Castles Saxony

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

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

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

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

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 t ...
Founded: 1720 | Location: Pillnitz, 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

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

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

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

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

Schwarzenberg Castle

Schwarzenberg Castle was based on a medieval fortification and together with St. George"s Church dominates the scene of the large county town of Schwarzenberg.  The castle was probably founded in the 12th century as a fort and was the original base for the settlement of Schwarzenberg and its vicinity. The former castle was given its present appearance by a conversion into a hunting lodge for the Electorate o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Schwarzenberg, 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

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

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

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

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

Schlettau Castle

Schlettau Castle dates probably from the 13th century. In the 14th century the castle was extended to a Gothic-style castle palace by the Schönburg-Crimmitschau family. From 1413 to 1536 Schlettau belonged to the Cistercians. After the secularization in 1536 it became the property of the Saxon Electors, who used it as a hunting lodge. The still existing stuctures consist of a Renaissance section (about 1620) and two B ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Schlettau, Germany

Wolkenstein Castle

The Wolkenstein Castle developed historically by joining various older structures together. The tower with living quarters is the oldest part of the castle dating back to the 14th century, which was preceded by fortifications of unknown appearance. The kitchen building was expanded in the 16th century by the current dominating building parts: the South and North wings with gate house. Although much hints to the once neces ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Wolkenstein, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.