Altenburg castle is perched on top of Bamberg's highest hill and is one of Bamberg's major landmarks. The castle was first mentioned in 1109 and was used at this time as a refuge. In the 14th and 15th centuries it served as a richly furnished residence for Bamberg's bishops, but was almost completely destroyed in 1553 by margrave Alfred Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach in the second margrave war.
The only remains of the medieval construction are the 33 metre keep from the 13th century and parts of the surrounding wall. An iron basket hangs from the upper section of the tower which was used to send fire signals to Giechburg castle near Scheßlitz, 20km away.
In the Romance period, Altenburg was rebuilt. E.T.A. Hoffmann retreated to one of the wall towers in 1812, to which the 'Hoffmannsklause' restaurant in the new building of the former palace (1901/02) owes its name. The terrace commands a panoramic view of the episcopal town and the surrounding region.
The restaurant was formed after the takeover by the 'Altenburg club'. The premises were located as it is today in the cultivation of the gatehouse. The kitchen, a vaulted room was built in 1834. In the last quarter of the 19th Century the premises has been newly decorated. Lippel family took over the restaurant in 1972.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.