Destination List > Nuremberg Castle

Nuremberg Castle

Photo by Roger W

The history...

Nuremberg Castle is a group of medieval fortified buildings on a sandstone ridge dominating the historical center of Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany.

The castle, together with the city walls, is considered to be one of Europe's most formidable medieval fortifications. It represented the power and importance of the Holy Roman Empire and the outstanding role of the Imperial City of Nuremberg.

In the Middle Ages, German kings (respectively Holy Roman Emperors after their coronation by the Pope) did not have a capital, but voyaged from one of their castles (Kaiserpfalz or Imperial castle) to the next. Thus, the castle at Nürnberg became an important imperial castle, and in the following centuries, all German kings and emperors stayed at the castle, most of whom on several occasions.

Nuremberg Castle comprises three sections: the Imperial castle (Kaiserburg), the former Burgraves' castle (Burggrafenburg), and the buildings erected by the Imperial City at the eastern site (Reichsstädtische Bauten).

The first fortified buildings appear to have been erected around 1000. Thereafter, three major construction periods may be distinguished:

  • the castle built under the Salian kings respectively Holy Roman Emperors (1027–1125);
  • a new castle built under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254);
  • reconstruction of the Palas as well as various modifications and additions in the late medieval centuries.

The castle lost its importance after the Thirty Years' War (1618 to 1648). In the 19th century with its general interest in the medieval period, some modifications were added. During the Nazi period, in preparation of the Nuremberg party rally in 1936, it was "returned to its original state." A few years later, during World War II and its air raids in 1944/1945, a large part of the castle was laid in ruins. It took some thirty years to complete the rebuilding and restoration to its present state.


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