Ruins in Germany

Franziskaner-Klosterkirche Ruins

The Franziskaner-Klosterkirche was founded in 1250 in the early Gothic style as a monastery church for a Franciscan house. It was a fieldstone church, 52 metres long and 16 metres wide. Its remains can be found in the north wall of the present ruins. This was replaced with a three-aisled brick basilica church, begun at the end of the 13th century and completed in the first half of the 14th century, whose ruins still survi ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Berlin, Germany

Werner Chapel Ruins

Werner Chapel was built in 1426 and it was dedicated to St. Werner of Oberwesel, a 16-year-old boy whose unexplained death was blamed on Jews, leading to revenge killings of Jews across Europe in 1287. Since the Reformation the chapel was a famous pilgrimage destination. It was left to decay in the 17th century and partially demolished in 1759 and 1787. Today the impressive ruins are the landmark of Bacharach town.
Founded: 1426 | Location: Bacharach, Germany

St. Catherine Church Ruins

Katharinenkirche (St. Catherine"s Church) was an important mediaeval church, destroyed during the Second World War and preserved as a ruin. St. Catherine"s was the church of a former Dominican convent, in the Diocese of Bamberg, famous for its Medieval Library. It was founded in 1295 by Konrad von Neumarkt and his wife Adelheid, patricians of the Pfinzig family. In the Middle Ages it had an important medieval l ...
Founded: 1295 | Location: Nuremberg, Germany

Rheinfels Castle Ruins

Rheinfels Castle construction was started in 1245 by Count Diether V of Katzenelnbogen. After expansions, it was the largest fortress in the Middle Rhein Valley between Koblenz and Mainz. It was slighted by French Revolutionary Army troops in 1797. The main entrance to the castle complex is a tall square clock or gate tower (~1300 AD) opposite the hotel. A connecting path joins the clock tower to the remains of the livin ...
Founded: 1245 | Location: Sankt Goar, Germany

Boosenburg Castle Ruins

The Boosenburg Castle consists of high keep (donjon) and 9m wide moat. It was probably built in the 12th century. In 1838 all buildings around the keep were torn down and the new Neo-Gothic manor was built in 1872.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Hohenbaden Castle Ruins

Hohenbaden Castle, built in 1102, and known locally as the Altes Schloss (Old Castle) was home from the 11th-15th century to the margraves of Baden. During its heyday in the 15th century, the castle had 100 rooms. In 1479 margraves moved their seat to Baden and the old castle started to decay. In 1599 it was destroyed by fire. From the tower you have a good view over Baden-Baden and distant view of the Rhine valley. The ...
Founded: 1102 | Location: Baden-Baden, Germany

Landshut Castle Ruins

The ruins of Landshut Castle loom over Bernkastel. Archbishop Heinrich von Vinstingen and his successor, Boemund, are said to be responsible for the construction of the castle in 1277. They were the ones who gave the castle its name, 'Landshut', which it is still known by today. The castle, along with all of its treasures, was destroyed by a fire in 1692. However, it is still possible to climb the castle tower. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

Metternich Castle Ruins

Burg Metternich was mentioned in documents first time 1268, when it was owned by Johann von Braunshorn. The castle was not damaged badly before 1689. French army destroyed Metternich castle and it was never completely rebuilt. Today there is a hotel and restaurant.
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Beilstein, Germany

Eldena Abbey Ruins

Eldena Abbey, originally Hilda Abbey, is a former Cistercian monastery. Only ruins survive, which are well known as a frequent subject of Caspar David Friedrich"s paintings. In the 12th century the Baltic coast south of the island of Rügen belonged to the Rani principality of Rügen, which in its turn was subject to the Danes. The Danish Cistercian monastery, Esrum Abbey, was thus able to found a daughter h ...
Founded: 1199-1204 | Location: Greifswald, Germany

Hohenneuffen Castle Ruins

Hohenneuffen Castle is a large ruined castle in the northern foothills of the Swabian situated on a large late Jurassic rock. There is evidence for a pre-historic, iron age settlement on Hohenneuffen. It functioned as an outpost for the oppidum at Heidengraben during the late La Tène period in the first century BCE. The pre-Germanic name Neuffen is derived from the proto-Celtic adjective nobos, meaning holy or sac ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neuffen, Germany

