Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany

New Town Hall

The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) hosts the Munich government including the city council, offices of the mayors and part of the administration. In 1874 the municipality had left the Old Town Hall for its new domicile. The town hall was built between 1867 and 1908 by Georg von Hauberrisser in a Gothic Revival architecture style. It covers an area of 9159 m² having 400 rooms. The 100 meters long main facade towards th ...
Founded: 1867-1908 | Location: Munich, Germany

Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) serves today as a building for representative purposes for the city council in Munich. The Old Town Hall bounds the central square Marienplatz on its east side. The building, documented for the first time in 1310, had its Grand Hall constructed in 1392/1394. The former Talburg Gate of the first city wall serves as spire. The Old Town Hall was re-designed in late-gothic style by Jörg von ...
Founded: 1392 | Location: Munich, Germany

Reichstag Building

The Reichstag building (Reichstagsgebäude) is a historical edifice in Berlin, constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. After World War II, the building fell into disuse; the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palast der Republik in East Berlin, while the parliament of the Federal Repu ...
Founded: 1884-1894 | Location: Berlin, Germany

Hamburg Town Hall

Hamburg Town Hall was built from 1886 to 1897 and with its impressive architecture dominates the centre of the city. The magnificent sandstone building houses the city's senate and parliament. On the outside the architectural style is neo-renaissance, which is abandoned inside for several historical elements. It is one of the few completely preserved buildings of historicism in Hamburg. Built in a period of wealth and pr ...
Founded: 1886-1897 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Bremen Town Hall and Roland Statue

Bremen Town hall was built between 1405 and 1410 and the Weser Renaissance facade added in the 17th century. The Town Hall and the statue of Roland on the marketplace are outstanding representations of civic autonomy and sovereignty, as these developed in the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. The old town hall was built in the Gothic style in the early 15th century, after Bremen joined the Hanseatic League. The building was re ...
Founded: 1404-1410 | Location: Bremen, Germany

Munich Residenz

The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach. The Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and is today open to visitors for its architecture, room decorations, and displays from the former royal collections. The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and displays 130 rooms. A wing of the Festsaalbau contains the Cuvilliés Theatre since the reconstructio ...
Founded: 1508 | Location: Munich, Germany

Aachen City Hall

Aachen"s Gothic Rathaus looms over the Markt opposite to the Aachen Cathedral. In the first half of the 14th century, Aachen’s citizenry built the city hall as a sign of their civic freedom. Yet, they had to promise to establish a space in the new town hall that could host the traditional coronation feast that was part of the coronation ceremony of the Holy Roman Empire. Construction began in 1330 on top ...
Founded: 1330 | Location: Aachen, Germany

Zwinger Palace

The Zwinger is a palace built in Baroque style and designed by court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. It served as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court. The location was formerly part of the Dresden fortress of which the outer wall is conserved. The name derives from the German word Zwinger (an enclosed killing ground in front of a castle or city gate). Today, the Zwinger ...
Founded: 1710-1728 | Location: Dresden, Germany

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 ...
Founded: 1695-1713 | Location: Berlin, Germany

Sanssouci Palace

The Park Sanssouci was originally an orchard near Potsdam. This was the favorite retreat of King Frederick II - later known as Frederick the Great. Here he could stay without worries (hence the name sans souci, French for "without worries"). No women were allowed in Sanssouci, not even the king"s wife. In 1744 the king commissioned architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff to build a summer palace, the Schloss Sanssouc ...
Founded: 1744 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Bamberg Town Hall

The old town hall of Bamberg was built in 1386 in the middle of the Regnitz River, accessible by two bridges. According to legend the bishop of Bamberg did not grant the citizens any land for the construction of a town hall. This prompted the townsfolk to ram stakes into the river Regnitz to create an artificial island, on which they built the town hall they so badly wanted. The Old Town Hall's frescoes never fail to imp ...
Founded: 1386 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Town Hall

Lübeck Town Hall is one of the most beautiful town halls in Germany. From 1230, three gabled houses were constructed on the marketplace and extended over the next few centuries to ultimately create the Hansesaal (Hanseatic Hall) for meetings; and the Danzelhus (Dance Hall) for social meetings. Its interior boasts a grand audience hall: Don't be surprised to see the doors to this former courtroom have different heights. ...
Founded: 1230 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Geyerswörth Palace

Geyerswörth Palace is a former prince-bishop"s city palace built in 1585-1587. The current appearance dates from the restoration made in 1740s, after the collapse of Renaissance gable on the north side.
Founded: 1585-1587 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is the main summer residence of the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach. The palace owes its foundation as a summer residence to the birth of the long-awaited heir to the throne, Max Emanuel, who was born in 1662 to the Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, after some ten years of marriage. In 1664 construction began to the plans of the north Itali ...
Founded: 1664 | Location: Munich, Germany

Linderhof Palace

Linderhof is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed. Ludwig II, who was crowned king in 1864, began his building activities in 1867-1868 by redesigning his rooms in the Munich Residenz and laying the foundation stone of Neuschwanstein Castle. In 1868 he was already making his first plans for Linderhof. However, neither the palace modelled on V ...
Founded: 1868 | Location: Linderhof, Germany

Stuttgart New Palace

The New Palace (das Neue Schloss) is built in late Baroque style. From 1746 to 1797 and from 1805 to 1807, it served as a residence of the kings of Württemberg. The palace stands adjacent to the Old Castle. The castle was almost destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II and was reconstructed between 1958 and 1964. During this time most of the inside of the castle was also restored and the building was used by ...
Founded: 1746 | Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Würzburg Residence

The sumptuous Würzburg Residence was built and decorated in the 18th century by an international corps of architects, painters, sculptors, and stucco workers under the patronage of two successive Prince-Bishops, Johann Philipp Franz and Friedrich Karl von Schönborn. The Residence was essentially constructed between 1720 and 1744, decorated on the interior from 1740 to 1770 and landscaped with magnificent gardens from 1 ...
Founded: 1720-1780 | Location: Würzburg, Germany

Ludwigsburg Palace

Ludwigsburg Palace is one of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany and features an enormous garden in that style. From the 18th century to 1918 it was the principal royal palace of the dukedom that became in 1806 the Kingdom of Württemberg. The foundation stone was laid on May 17, 1704 under Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg (reigning monarch from 1693 to 1733). Begun as a hunting lodge, the project became m ...
Founded: 1704 | Location: Ludwigsburg, Germany

New Palace

The New Palace (Neues Palais) is a palace situated on the western side of the Sanssouci royal park. It is considered to be the last great Prussian baroque palace. The building was begun in 1763, after the end of the Seven Years' War, under Frederick the Great and was completed in 1769. It was purposed to celebrate Prussia’s success. In an architectural form, Frederick the Great sought to demonstrate the power and glori ...
Founded: 1763-1769 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

New Town Hall

The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) in Hanover was opened on July 20, 1913, after having been under construction for 12 years. It is a magnificent, castle-like building of the era of Wilhelm II in eclectic style at the southern edge of the inner city (outside of the historic city centre of Hanover). The building is embedded in the 10 hectare Maschpark. The Old Town Hall is no longer used as the main seat of admini ...
Founded: 1913 | Location: Hanover, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.