Pottenstein Castle

Pottenstein, Germany

Pottenstein Castle is one of the oldest castles in Franconian Switzerland. It stands on a rock above the eponymous town of Pottenstein in the Upper Franconian county of Bayreuth. The castle is home to a museum and both may be visited for a fee.

The castle was built between 1057 and 1070 by Boto. It was probably originally established to guard the area between the Upper Main and Pegnitz to the southeast. During the following centuries, Pottenstein Castle was entrusted by the bishops of Bamberg to a ministerialis family who renamed themselves after the castle. 

From the beginning of the 14th century, the castle was managed by a vogt or advocate, who had his seat in the Vogteihaus in the lower ward. From 1500, the officers called themselves pflegers. They were based in the so-called cabinet in the upper ward. In 1750 the pfleger of the castle also moved into the Vogthaus in the town. The castle was abandoned as an administrative residence and served as a corn granary.

During the Peasants' War, however, it was occupied and plundered by peasants in 1525 but for fear that plummeting and burning debris could also damage houses in the town below, it was not razed. In addition, without the castle, the peasants would have been without protection against the forces of the count Palatine, the margrave and the city of Nuremberg.

The Second Margrave War, in which Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach and Bayreuth launched numerous raids and looting, resulted in heavy damage and led to the destruction of many villages and castles in the Empire, especially in Franconia. On 18 May 1553, Pottenstein Castle was bombarded and occupied by margravial troops. Even the castle chapel in the upper ward was destroyed and was no longer mentioned after 1553.

In 1634 during the Thirty Years' War a raid by the Swede, Colonel Cratz, failed to take the castle. In 1703/1704, during the Spanish Succession War, a garrison was installed in the castle, and it was occupied by soldiers again in 1708 in 1712. In 1703, an oven was installed in the already dilapidated bergfried for the garrison troops.

After the transfer of the diocese in 1803 to the Bavarian state during the secularisation period the castle fell into ruins. In 1878, the castle came into the possession of Nuremberg pharmacist, Dr. Heinrich Kleemann, to whom the preservation of the ruins. In 1918, Pottenstein Castle was purchased by the father castellan Winzelo, Baron of Wintzingerode, who died in 2006 and whose noble family was seated at Bodenstein Castle in Thuringia. His life's work was the construction of the museum and the ongoing renovation of the castle complex. The castle is still owned by the family.

The castle is now a privately run museum and residence where prehistoric and early historical objects are displayed along with a collection of weapons, books, autographs and three show rooms grouped as an ensemble.

The Elizabeth Room in the former tower house, the western part of the palas, commemorates the stay of Saint Elizabeth in 1227-1228. The accessible areas are the upper floor of the main building (great hall, Red Salon, Elizabeth Room), the remnants of the former bergfried, the well house (porcelain, glass, ceramics and ethnographic objects) and the tithe barn (with tithe exhibits, an exhibition on the recent history of castle and changing special exhibitions). In addition to the impression of a well-preserved castle of the 16th century with a medieval substance, visitors may also tour the castle gardens with their outstanding views over the town and countryside.



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Founded: 1057-1070
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Angelina De Castro (6 months ago)
The town surrounded by impressive rock formations is well known for its Burg. It houses a museum and there is also a private residence, therefore certain parts are off limits. Indeed it is ancient and full of history, however all descriptions are in German. A big shame for most International tourists who may be interested to read and learn about the rich historical tale. Towers majestically on the rocky hill with great vistas of the Franconian landscape.
Gregory Brown (14 months ago)
Very cool old castle, only complaint would be that I wish the posters had English as well. But Google translate did get some of them.
Yüski Amenia (19 months ago)
very beautiful place! i like here for hiking!
JST KSK (2 years ago)
Nice. High up and in a scenic village. Parking is limited, though, and it is at the top of a large hill. You won't want to park at the bottom and hike up even if you don't mind the incline since the hill is entirely paved with no sidewalks.
Juan Ignacio Gerosa (2 years ago)
Nice and well preserved castle, easy to access by walking (25’ approx) or by car (5’) from the old town - Very nice views and outside area and close to other attractions in Pottenstein so you can plan together with other activities. FYI - part of the castle is privately owned and cannot be visited.
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