Castles in Saxony

Altrathen Castle

Unlike the neighbouring Neurathen Castle very little is known about the history of Altrathen Castle. It was probably built at the same time in the 11th century. The castle was first mentioned in the records in 1289. In 1469 Altrathen and Neurathen castles were slighted. In 1888 the industrialist, Eduard Seifert, bought the ruins of the castle and rebuilt it in 1893 in a Neogothic style. Of the medieval castle only t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rathen, Germany

Wildeck Castle

Wildeck Castle was built originally in the 12th century, by only the keep is left from that. Prince elector Moritz of Saxony had the medieval fortress re-designed into a hunting lodge between 1545 and 1547. The building is characterized be the tower “Slim Margarethe” with its curved roof hood and its dominant gables. Up until the year 1911, different hunting administrations had their seats at Zschopau’s castle. At t ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Zschopau, Germany

Weesenstein Castle

Weesenstein castle was erected here sometime around 1200, built with the purpose of defending the border to the Kingdom of Bohemia; it was mentioned in written sources for the first time in 1318. The oldest part of the presently visible castle is its central round tower, erected sometime around 1300. The castle was built for the burgraves of Dohna; the burgraviate was incorporated in the Margraviate of Meissen in 1 ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Müglitztal, Germany

Rammenau Palace

Rammenau Castle was built between 1721 and 1735 by architect Johann Christoph Knöffel for Ernst Ferdinand von Knoch, chamberlain of king Augustus II the Strong. As Knoch went bankrupt with the immense costs of this project, Franz Josef von Hoffmann purchased it in a foreclosure auction in 1744. In 1879 it was sold to the von Posern family, with the last owner, Margarete von Helldorff née von Posern, being expropriated ...
Founded: 1721-1735 | Location: Rammenau, Germany

Rochsburg Castle

Rochsburg Castle was probably founded in the late 12th century. It stands on a rock spur, surrounded on three sides by the Zwickau Mulde river, above the eponymous town quarter in Lunzenau. The medieval site and its division into the inner bailey, outer bailey and two zwingers is still easy to recognise. In its present appearance the schloss dates, however, to the Late Gothic and Renaissance periods. Its main const ...
Founded: 1470-1548 | Location: Lunzenau, 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

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

Mylau Castle

Mylau Castle is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Saxony. It was probably erected during the German eastward expansion under the regime of Emperor Barbarossa. It offered protection to the predominantly Frankish settlers in an area that was sparsely inhabited by Slavs. Under the protection of the castle, among others the trade city Reichenbach im Vogtland was founded. The 27 m tall Bergfried was built according ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Reichenbach im Vogtland, Germany

Wurzen Castle

Schloss Wurzen was built in 1491-1497 in late Gothic style with elements of the early Renaissance by the Meißen bishop Johann VI. After its completion, he often resided here in addition to his stays at Stolpen Castle. In 1631 both towers burned down and were very badly damaged. Today Wurzen Castle is an unusually well-preserved residential palace from the late 15th century and the only Gothic bishop"s palace with a ...
Founded: 1491-1497 | Location: Wurzen, Germany

Delitzsch Castle

Built in the 14th century, the medieval moated castle always served as a holiday residence for Saxon rulers and as accommodation for the sovereign"s administration. When the castle was rebuilt for the first time, it retained its Renaissance style, and the tower has survived to this day. Following the division of Saxony and the takeover of the Saxony-Merseburg Principality, the Barockschloss Delitzsch was declared a t ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Delitzsch, 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

Frauenstein Castle

The ruins of Frauenstein Castle are located on a 680 metres high granite rock on the crest of the Eastern Ore Mountains near the town of Frauenstein. The castle, which was first recorded by name in 1272, was built as a border fortification between the March of Meissen and Bohemia. It protected the trade routes and the silver mining industry. The original inner ward measured just 30 x 15 m and incorporated a tower house. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Frauenstein, Germany

Groitzsch Castle Ruins

Only small remains of the castle of Wiprecht of Groitzsch on Burgberg ('Castle Hill') are still visible, but the site has been investigated archeologically and is protected as a historical monument.  The Wiprechtsburg is situated on the northwestern edge of the town of Groitzsch and was one of the largest castle complexes in Saxony around 1100 under Count Wiprecht von Groitzsch. A special feature is the old ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Groitzsch, Germany

Schönfeld Palace

The Schönfeld castle in the Saxon village of Schönfeld was first mentioned in the 13th century and expanded over the centuries. The aristocratic Schönfeld family sat here until the early 15th century. The buildings date from the years 1560 to 1580. In 1882, Baron von Burgk acquired the Schönfeld Palace and had it rebuilt by 1884. Today Schönfeld Palace is one of the most important neo-renaissance castles in Saxony.
Founded: 1560-1580 | Location: Schönfeld, Germany

Nossen Castle

In 1185 the Knights of Nuzzin were first mentioned as the owners of the Nossen castle. In 1315, the Bishop of Meissen acquired the castle. It was sold in 1436 to Altzella Monastery. Until the dissolution of the monastery in 1540, the castle remained a retreat for the abbot. After the Reformation, theformer monastic property of Altzella became the Nossen Office. It was given its seat at Nossen Castle, which the Elector ha ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nossen, Germany

Tharandt Castle

Tharandt Castle ruins is located on a mountain spur high above Tharandt. The castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century at the order of Margrave Dietrich of Meissen to protect against the neighboring counts of Dohna. Already in 1224 it burned down during a war campaign, but was rebuilt in 1240-1256. At the end of the 14th century the castle was fortified in such a way that it was considered one of the stronges ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tharandt, Germany

Klaffenbach Castle

Klaffenbach Castle is a rare sample of moated Renaissance castle in Saxony. It was built by Wolf Hünerkopf between 1555-1560. The four-storey building is surrounded by a moat. Striking architectural elements are the curved gable, the arched roof and the square shape of the building. The ground floor offers a small chapel next to the castle information, smaller event rooms and the gallery café.
Founded: 1555-1560 | Location: Chemnitz, Germany

Lauenstein Castle

Lauenstein Castle presides majestically over the Müglitztal Valley. The origins of the castle are unknown, Lauenstein was probably founded around the year 1200 as a border castle. Lauenstein is mentioned for the first time in 1241. A spacious residential castle was built here in the 16th century on the site of a medieval fortress. Even today, the ruins are still reminiscent of the medieval castle. The castle is essentia ...
Founded: 1200 | Location: Altenberg, Germany

Stein Castle

Stein Castle in the municipality of Hartenstein on the rocky banks of the river Mulde. The construction of the castle was probably started around 1200. This oldest part of the site form the upper ward (Oberburg) today, consisting of a round bergfried, a palas, with its great hall, and defensive walls. Its architecture still has Romanesque influences. The fortifications probably also served as an outer ward of Harten ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Hartenstein, Saxony, Germany

Winterstein Castle Ruins

The Winterstein, also called the Hinteres Raubschloss, is an isolated, elongated rock massif in the hinterland of Saxon Switzerland in East Germany. On the summit there was once a medieval castle, of which remains such as rebates for timber beams, hewn-out steps and cisterns are still visible. It was probably built by Berka von Dubá noble family in the 13th century. 
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Foix

The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.

In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.

The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.

From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.

As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).

Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.

Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.