Laufen Castle is a square-shaped castle overlooking the Salzach river that was built for the Archbishop of Salzburg in the 15th century. It is assumed to be built on the ruins of an ancient Roman structure and was first mentioned in the reign of Bishop Vergilius of Salzburg, and once again in the 13th century. On March 29, 1166, Emperor Barbarossa held court here.
During World War II the castle was used first as a prisoner-of-war camp for officers, Oflag VII-C. Then In May 1942 the officers were transferred to another camp, and the castle was used as an internment camp Ilag VII housing some hundreds of men deported from the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey and some American civilians that had been caught in Europe by the declaration of war by Germany on the United States on 11 December 1941.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.