rappenau, Germany

Tauberbischofsheim Castle

Tauberbischofsheim town came under control of the Prince-Bishops of Mainz in the 13th century and it was they who built the former castle at the top part of the central historic part of the town. The castle is now given over to a Regional Museum and the old watchman's tower and living quarters, the Türmersturm, is the symbol of the town.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tauberbischofsheim, Germany

Blankenstein Castle

Blankenstein Castle was built originally in 1227-1243 by Adolf I, Count of Mark. It was further developed over the course of 200 years by the Counts of the Mark. By 1425, Blankenstein was one of the most important castles in the county. In 1614, shortly before the Thirty Years" War, it was occupied by Spanish troops. From 1637, the castle fell into disrepair so that, in September 1662, Frederick William, Elector o ...
Founded: 1227-1243 | Location: Hattingen, Germany

Steinsberg Castle

Steinsberg Castle was first mentioned in the year 1109. In the thirteenth century the owners of the castle were the Counts of Oettingen. Later the castle became home to the Counts palatine of the Rhein. In 1517 the castle was purchased by the Lords of Venningen. Shortly after this purchase the castle was burnt down during the Peasants' revolt. The rebellious peasants had to pay 5000 Gulden for the rebuilding of the castle ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Weiler, Germany

Schloss Wolfegg

Schloss Wolfegg is a Renaissance castle and the ancestral seat of the house of Waldburg-Wolfegg, which still owns it today. The main building of the castle consists of four wings arranged in the shape of a rectangle with towers in the corners. Its exterior design and layout dates back to Truchsess Jakob II. of Waldburg (1546–1589) and his wife Johanna (1548-1613). After a fire in 1578 destroyed an older building, they b ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Wolfegg, Germany

Ahrensburg Castle

The Ahrensburg village came into the possession of the Cistercian Reinfeld Abbey in 1327. After the dissolution of the monasteries due to the Reformation, the whole area came into the possession of the king of Denmark. He rewarded his general Daniel Rantzau 1567 with lordship over these villages. His brother and heir Peter Rantzau built a Renaissance residence in the form of a water castle, now the symbol of the town, and ...
Founded: 1595 | Location: Ahrensburg, Germany

Wegelnburg Castle Ruins

The Wegelnburg is a ruined castle near Schönau in the Palatinate Forest. It was founded by the Hohenstaufens in the 12th or 13th century. It had to protect the border of the Hohenstaufens’ territory. In 1272, the castle was destroyed because the castellan had committed a breach of the peace. The von Wegelnburg family rebuilt the castle. In 1330 the Wegelnburg was pawned to the Palatinate and in 1417 it was given to th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Schönau, Germany

Giechburg Castle

First mentioned in 1125, Giechburg castle was in possession of Bamberg's prince-bishops since 1390. During wartimes it burned down several times, was rebuilt, destroyed again and rebuilt once more in 1600. In 1971 the administrative district of Bamberg bought Giechburg castle and restored it. Nowadays Giechburg castle is a popular excursion destination including a restaurant which offers a venue for meetings and cultural ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Schesslitz, Germany

Kirchheim Castle

Kirchheim Renaissance castle is the best preserved example of Württemberg duchy strongholds. On his return from exile, duke Ulrich of Württemberg ordered seven fortresses to be constructed across the country, in order to better protect its territory from other countries. As part of these measures, the fortifications of Kirchheim unter Teck were expanded and in 1538, the castle was established as a corner rampart ...
Founded: 1538-1566 | Location: Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany

Landeck Castle

Like most of the castles in the Rhineland-Palatinate, Landeck Castle was built in approximately 1200. It served probably the function of protecting the nearby Klingenmünster monastery. The first documental reference to Landeck Castle was made in 1237. In the period around 1500 there were castle administrators from the Kurpfalz, the bishop of Speyer and the counts of Zweibrücken. At the end of the 15th century ex ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Klingenmünster, Germany

