Schloss Thorn is a former castle, that has been turned into a stately home. The history of the castle dates from the ancient times. Due to the existence of a ford here, the Romans built a guard tower on a protruding rock here to protect and observe the crossing. This tower would give the later medieval castle its name, the Latin 'turris' meaning 'tower'.
Schloss Thorn was built on the ruins of the probably rectangular, medieval castle guarded by round corner towers. Until the 16th century it was a fief of the lords of Rollingen (hereditary marshals of Luxembourg) to the lords of Bübingen. Then it passed to the ownership of the lords of Musiel, where it remained until the end of the 19th century. It had become decrepit by the end of the 15th century, and was rebuilt in 1536 by the new owner apart from two towers and a part of the defensive wall. In 1800, it was rebuilt by the owning family into more of a stately home and the old defensive buildings were turned into garden terraces.
One of the two towers left after the 16th century renovations, the round tower at the south-eastern corner was destroyed by bombardment in 1945. The second, a rectangular tower that used to be inhabitable, is now a gate tower.
Due to the rebuilding and renovation work carried over hundreds of years, the castle now shows characteristics of the architectural styles of the Middle Ages, through to the Renaissance, Baroque and Empire styles.
Schloss Thorn is still in use as a residence today, owned by the Barons von Hobe-Gelting. The wine is produced from the surrounding vineyards, which have been family-owned since 1534. It is the oldest castle vineyard on the Moselle and also has the only preserved tree wine press of Europe.References:
Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.
Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.
In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.
In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.
Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.