Johannisburg Palace

Aschaffenburg, Germany

Schloss Johannisburg was erected between 1605 and 1614 by the architect Georg Ridinger for Johann Schweikhard von Kronberg, Prince Bishop of Mainz. A keep from the destroyed 14th-century castle that had formerly stood on the site was included in the construction and is the oldest part of the castle. Until the end of the ecclesial princedoms in Germany in 1803, it was the second residence of the Prince Bishop of Mainz. At the end of the 18th century, the interior had been restructured in the style of Neoclassicism by Emanuel Herigoyen.

Karl Theodor von Dahlberg, Prince Bishop of Mainz in 1803, retained the territory of Aschaffenburg — turned into the newly created Principality of Aschaffenburg — and was awarded other territories in compensation for Mainz, which was annexed by France. From 1810-1813, Aschaffenburg was part of the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt. Aschaffenburg and Schloss Johannisburg then passed to the Kingdom of Bavaria.

During the reign of Ludwig I, Schloss Johannisburg served as the summer residence of the King. He commissioned the construction of a Roman villa known as Pompejanum within sight of the palace.

The palace was nearly destroyed in the last days of World War II and took about twenty years to fully restore.

The castle is one of the main attractions of Aschaffenburg and its landmark. Schloss Johannisburg is one of the most important buildings of the Renaissance period in Germany. It is open to the public and hosts several museums:

  • Gallery of paintings (with works by Lucas Cranach the Elder)
  • Paramentenkammer of the palace chapel (with vestments from the former treasury of Mainz Cathedral)
  • The residential rooms (furnished in Neoclassical style) and the Municipal Palace Museum (arts and handicraft

There is also the world's largest collection of architectural models made from cork, built by court confectioner Carl May and his son after 1792.

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Details

Founded: 1605-1614
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: Reformation & Wars of Religion (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maarten Jongkind (3 months ago)
Great walk around the castle, down to the water and passing the farmersmarket.
Paulo Mendes (4 months ago)
The castle Johannisburg, formerly Castle Johannisburg, in Aschaffenburg served until 1803 as the second residence of the Mainz archbishops and electors. It was built in the period from 1605 to 1614 by Strasbourg master builder Georg Ridinger from Rotsandsteing. The complex consists of four large wings, each with three floors. At each corner there is a tower, in the four corners of the courtyard are also smaller stair towers. From 1814 until the end of the monarchy in 1918, the castle belonged to the Bavarian crown. Today, the Free State of Bavaria is the owner, and the facility is managed by the Bavarian Administration of State Palaces, Gardens and Lakes. The castle also houses the castle museum and the administration of the museums of the city of Aschaffenburg. The castle dominates the image of the city of Aschaffenburg and is considered her biggest attraction. A native of Aschaffenburg said once: "The city is her castle." Little is known about the architectural history of the medieval castle built on the same site. In 1284, a new chapel was dedicated to John the Baptist. There are reports of the development of the castle from the 14th century, especially the keep, which towered over the magnificent castle complex to a drawing by Veit Hirsvogel the Younger far. Already this castle was the second seat of the Mainz archbishops, who presided over the largest ecclesiastical province of the Holy Roman Empire and at the same time acted as Archbchancers of the Reich. Aschaffenburg was in the 13th to 15th century place of various princely assemblies and synods. Outstanding guests were about 1317 King Ludwig the Bavarian or 1383 King Wenceslas of Luxembourg. The location received particular importance when Albrecht of Brandenburg, archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, withdrew from Halle to Aschaffenburg in 1539 because of the Reformation. The medieval complex was plundered and destroyed in the Markgräflerkrieg in 1552, whereby many art treasures, which Albrecht had brought to Aschaffenburg, were lost. Above all, works by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his school, which today are part of the Staatsgalerie Aschaffenburg in the castle, have been preserved. In 1604, the new Elector Johann Schweikhard von Kronberg commissioned the construction of the castle. The execution was entrusted to Strasbourg architect and master builder Georg Ridinger. Ridinger had the remains of the old castle torn down; only the large Gothic keep was included as the fifth tower in the new building in the middle of the northwest wing. In the central axis of the castle in this wall the coat of arms of the Elector Johann Schweikhard, designed by the sculptor Hans Junker, embedded. The name of the castle thus has a double reference, on the one hand to the patron saint John the Baptist, on the other to his client. The entire structure is strictly symmetrical and has external dimensions of 87.5 m by 86 m. The three-storey side wings have a depth of about 13.50 m. The eight-story corner towers are 52 meters high. Above are three floors, which correspond to the roof height of the side wings. Around the seventh floor above, there is a balustrade around each tower. The eighth floor is finally octagonal with a tapered diameter and forms the basis for the likewise octagonal dome hoods. The four inner towers have four floors, of which the lower ones are square, the ones above are octagonal. Finally, the three-storey gables in the central axes of the intermediate buildings, which receive the corresponding storey heights of the towers, and an elaborate ornamentation in the style of the Italian Renaissance architecture with obelisks, offer a visual highlight. On the occasion of the inauguration of the palace on 17 February 1614, the 10th anniversary of his election as Elector, Johannes Schweikhard von Kronberg had coins minted on one side of the castle, on the other side his coat of arms or his portrait. From now on he carried out his affairs of state of the Mainz state from the new castle.
Rondie Casiple (4 months ago)
I love Johanisburg.. Its really beautiful..
Karsten M (6 months ago)
It is an interesting place, especially local history and context as well as the cork models. It is unfortunate that the limitations due to construction are limiting the exhibition a bit. Some informations and pieces could be better highlighted and the font on some tables increased.
Monica Breckenridge (6 months ago)
Very Beautiful castle that is situated along the Main River. This is a tourist attraction. It is wonderful to look at and photograph. I ride my bike along the main river here.
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