Hambach Castle considered to be the symbol of the German democracy movement because of the Hambacher Fest which occurred here in 1832.
Archaeological finds prove that the area of Hambach Castle was used in late Roman times. In late Carolingian Dynasty times and Ottonian dynasty times a castle of refuge was built there. Portions remain in front of and under the outer ring wall. There is little known about its early history. The only thing certain is that between 1090 and 1104 bishop Johann I of Speyer signed over the estate together with Castle Meistersel to the Bishopric of Speyer, which stayed the owner to the end of the 18th century.
Especially during the 13th century, larger building projects took place. Bishop Nikolaus I was consecrated as Bishop of Speyer in the castle chapel on July 12, 1388. More construction was done at the end of the 14th century and in the second half of the 15th century by the bishops Nikolaus I and Matthias I. The castle was the home for the Episcopalian document archive at the end of the 14th century.
Later the importance of the castle declined, one reason being the erection of the new estate Hanhofen after 1414/20. During the German Peasants' War in 1525 the castle was occupied and looted. In 1552 it was conquered and burned down by troops of Margrave and mercenary-leader Albrecht Alkibiades of Brandenburg. Bishop Marquard of Speyer, who was in office from 1560–81, only arranged a very provisional rebuilding of the residential buildings and made the ruin the seat of a forester.
The former fortress wasn't damaged during the Thirty Years' War, but during War of the Palatinian Succession in September 1688, French soldiers destroyed the erstwhile abandoned castle. It was once more provisionally restored from 1701 to 1703.
In 1797 the castle was declared to be French government property. In 1816 after the Congress of Vienna the ruin became the property of the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1844 Bavaria began to rebuild the castle in neo-gothic style.
In the context of the Hambacher Fest of 1832 the then ruined castle was the focal point of the discontent of the Palatinate people over the repressive measures of the Bavarian administration which had been in office since 1816. The administration had retracted important rights which had been given to the people by French Revolution troops (governing 1797/98-1815). Since the Hambacher Fest, Hambach Castle has been considered a symbol of democracy.
Before the 150th anniversary of the Hambacher Fest in 1982 the castle was completely restored. Today Hambach is a museum and convention centre with about 200,000 visitors per year.References:
The two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m in length and 109 m wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored). The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.
This new residential role continued until the late 18th century, and in 1825 through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, the change to national historical monument began. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena - a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with other Roman buildings of the city, as part of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments group.