The rock castle of Neudahn is situated on one of the sandstone rock outcrops that are typical of the Dahner Felsenland region. The name Neudahn ('New Dahn') is rather confusing, because the castle is older than Grafendahn Castle in the nearby group of three castles of Dahn, albeit more recent than Altdahn ('Old Dahn'). Its location enabled it to protect and block the old road running through the Wieslauter valley, the course of which is now used by the B 427 federal highway and the Wieslauter Railway.
The castle was probably built just before 1240 by order of the Bishop of Speyer, because from 1233 to 1236 the office was held by a certain Conrad IV of Dahn. The governing ministerialis was Henry of Dahn, who is also recorded as Henry Mursel of Kropsberg. He was probably granted the castle from the outset as a heritable fief. His second name, like other later heirs, indicates clearly that there were family ties with the South Palatinate – Kropsburg and Burrweiler.
Within a hundred years of the castle being built, the Mursel family died out, and its possession passed to the related Altdahn line. Probably razed during the Four Lords" War of 1438 and then rebuilt, the site was again badly damaged during the German Peasants" War in 1525. Because, King Henry II of France stayed overnight at the castle in 1552, it must have been thoroughly renovated before then. After the last lord of Dahn, Ludwig II died in 1603 in his castle at Burrweiler, Neudahn was returned to the Prince-Bishopric of Speyer. From then on the castle was used by the episcopal Amtmann as his headquarters until French troops finally destroyed it in 1689 at the start of the War of the Palatine Succession.
Today the castle appears to visitors largely as it did in the renovation and extension phase in the period after 1525 and after the last destruction.
Left of the site of the original gates in the southeast there are still remains of a tower of 7 metres diameter. From this tower, parts of a thick defensive wall runs westwards, before bending north. On the steep northern and northeastern side of the hillside the wall has entirely disappeared. It led to the flanking tower at the northern end of the site.
Of the oldest – late Hohenstaufen – castle on the vertically hewn, central rock outcrop, which is just under 20 metres high, the only surviving features are a cistern at the western end and the southern wall of the small palas with its window and door openings. At the northwestern end of the main rock outcrop in the south was a late medieval domestic building and, west of that, a well. A formerly plastered newel tower from the same period on the northwestern edge of the rock outcrop leads up to the upper ward. The actual entrance into the ground floor is, as on many castles, probably not authentic and may have been made for modern visitors, which the date 1975 over the entrance suggests. It alsl lies outside the inner gate. The historic entrance is inside the gate to the left and at a higher level.
The dominant image of the castle is the two four-storey, roughly 24 metre-high, battery towers on the opposite side. They date to the first half of the 16th century. The west tower measures about 7 metres in height, the east tower, about 10 metres. The thickness of the walls is about 3 metres. Two embrasures (so-called Maulscharten) on the southern battery tower have been ornately carved into the shape of lions" faces.
On the continuation of the hill to the east-southeast the site was protected by a wedge-shaped bastion that was also a recognition feature of Neudahn. Its shape was intended to prevent shells from striking the castle frontally. It protected the upper ward on the more gentle slope of the hill on that side. The bastion and the weapon towers show that, in the late Middle Ages, considerable modifications to the castle were carried out and the lords of the castle took account of the introduction of firearms and cannon.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.