Castles Saxony

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone fa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Königstein, 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

Moritzburg Castle

Moritzburg is a Baroque palace about 13 kilometres northwest of the Saxon capital, Dresden. The castle has four round towers and lies on a symmetrical artificial island. It is named after Duke Moritz of Saxony, who had a hunting lodge built there between 1542 and 1546. The surrounding woodlands and lakes have been a favourite hunting area of the electors and kings of Saxony. The Castle Chapel was built in 1661 under ...
Founded: 1542 | Location: Moritzburg, 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

Albrechtsburg Castle

The Albrechtsburg is a Late Gothic castle that dominates the town centre of Meissen. It stands on a hill above the river Elbe, adjacent to the Meissen Cathedral. By 929 King Henry I of Germany had finally subdued the Slavic Glomacze tribe and built a fortress within their settlement area, situated on a rock high above the Elbe river. This castle, called Misnia after a nearby creek, became the nucleus of t ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Meißen, Germany

Dresden Castle

Dresdner Residenzschloss is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden, Germany. For almost 400 years, it was the residence of the electors (1547–1806) and kings (1806–1918) of Saxony of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. It is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque to Neo-renaissance. The original castle was a Romanesque keep, built around 1200. The Hausmannsturm was buil ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Pillnitz Castle

Pillnitz Castle is located on the bank of the River Elbe in the former village of Pillnitz. It was the summer residence of many electors and kings of Saxony. The castle complex consists of three main buildings, the Riverside Palace (Wasserpalais) on the riverfront; the Upper Palace (Bergpalais) on the hillside, both Baroque with Chinoiserieelements; and the later Neoclassical New Palace (Neues Palais), which links ...
Founded: 1720 | Location: Pillnitz, Germany

Neurathen Rock Castle

Neurathen Castle (Felsenburg Neurathen), which was first mentioned by this name in 1755, is located near the famous Bastei rocks near Rathen in Saxon Switzerland. This was once the largest rock castles in the region, but today only the rooms carved out of the rock, passages, the cistern and rebates for the timber of the former wooden superstructure have survived. In the years 1982–1984 parts of the extensive c ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rathen, Germany

Sonnenstein Castle

The Sonnenstein Castle is a castle in Pirna housed a mental hospital, which operated from 1811 to the end of World War II in 1945. During the War, it functioned as an extermination centrefor the Third Reich Action T4 program. It was shut down following the war, and reopened in 1970. Sonnenstein was built after 1460 on the site of a former medieval castle. Sonnenstein castle was used as a mental home since 1811. Am ...
Founded: 1460 | Location: Pirna, 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

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

Albrechtsberg Palace

Albrechtsberg Palace is a Neoclassical stately home above the Elbe river in the Loschwitz district of Dresden. It was erected in 1854 according to plans designed by the Prussian court and landscaping architect Adolf Lohse (1807–1867) at the behest of Prince Albert, younger brother of the Prussian king Frederick William IV. After Prince Albert and his wife Rosalie had died, their younger son Count Frederi ...
Founded: 1854 | Location: Dresden, Germany

Rabenstein Castle

Rabenstein Castle is the smallest medieval castle in Saxony. It is located in the Chemnitz suburb of Rabenstein and belongs to the Chemnitz Castle Hill Museum. The hill castle Rabenstein was first mentioned in 1336 in a document from Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor in which he promised it as a fief to his son-in-law Frederick II, Margrave of Meissen, in case the line of Waldenburg were to die out without male h ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Chemnitz, 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

Ortenburg Castle

Ortenburg castle in Bautzen stands on the site of 7th century fort enlarged by Henry I in the 10th century. In the 15th century the castles was rebuilt in the late-Gothic style by Matthias Corvin, King of Hungary, following two devastating fires. The tower on the north wing still bears a relief representing the king. In 1698, at the height of the Baroque period, three Renaissance gables were added to the castle.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Bautzen, Germany

Hoyerswerda Castle

The Hoyerswerda castle is located on a hill in the center of old town. The original castle from the 13th century was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Under Seyfried von Promnitz a Renaissance castle was erected from it at the end of the 16th century. Baroque elements were added in the first half of the 18th century. Since the 1950s, the castle has hosted a city museum.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Hoyerswerda, Germany

Klippenstein Castle

The history of the Klippenstein castle dates back to 1289 when it was first mentioned as 'Castrum Radeberch' in official records. From 1543 to 1546, Moritz of Saxony had the castle converted into a hunting lodge and residential palace. It is also among the most significant surviving examples of sovereign architecture built during the reign of Moritz Elector of Saxony, a famous ruler from the House of Wettin. Me ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Radeberg, Germany

Milkel Castle

Milkel castle, surrounded by water on four sides, was founded probably in 1302. In 1719-20 the north tower was built by the Ponickau family and the castle got its current apperance. Today, after 20 years of restoration work, the castle, the cavalier houses, the park and burial places of the previous owners are in a good condition.
Founded: 1302 | Location: Milkel, Germany

Isenburg Castle Ruins

Isenburg is a ruined castle located high above the valley of the Zwickauer Mulde. Archaeological finds indicate that this site already existed in the 12th century. Little is known about the history of spur castle and its violent destruction. There are no verified, documented references. Oral traditions - the first account dates to 1738 - called the Isenburg a 'robber castle,' the 'Old Castle' and ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hartenstein, Germany

Lauterstein Castle

Archeological investigations have shown that the Lauterstein castle was built in the second half of the 12th century. It was first mentioned in writing in 1304 when a document named a Johannis in Lutirstein of the ministerial family of Erdmannsdorf in the castle. Its purpose was the protection of a medieval trade route between Leipzig and Prague across the Ore Mountains. The family of Schellenberg became lords o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Marienberg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Ananuri Castle

Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.

Architecture

The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.

Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.

The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.