Schloss Wolfegg is a Renaissance castle and the ancestral seat of the house of Waldburg-Wolfegg, which still owns it today. The main building of the castle consists of four wings arranged in the shape of a rectangle with towers in the corners. Its exterior design and layout dates back to Truchsess Jakob II. of Waldburg (1546–1589) and his wife Johanna (1548-1613). After a fire in 1578 destroyed an older building, they built a new castle. Parts of it however were destroyed in 1646, when Swedish troops under Carl Gustaf Wrangel ransacked the place near the end of the Thirty Years' War and laid fire to it.
Since the owner Maximilian Willibald of Waldburg-Wolfegg was short of funds, the restoration of the castle was delayed until 1651. From 1691 to 1700 the sculptor and plasterer Balthasar Kimmer of Wangen (1653–1702) redesigned the interior of the rooms with official and representative functions. In the 18th century some of the guest rooms were decorated in Rococo style. Towards the end of the 19th century the castle was extensively renovated again. The dining rooms received a new interior design and the castle's chapel was remodeled in a Neo-Gothic fashion.
Today the castle, which is still occupied by members of the Waldburg-Wolfegg family, is usually not accessible to the public. However once or twice a year public concerts are performed within the castle during which concert visitors can see some of the castle's inner room, in particular the Rittersaal (knights' hall). The Rittersaal is a large hall decorated in Baroque style featuring 24 life-sized wood sculptures and large ceiling mirrors. It is considered to be one of the most original room designs of the Baroque period in Germany. In addition to those rooms being used for concerts guided tours through other parts of the castle might be offered at that occasion.
The castle also hosts the Wolfegger Kabinett, a large collection of graphic art from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods. In an edition of 1,000 issues the wall map of the world by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann was printed in early 16th century, where the continent and the name America appeared for the first time, originally published in April 1507. On account of the stormy development of the cartography in this epoche these specimens were fast outstripped by more detailed editions, so that the original edition fell quickly out of use and all issues got lost over time.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.