Towering high above the old town of Kronach on Rosenberg hill is Rosenberg Fortress, the former palace of the Prince Bishops of Bamberg and later a regional stronghold. It was officially mentioned first time in 1249.
The early building on the Rosenberg became the castle of the prince-bishop and was, thus, immured and enlarged in the years that followed. Another section of walls, along with the Arsenal Gate in the South, the Old Arsenal and the former construction of the present-day Commander's Building, were developed under the reign of the prince-bishop Philipp von Henneberg (1475-1487).
After the experiences of the Margrave War in 1553, the prince-bishop Veit II von Würtzburg ordered his master builder Daniel Engelhardt to complete the ward as a four-winged fortification. Soon extensions and new constructions of the Old and New Arsenal followed. In the 1570s bastions were developed.
The worst time for the town and the fortress happened to be the Thirty-Year War, when the Swedish tried to capture Kronach several times from 1632 to 1634. Due to the steadfastness of the inhabitants and to the defence readiness of the fortress, whose outer ring still consisted of soil and wood bastions at that time, the plan had failed. The Swedish left Kronach.
After the Thirty-Year War the fortress Rosenberg was armed with lithic bastions in their contemporary shape. In 1699, under the reign of prince-bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn (1693-1729), the fortification was finished.
In 1867, Rosenberg lost its fort property and in 1888 the town of Kronach acquired it for 32,000 Deutsche Mark, and still own it today.
During the First World War, the fortress served as a prison camp for officers. One of the inmates was the later French president Charles de Gaulle. After World War II, several refugees found shelter in the fortress. Some years later, flats were set up in the Old Arsenal and The Commander's Building. Some of them still existed in the 1970s.
Today, the fortress is one of the largest remaining fortifications in Germany, covering 23.6 hectares. The complex of walls, moats, buildings and gates that emerged over the centuries is still completely surrounded by the fortress pentagon with its five mighty bastions.
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.