Hohenstaufen Castle Ruins

Hohenstaufen Castle was seat of the now-defunct House of Hohenstaufen. The castle was built around 1070 by Frederick I of Hohenstaufen (even before he became Duke of Swabia), as a fortress to protect family interests in the vicinity. Until the 13th century, the castle was a possession of the imperial and royal family, the Hohenstaufen dynasty. In 1181, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa stayed there; in 1208, Irene Angelina, th ...
Founded: c. 1070 | Location: Hohenstaufen, Germany

Hinterburg Castle Ruins

Hinterburg is one of the four castles in a string along the Neckar River, built by the von Steinach family in the 1100s. It is the oldest of the four, serving a strategic purpose in allowing the lords to observe the Neckar and Steinachtal. One of the earliest records mentions Bligger von Steinach, c. 1160. His son, Bligger II, who was also a famous minstrel of the time, added much of the outer wall that helped drastically ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neckarsteinach, Germany

Rabenstein Castle Ruins

Rabenstein Castle was built probably in the early 12th century. It fell into ruins in the 16th century. The surrounding walls have survived.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Riedenburg, Germany

Dagstuhl Castle Ruins

Dagstuhl Castle ruins overlooks the newer Schloss Dagstuhl in the valley below, which is historic but has been converted for use as a conference centre. The castle was founded by Knight Boemund of Saarbrücken sometime before 1290, probably for Bohemond I von Warnesberg, Archbishop of Trier. The name derives from the German word for roof, 'Dach', because of the roof-like shape of the hill on which the castle stands.The ca ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dagstuhl, Germany

Wolfstein Castle Ruins

The exact history of the Wolfenstein Castle is unclear. The archaeological excavations have dated the construction to the mid-12th century. The first written document dates from 1283 when Gottfried von Sulzbürg changed his name Wolfenstein and started the nobility. Hans von Wolfenstein died childless in 1462 and the castle was moved to the possession of Bohemian (Czech) king. Wolfstein lost its importance in the 16th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany

Strahlenburg Castle Ruins

Conrad von Strahlenberg started to build the Strahlenburg castle around 1235. The castle was only the beginning of a planned defense brigade for the city of Schriesheim. Conrad von Strahlenburg built this castle to get a higher income through taxes and tolls. The building of the castle was against the law, because the land was owned by the monastery of Ellwangen. Emperor Friedrich the Second ruled during these times. The ...
Founded: | Location: Schriesheim, Germany

Grevenburg Castle Ruins

Grevenburg castle was built in 1350 by Count Johann III of Sponheim-Starkenburg and replaced Castle Starkenburg as the residence of the Rear County of Sponheim. With the extinction of the ruling male line of the Rhenish branch of the House of Sponheim in 1437 the castle became seat of the bailiff of the new Counts to Sponheim. In 1680 it was conquered by Louis XIV of France and was extended, together with the fort of Mon ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Traben-Trarbach, Germany

Yburg Castle Ruins

Yburg Castle, built around 1200, takes its name from the outcrop that it occupies: its historical name Iberg probably derives from Eibenberg (yew-tree mountain). Of volcanic origin, the bluff towers over the Rhine valley. The castle, its keep a highly visible landmark, marked the southwestern corner of the territory of the margraves of Baden. In the Peasants’ War of 1525, rebels invaded the castle, causing consider ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Baden-Baden, Germany

Dargun Abbey Ruins

Dargun Abbey was originally a Cistercian monastery, converted after its dissolution into a palace. The monastery was founded here in 1172 on the site of a former heathen temple after the conquest of the region by Christian forces in 1164. The founding community came from Esrum Abbey in Denmark. The monastery was destroyed in 1198, and the monks left, later to found another monastery at Eldena. Dargun was re-established in ...
Founded: 1172 | Location: Dargun, Germany

Hochburg Castle Ruins

Hochburg castle was founded probably by Dietrich von Hachberg in the 11th century - although the first written mention dates from 1127. Between 1553-1577 the fortifications were completely remodeled and seven bastions were added in the early 1600s. Hochburg was however destroyed by catholic forces in the Thirty Years' War in 1634-1636. The reconstruction and modernization took place in 1660-1678, but it was again destroye ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Hochburg, 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.