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, the widow of Barbarossa"s son, the recently murdered Philip of Swabia, died at Hohenstaufen Castle.
After the fall of the Hohenstaufen in 1268, the castle was declared an imperial possession by the Habsburg king Rudolf I of Germany. The strategically and symbolically important location was a constant bone of contention between the Counts of Württemberg and the Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1372, Hohenstaufen Castle finally was in the hands of the Württemberg rulers. After the expulsion of Duke Ulrich of Württemberg by the members of the Swabian League in 1519, one Georg Staufer of Bloßenstaufen successfully claimed the castle, as a descendant of the old Hohenstaufen dynasty. Therefore, only a small force defended the castle in 1525, when it was taken and destroyed by insurgents during the German Peasants" War. Stones from the castle were later used in the construction of the Renaissance Göppingen Castle.
Since the German unification of 1871, Hohenstaufen Castle has been regarded as a national monument. The archaeologist Walther Veeck undertook excavations on it between 1936 and 1938, and further excavations were made between 1967 and 1971, uncovering and securing the castle foundations. A Hohenstaufen memorial stele was inaugurated in 2002. In 2009 additional work was done to preserve the site.
The Staufer Museum, located at the intersection of Pfarrgasse and Kaiserbergsteige in Hohenstaufen, contains artifacts from and historical information about the site. The trail that leads to the castle site starts between the two churches that are adjacent to the Staufer Museum.References:
The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the major European trade routes, at the heart of the historical old quarter very close to the Merchants Bridge and the town hall. Many parts of the structure still remain today, including all four thick outer walls, the Romanesque gemel window, the Gothic rose window and the entrance to the synagogue room.
After extensive restoration, the building was reopened in 2009. On display in the exhibition rooms is an collection of medieval treasures discovered during archaeological excavations. This includes 3,140 silver coins, 14 silver ingots, approx. 6,000 works of goldsmithery from the 13th and 14th centuries and an intricately worked wedding ring of the period, of which only two others are known to exist anywhere in the world. A mikveh (Jewish bath) has been excavated close by (13th/14th century). The Old Synagogue, the Small Synagogue and two Jewish cemeteries together form a network of historical buildings and sites which vividly portray the role of Jewish life in the history of Erfurt.