The Castle Garden in Rothenburg is the site where the royal family of Hohenstaufen established its imperial castle in 1142. King Conrad III reigned over his kingdom from here, but was the only ruler who actually used Rothenburg Castle. As his sons died relatively early, the castle quickly lost its importance, but not before it had formed the seed for the germination of the town.
Starting from the castle, the settlement spread over the hill, until it had become one of the ten largest towns in the Holy Roman Empire by the year 1400, with a population of over 6,000. An earthquake destroyed the castle complex in 1356 and the stones of the ruins – a valuable commodity at the time – were used to build the city walls. Only the Chapel of St. Blaise was renovated after the quake. However this building was not originally a chapel, but rather the 'Upper Ducal House', probably the conference building where the king received his guests. The building was dedicated as a chapel after the renovation and now serves as a memorial to the fallen of the two World Wars. The Chapel of St. Blaise is also the site of the memorial to the pogrom of 1298, the original of which is in the Imperial Town Museum.
After entering the Castle Gardens, the visitor will be drawn to the wonderful view of the southern part of the town and the Tauber Valley to the left, as well as the Double Bridge and the Kobolzeller Church.
Another interesting feature of the Castle Gardens are the geometric flower beds from the 17th/18th century with eight sandstone figures representing the four seasons and the four elements.
If you look into the valley having passed through the gardens, you will see a bright blue tower, known as the Topplerschlösschen, the House of Mayor Toppler. Built in 1388, it was built by the powerful Mayor Toppler for his own pleasure. Previously surrounded by water, the castle is where he met with dignitaries such as King Wenzel. There is also a memorial to Toppler in the Castle Gardens. Since September 2010, the park is also adorned with a column in memory of the royal house of the Hohenstaufen dynasty.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.