Castles Saxony

Rauenstein Castle

Rauenstein Castle guarded the crossing over the River Flöha along the road from Freiberg to Annaberg. The castle is first mentioned in 1323, although from archaeological investigations it is postulated that it had been built by around 1200. The first lords of Rauenstein were the Schellenbergers. After several changes of ruler, the castle went into the possession of the Electorate of Saxony in 1567. The Amt of Ra ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Pockau-Lengefeld, 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

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

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

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

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

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

Hainewalde Castle

The  original Hainewalde water castle, built under rule of the family von Nositz, was located north of the terraces of the new castle. The only remain of the old water castle, which was demolished in 1780, is the gate lodge with his west-side Renaissance-portal. Schloss (New Castle) was constructed in 1750–1753, along with its Baroque gardens, under the rule of the Kanitz-Kyaw family. It was renovated in 1883, the ...
Founded: 1750-1753 | Location: Hainewalde, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.