Romantic Road in Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. The castle was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, bu ...
Founded: 1868 | Location: Hohenschwangau, Germany

St. James' Church

St. James" Church serves as a church on the pilgrimage route to St. James Church in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The church was built between 1311-1484. Its east chancel was completed in 1322, nave built from 1373-1436, and west choir, which bridges the street, from 1453-1471. The church was consecrated in 1485 by the Bishop of Würzburg. In 1525 the peasant leader Florian Geyer read aloud the articles of the r ...
Founded: 1311-1484 | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Franciscan Friary

The Franciscan Friary of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a former friary of the Conventual Franciscans in the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The friary, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded in 1281 by Hermann von Hornburg, Schultheiß of Rothenburg, and others. It was wound up in 1548 in the wake of the Reformation. The buildings of the friary, vacated voluntarily, were used initially for the establishment of a ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Neumünster

According to tradition, the Irish bishop Kilian were killed with his fellows at the site of today Neumünster church. Bishop Megingoz built the first church on the site as a memorial for martyrs in the 8th century. The next church was built around 1060 and renewed in 1250. The current Baroque appearance dates from the 18th century (1711-1722). In World War II the church was partly destroyed and restored later.
Founded: 1711-1722 | Location: Würzburg, Germany

Old Main Bridge

Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge) was built 1473–1543 to replace the destroyed Romanesque bridge dated from 1133. In two phases, beginning in 1730, the bridge was adorned with statues of saints and historically important figures.
Founded: 1473-1543 | Location: Würzburg, Germany

Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. The fortress Schwangau, which was first mentioned in historical records dating from the 12th Century, stood high up on a rock on the site of the present 19th century Neuschwanstein castle. The knights, later counts of Schwangau were ministerialis of the Welfs. Hiltbolt von Schwangau (1 ...
Founded: 1833-1857 | Location: Hohenschwangau, Germany

St. Mary's Chapel

Marienkapelle (St. Mary"s Chapel) is a late Gothic hall church. The construction started in 1377 and was finished in 1480 with the erection of a church tower. Elaborate ornamentation, especially in the arches of the doorways (figures of Adam and Eve by Tilman Riemenschneider – the originals are now on display in the Mainfränkisches Museum, replaced by replicas from 1975). Interior was replaced after fire ...
Founded: 1377-1480 | Location: Würzburg, 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

St. John's Church

The Church of St. John was originally built on the site of the Headquarters of the Order of St. John around 1200. In around 1400, the church was completely remodeled in the late gothic style, giving it its current appearance. The west choir loft was added between 1600 and 1628 and the upper floor was extended to form the town’s largest grain store. The Steinmeyer organ dates from 1885 and was restored in 2004. Ano ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Würzburg Cathedral

Würzburg Cathedral is the fourth largest Romanesque church building in Germany, and a masterpiece of German architecture from the Salian period. The present cathedral, built from 1040 onwards by Bishop Bruno of Würzburg, reckoned to be the fourth largest Romanesque basilica in Germany, is the third church on the site: the previous two, built in about 787 and 855, were respectively destroyed and severely damaged by fire ...
Founded: 1040 | Location: Würzburg, Germany

Augsburg Town Hall

The Town Hall of Augsburg is one of the most significant secular buildings of the Renaissance style north of the Alps. On 25 August 1615, the foundation stone of the building was laid. The exterior of the building was completed in March 1620, and the interior in 1624. Technologically, the Augsburger Rathaus was a pioneering performance; upon its completion it was the first building in the world with more than six storeys. ...
Founded: 1615 | Location: Augsburg, Germany

St. Peter am Perlach Church

St. Peter am Perlach is a romanesque Catholic church in the center of Augsburg. The tower of the church, the Perlachturm is together with the Augsburg Town Hall the landmark of Augsburg. The 70-metre-tall Perlachturm is a tower in the central district of Augsburg, Germany. Originally built as a watchtower in the 10th century, it is nowadays part of an ensemble with the City Hall of Augsburg.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Augsburg, Germany

St. Mary's Church

The Marienkirche (Saint Mary"s Church) stands in the inner court of the Marienberg Fortress in Würzburg. The first Christian church at this location was built in 706 by Duke Hedan II. The structure of today"s building can be traced back to the early 11th century. It is the oldest church in Würzburg and the oldest building in the fortress. Duke Hedan II erected a small church in the year 706 during the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Würzburg, Germany

St. Mang's Abbey

The Benedictine abbey of Saint Mang was founded in the first half of the 9th century as a proprietary monastery of the Prince-Bishops of Augsburg. The reason for its foundation goes back to the hermit Magnus of Füssen (later Saint Mang) and his Benedictine brother Theodor, both from the Abbey of Saint Gall, who built a cell and an oratory here. The saint"s body, amid miracles, was discovered uncorrupted, a proof of h ...
Founded: 9th century | Location: Füssen, Germany

Marienberg Fortress

The original castle on the Marienberg, a hill which was first settled in the late Bronze Age, was probably a small fort built early in the 8th century by the Franconian-Thuringian dukes, together with a church which in 741 became the first church of the Würzburg bishops. From 1200 an unusually large castle was built, which was extended during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Following the storming of the ca ...
Founded: 1200 | Location: Würzburg, Germany

Füssen Castle

Füssen's landmark, the Hohes Schloss (high castle), sits on a high rock and overlooks the village. Hohes Schloss is one of Bavaria's largest and best-preserved Gothic castle complexes, and is the former summer residence and fortress of the prince bishops of Augsburg. The first castle on the hill dates back to the age of Roman Empire. The current castle was built in the 13-15th century. It was already integrated to city ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Füssen, Germany

Wieskirche

The Pilgrimage Church of Wies (Wieskirche) is an oval rococo church, designed in the late 1740s by Dominikus Zimmermann. It is located in the foothills of the Alps in the municipality of Steingaden. The sanctuary of Wies is a pilgrimage church extraordinarily well-preserved in the beautiful setting of an Alpine valley, and is a perfect masterpiece of Rococo art and creative genius, as well as an exceptional testimony to ...
Founded: 1745-1754 | Location: Steingaden, Germany

St. George's Church

St. George's Church with its 90 m high tower is a late Gothic style main church of Nördlingen. It was built between 1427-1505. The pulpit dates from 1499 and high altar from 1683 with a late medieval crufixion scene made by Nicholas Gerhaert of Leyden.
Founded: 1427-1505 | Location: Nördlingen, Germany

Castle Garden

The Castle Garden in Rothenburg is the site where the royal family of Hohenstaufen established its imperial castle in 1142. King Conrad III reigned over his kingdom from here, but was the only ruler who actually used Rothenburg Castle. As his sons died relatively early, the castle quickly lost its importance, but not before it had formed the seed for the germination of the town. Starting from the castle, the settlement s ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

St. George's Minster

St. George"s Minster is the impressive and quite massive church at the historic heart of Dinkelsbühl. The core of the current structure was built in the 15th century - adding on to older buildings that had existed in this area. The tower of the church was originally not planned to be the church tower at all - it was a free-standing structure to the west of the main building which had been built in the 12th cent ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dinkelsbühl, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.