Erbach Castle is a patrician Renaissance castle which origins date back to the 12th century. The purpose of the castle was to secure and safeguard the important crossing over the river Danube. The keep was built during the reign of the House of Hohenstaufen and explicitly mentioned in a document from 1384. The Gothic spire was added at the end of the 15th century. The original modest Romanesque castle was extended in the 16th century into a renaissance palace. In 1525 during the German Peasants' War the castle was damaged by revolting farmers of the Baltringer Haufen.
Hans von Paumgarten, a patrician from Augsburg, was enfeoffed with Erbach Castle in 1534. His heir, Hans Georg von Paumgarten, started works to rebuild the castle on a large scale in 1550: two wings alongside each other on top of large vaulted basement rooms, three storeys high with four more levels under the roofs. The works were completed in 1555, ruining Hans Georg von Paumgarten.
In 1612 Hans Ludwig of Ulm became lord of Erbach. During the Thirty Years' War Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, one of the foremost Protestant generals, resided at Erbach Castle in 1633. Following a prolonged period of occupation by Swedish troops, the castle was left in an uninhabitable state. After the Thirty Years' War a pleasure garden, non-existent today, was added to the castle. The last substantial alterations to the castle were carried out in the first half of the 18th century. In 1902 the castle was decorated in neo-baroque style.
Erbach Castle was inspired by the architectural style employed by patricians of the larger cities, evidence for which are crow-stepped gables and the gabled roofs. Entrance to the castle is via a drawbridge, followed by a gate. The castle courtyard is surrounded by mews and outbuildings. In the courtyard there is a hand-drawn water well. The Baroque castle chapel is situated at the end of the main hall.
The so-called Renaissance Room was altered in 1884 for the last time; other rooms worth mentioning are the Small Smoking room, the Maria-Theresia-Drawing room, the Brown Drawing room, the Red Drawing room and the Clerical Drawing room.
Erbach Castle is still in private hands, owned by the barons of Ulm-Erbach who also run the castle museum. Parts of the castle are used as a restaurant while the basement houses a theatre.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.