Brake Castle

Schloss Brake was a former residence of the Counts of Lippe. The first castle was built after 1190. In 1447 it was conquered and burned during the feud. The current appearance dates mainly from the 1570-1587 when it was modernized in Weser Renaissance style. In 1663, Count Casimir of Lippe-Brake rebuilt the east wing to its present form. Since 1986 the Weser Renaissance Museum has been located in the castle.
Founded: 1570-1587 | Location: Lemgo, Germany

Ehrenburg Castle

Ehrenburg Castle was built on a promontory in the Ehrbach valley (Ehrbachtal), a tributary valley of the Mosel. It was once used as the fortified centre of a small reign between Mosel and Rhine. Today it is a cultural monument (Kulturdenkmal) with a variety of events. The oldest, still preserved part of this castle is the remains of a steady house, a rectangular residential tower. It is assumed that the construction work, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Brodenbach, Germany

Stettenfels Castle

Stettenfels Castle was built in the 11th century, probably at about the same time as many other castles in the area. From 1356 Stettenfels was owned by Burkhard, Knight of Sturmfeder. From 1462 to 1478, the Lords of Helmstatt owned of the castle. With the 1504 victory of Ulrich, Duke of Wurttemberg in the Landshut War of Succession the castle became a fief of Württemberg under Marshal Konrad Thumb of Neuburg in 1507. His ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Untergruppenbach, Germany

Berwartstein Castle

Berwartstein Castle was one of the rock castles that were part of defences of the Palatinate during the Middle Ages. There is no definite record of the origins of the castle or its name. The name 'Berwartstein Castle' is mentioned for the first time in a document dating from 1152, when the castle was granted by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Bishop Günther of Speyer. During the 13th century, feudal tenants, who carried ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Wasgau, Germany

Drachenfels Castle Ruins

Drachenfels Castle is located about seven kilometres north of the Franco-German border on the eponymous 150-metre-long bunter sandstone rocks which are on a ridge at an elevation of 368 metres above sea level. The name of the castle could have come from the dragon carved in the sandstone wall of the old great hall of the castle. However, because it has not been dated, it is also possible that the dragon was inscribed on ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Busenberg, Germany

Hellenstein Castle

Hellenstein Castle was once the home of the Lords of Hellenstein. The castle was first built during the 12th century. The castle remained in the hands of the Hellensteins until 1273 when the male line died out. For almost eighty years the castle passed through several owners. In 1351 the counts of Helfenstein acquired the castle and ruled it for nearly a century, until 1448. Finally in 1503 the castle came under the contr ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany

Schorndorf Castle

Duke Ulrich built Schorndorf Castle in 1538 on the site of what had probably been an older moated stronghold. It formed part of the state of Württemberg"s Schorndorf fortifications and was erected with vast effort and outlay, making it the mightiest town fortress in the whole of the duchy in the 16th century. Today Schorndorf Castle is the seat of the city"s district court. In the castle grounds you can se ...
Founded: 1538 | Location: Schorndorf, Germany

Madenburg Castle

The ruin of Madenburg Castle is one of the biggest and oldest castle complexes in Rhineland-Palatinate. The castle was built on a cliff on the outskirts of the Palatinate Forest looking towards the Rhine rift valley. In 1076 the Madenburg castle appears for the first time in a medieval document. Not a lot is known about the early owners of the castle, the counts of Madenburg. At a certain period it belonged to the Empire ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Eschbach, Germany

Löwenburg Castle

Löwenburg castle was built around 1200 by the Counts of Sayn. Together with the Castle of Blankenberg high above the valley of river Sieg it secured their territory.  In the second half of the 13th century the old keep was torn down. Only then the castle whose ruins we see today was built. In the late Middle Ages the Löwenburg went through an eventful history until it fell to the Counts of Berg in 1484. It was destroye ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Bad Honnef, Germany

Prunn Castle

Prunn Castle is perched on an almost vertical Jurassic outcrop high above the Altmühl river valley south-west of Regensburg. Its impressive appearance from a distance is matched by the views from the castle of the surrounding Altmühltal countryside. Lords of Prunn were first mentioned in 1037, and they will have certainly chosen the site because of its favourable position on several transportation routes. The castle it ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Schloßprunn, 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.