Ehrenburg Palace

Coburg, Germany

Ehrenburg Palace was built by Johann Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg, in 1543-47. It replaced the Veste Coburg as the Dukes' city Residenz. The new city palace was built around a dissolved Franciscan monastery.

According to tradition, the palace was named Ehrenburg ('Palace of Honour') by Emperor Charles V for having been constructed without the use of forced labour.

In 1690, a fire destroyed the northern part of the palace. This was an opportunity for Albert V, Duke of Saxe-Coburg, who had a new Baroque style palace built in 1699.

In the 19th century, Ernst I had the palace redesigned by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Gothic Revival style, beginning in 1810. Between 1816 and 1840 the state apartments were redesigned in the French Empire style.

The palace is used as a museum today. Among other exhibits, it features art galleries with works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Dutch and Flemish artists of the 16th and 17th centuries as well as romantic landscape paintings.

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Address

Steingasse 22, Coburg, Germany
See all sites in Coburg

Details

Founded: 1543
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: Reformation & Wars of Religion (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jpridge1280 (3 months ago)
All the way from Munich just to see the Palace Ehrenburg to find out they closed it for the day to do some repairs. They could of done their repairs on Monday when the palace is closed to the public. No mention or notice on the webpage when when I booked my trip a few days prior or else I would not of gone. I spoke to the lady at the reception on the first floor in the library who also had no clue till I showed her the photo. She was kind to let me wander about the library. I will be writing a complaint to their office, but I doubt they would care. Beautiful exterior I must say. Just a shame!!!!
Jim Becker (12 months ago)
Well done town castle
Michael Miller (2 years ago)
Absolutely gorgeous . . . but I can't quite give the experience 5 stars because of two reasons: #1 no pictures are allowed inside. #2 the tour guide was not very animated and it even though he had lots of facts, it came across as if he read a script. But the rooms really are beautiful and the price is reasonable.
Nikolai Robertsen (2 years ago)
Lovely place with lovely people. That chap Ernst II sure knows how to treat guests!
Kristina Miller (3 years ago)
I took one of the guided tours that run every hour and absolutely loved the place! Our tour guide was very professional and humorous. I totally recommend this place to everybody, but the language of a tour was German. Not sure if they do an English version.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.