Wülzburg Fortress

Weissenburg, Germany

Wülzburg fortress is situated on the highest point of the south Frankenalb, which rises to 640m. Surrounded by adry moat hewn into the rock, it is an imposing and singular monument of a Renaissance fortress in Germany.

From the 11th century onwards a Benedictine monastery stood here. During the Reformation it was dissolved, a provost was put in charge followed by a civil administration in 1537. In 1588 Margrave Georg Friedrich d. A. von Brandenburg-Ansbach erected a pentagonal fortress with the bastions in modern Italian fortification style. The site was well chosen in the southern part of his territory, close to the imperial city of Weissenburg.

To the imperial citizens of Weissenburg the fortress always caused anxiety and posed a threat, especially during the Thirty Years War. In 1631 the fortress, into which the family of the Margrave had fled, was handed over to General Tilly (imperial side) without fighting. Until the end of the war it remained in the hands of the imperial troops or those in league with them. They survived all blockades and brought havoc to the town during periods, when it was held by the enemy.

The original castle tract was destroyed by a great fire. It was re-erected after the Thirty Years' War. In 1791 the fortress passed into Prussian, in 1802 into Bavarian hands. In 1867 its status as fortress was cancelled and in 1882 the Bavarian king sold it- with the exception of the south wing – to Weissenburg. In the 19th and 20th century it served as prison and refugee camp, Charles de Gaulle being kept here in 1918. After 1945 the castle was renovated and now houses aschool.

The castle chapel has the remarkable tombstone of abbot Wilhelm (died 1449).

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Details

Founded: 1588
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Reformation & Wars of Religion (Germany)

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