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 house in the a ...
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 sacred, i ...
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

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 cen ...
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

Groitzsch Castle Ruins

Only small remains of the castle of Wiprecht of Groitzsch on Burgberg ('Castle Hill') are still visible, but the site has been investigated archeologically and is protected as a historical monument.  The Wiprechtsburg is situated on the northwestern edge of the town of Groitzsch and was one of the largest castle complexes in Saxony around 1100 under Count Wiprecht von Groitzsch. A special feature is the old ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Groitzsch, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.