Castles Saxony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday.

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great, would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander (also known as Eosander von Göthe) as the royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, Eosander began to extend the palace, starting with two side wings to enclose a large courtyard, and the main palace was extended on both sides. Sophie Charlotte died in 1705 and Friedrich named the palace and its estate Charlottenburg in her memory. In the following years, the Orangery was built on the west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome is a wind vane in the form of a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to overwinter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange, citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

Inside the palace, was a room described as 'the eighth wonder of the world', the Amber Room, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716.

When Friedrich I died in 1713, he was succeeded by his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I whose building plans were less ambitious, although he did ensure that the building was properly maintained. Building was resumed after his son Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) came to the throne in 1740. During that year, stables for his personal guard regiment were completed to the south of the Orangery wing and work was started on the east wing. The building of the new wing was supervised by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, the Superintendent of all the Royal Palaces, who largely followed Eosander's design. The decoration of the exterior was relatively simple but the interior furnishings were lavish. The ground floor was intended for Frederick's wife Elisabeth Christine, who, preferring Schönhausen Palace, was only an occasional visitor. The decoration of the upper floor, which included the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Throne Room and the Golden Gallery, was lavish and was designed mainly by Johann August Nahl. In 1747, a second apartment for the king was prepared in the distant eastern part of the wing. During this time, Sanssouci was being built at Potsdam and once this was completed Frederick was only an occasional visitor to Charlottenburg.

In 1786, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II who transformed five rooms on the ground floor of the east wing into his summer quarters and part of the upper floor into Winter Chambers, although he did not live long enough to use them. His son, Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne in 1797 and reigned with his wife, Queen Luise for 43 years. They spent much of this time living in the east wing of Charlottenburg. Their eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who reigned from 1840 to 1861, lived in the upper storey of the central palace building. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV died, the only other royal resident of the palace was Friedrich III who reigned for 99 days in 1888.

The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1951, the war-damaged Stadtschloss in East Berlin was demolished and, as the damage to Charlottenburg was at least as serious, it was feared that it would also be demolished. However, following the efforts of Margarete Kühn, the Director of the State Palaces and Gardens, it was rebuilt to its former condition, with gigantic modern ceiling paintings by Hann Trier.

The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by André Le Nôtre, designer of the gardens at Versailles. Godeau's design consisted of geometric patterns, with avenues and moats, which separated the garden from its natural surroundings. Beyond the formal gardens was the Carp Pond. Towards the end of the 18th century, a less formal, more natural-looking garden design became fashionable. In 1787 the Royal Gardener Georg Steiner redesigned the garden in the English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenné. After the Second World War, the centre of the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.