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.References:
La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a \'mound\' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Gravegoods, mostly pottery, were also present. At some time in the past, the site had evidently been entered and ransacked.
In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves and the most impressive and best preserved monument of Armorican Passage Grave group. Although they are termed \'passage graves\', they were ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental.