Augustenborg Palace owes its name to Duchess Auguste (1633–1701). Augustenborg gave its name to the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, the last member of which was Duke Christian August II (1798–1869). The original half-timbered manor house was built in 1660-1664 by Ernest Günther, the first Duke of Augustenborg, after he bought the village of Stavensbøl and demolished it for the land.
The one-storey, red-roofed buildings around the outer courtyard were added from 1733 while the main three-winged building, replacing the original manor, was built from 1770 to 1776 in full symmetry, a fine example of Baroque architecture. With its yellow-painted walls and blue-tiled roof, the wings gradually increase in height up to the central section. The three central bays of the facade protrude as an avant-corps three storeys high. Inside a beautiful entrance hall was finished in white-painted stucco by the Italian decorator Michel Angelo Taddei (1755–1831). Taddei also worked on the interior of the two-storey Baroque chapel in the building's northern wing, adding a Rococo altarpiece with an integrated pulpit as well as decorations along the vaults and walls of the nave. During the same period, much of the town was regenerated. The palace building underwent further renovation in the 1920s. Hans Christian Andersen spent two weeks at the palace in the autumn of 1844 and wrote The Little Match Girlwhen he visited the castle.
During the First Schleswig War (1848–50), Christian August II, the last duke to live in the palace, left Augustenborg as a result of his close relations with Germany. Thereafter the building was first used as a barracks and from 1878 as a seminary for women.
In 1921, Augustenborg was purchased by the Danish state. It was fitted out as a hospital in 1927–28 and since 1932 has been used as a psychiatric hospital. There is an exhibit about the palace, the town and its ducal history in the building's entryway.
The largest room in the castle is the church hall, which dates from the late 18th century. Not visible from the outside, it covers the entire two-storey annexe of the north wing and is the successor of an older chapel, from 1671, which was demolished before the construction of the castle. The hall, which has served as the parish church of the town since 1874, was extensively restored in 1972.
The rococo architecture of the church hall is consistent with the rest of the building. The stucco work was probably designed by Michelangelo Taddei. The hall has seven divided window bays. Six Doric and six Corinthian columns separate the room, forming a three-aisled hall. A curved balustrade leads to the pulpit altar on the eastern wall. The organ is placed over the high altar and was built by the Holstein organ builder, Johann Daniel Busch. The Carrara marble baptismal font was a gift of the Russian Tsar Alexander I.
The castle is situated directly above a bay of the Augustenburger Fjord, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The views of the bay and the landscape behind it appear to be a continuation of the garden in the distance. The grounds included a Baroque-style garden, which in the 19th century was transformed into a landscaped park. The garden includes large grass terraces and a shaped topiary hedge. The garden area in front of the palace building is framed by trees and a sculpted hills, which is accessible by trails. Under one of the lindens in the castle grounds is a memorial plaque to the poet Andersen, who is said to have worked there for many of his stories. Within the park, there are two summer-houses and outbuildings, which after the departure of the ducal family in 1848, were converted to public use. The House of Prince is a small, relatively spartan-appearing house. It was built in 1765 for Emil August, the younger brother of Duke Frederick Christian I. The red house served as a hermitage for Emil August who lived there until his death in 1786. The small estate was bequeathed to his sister, Christine Louise Caroline, for use in her lifetime. The palace church, which now serves as the parish church of Augustenborg, is open to the public in the summer months. Tours of the ducal apartments can be arranged by appointment.References:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.