Castles & Fortresses
First mentioned in 1241, Königstein Fortress is an important monument of European fortress architecture. It is enthroned on a sandstone mesa. Three drawbridges take you to the rock massif at an altitude of 245 metres above the river Elbe. The rock walls are up to 40 metres high. The fortress has a varied history: first used as a border fort and later extended to a fortress, it was once a state prison (most famous prisoner was Johann Friedrich Böttger [inventor of European china] in 1706/07) and served as a refuge for Saxony's Kurfürsts (princes) and Kings. Members of the nobility kept art treasures Koenigstein fortress which later became a public treasury. Ultimately, the fortress was used for royal outings. Attractions include Late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings, a 152.5-metre-deep well and elaborate bronze barrels. The walk around the 2.2 kilometre fortress wall affords a marvelous view of a large part of Saxon Switzerland.
Baroque Garden Großsedlitz
The Baroque Garden was laid out by Count Wackerbarth in 1719. Fourteen years later August the Strong had the architects Knöffel, Langelune and Pöppelmann to design the landscape as a symmetric park. Attractions include the little Friedrich Castle, Orangeries, fountains, cascades, basins, sandstone sculptures, ornate hedges and lawns.
Baroque Castle Rammenau
The castle nestles in the beautiful countryside of Lusatia. It was built by the polish Chamberlain Ernst Ferdinand von Knoch between 1720 and 1737 and is one of the most stunning rural castle complexes in Saxony. It comprises the castle, park and outer buildings. The richly decorated suites and lush sleeping quarters give a good impression of life in the 18th Century. Today, the castle is home to the pursuit of art and culture. The playing of chamber music in the "Room of Mirrors" is a well-established tradition.
Built in the 12th century, Fort Stolpen rises on a 35-metre-high basalt hilltop between the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and Lausitz. Meißen's Bishops owned it for more than 300 years before it became the property of the prince consort (Kurfürst). The buildings are made of native basalt. Later, sandstone was also used. In the days of royalty the fort was mainly used as a prison. Countess Cosel, the most famous mistress of Kurfürst August the Strong, was detained at Fort Stolpen between 1716 and 1765. In 1813 Napoleon's troops destroyed various buildings. Today, Fort Stolpen is an historic museum that boasts impressive courtyards, a weapons collection, the Royal stables, torture chambers, granaries, Cosel's Tower, "Seven Spire Tower", the fort's dungeons and an 82-metre-deep well.
Built around 1200 on a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley of the Mueglitz River, the castle initially served to protect the trade pass between Meissen and Bohemia and as an outpost against the Bohemian neighbours. Inhabited for the first time in the 15th Century, the castle was enhanced in the 16th Century by the addition of a tower, complete with Renaissance portal, to the outer structure. Don't miss the former living quarters of the nobility, with their interior design and elaborate wall paper from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Chapel and the new park, which was renovated after the catastrophic Elbe floods in 2002, are also worth taking the time to see.
Founded in 1353, Fort Hohnstein rises out of a steep rock that slopes into the Polenz valley. In the 14th century it was a residence of the feudal rulers in Hohnstein. It later became a border fort and a robber baron fort, a prince's hunting castle, an administration headquarters, a law court, a state prison, a concentration camp and a prisoner of war camp.
Today the fort is a tourist attraction and a youth hostel. The fortt with its 16th century courtyard, bear garden, torture chamber and the memorial are all worth seeing.
...is situated in the valley of Seidewitz on the outskirts of Pirna in the direction of Liebstadt. The castle was converted from a fortress into a castle by Hans II. von Carlowitz in 1553. Its transformation can be seen to this day in the architecture of the building. Although the castle was spared during the Second World War, its condition deteriorated with each passing year after 1945. Thanks to the work of a community of people dedicated to saving the castle and to public funding, the structure was preserved and has since been almost fully restored. The collection of award-winning Camelias are an annual delight, while azaleas and bonsais, among other exceptional plants, make the park a year-long attraction.
Kuckuckstein Castle rises from a rock 364 metres above sea level in Liebstadt, in the Müglitz valley. Construction started in 1450 and the former Gothic castle was altered and extended several times. The Kuckuckstein Castle was a family possession until the 20th century. In 1813 Napoleon spent one night at the castle. Attractions include the impressive Bergfried, the romantic courtyard, the hunting-room, court-room and Napoleon rooms, the freemason's lodge and paintings from the Middle Ages are all worth seeing.