About Konigstein Fortress
Konigstein Fortress – sometimes nicknamed the ‘Saxon Bastille’ is a famous fortified structure near Dresden, Germany which has never been taken or even attacked.
History of Konigstein Fortress
It is unclear when Konigstein Fortress was first constructed, but mentions of a castle on the site go back to 1233.
As a castle, Konigstein was used as a stronghold and a 16th century monastery before Elector Christian I converted it into a fortress in 1589. It then served as a prison until Napoleon’s conquest of Prussia when it became a fortress of the Confederation of the Rhine.
Konigstein Fortress continued to be used for various other purposes over the centuries, being everything from a retreat for soldiers to a hiding place for the Saxon royal family. During both World War I and World War II it was used as a prisoner of war camp and to store priceless works of art during the Second World War.
Konigstein Fortress today
Today, Konigstein Fortress is a museum, showing the history of the site throughout its existence. Sprawling over 9.5 hectares and encompassing 30 buildings, allow several hours to wander round the whole place. Guided tours are offered for an added fee and audio guides are also available to rent in eight languages.
Look out for the Brunnenhaus, In Lapide Regis – a great interactive exhibition telling the rise and fall of the fortress’ fortunes over history, and the Georgenburg, which once housed Saxony’s most infamous prison. The creator of Meissen porcelain was once held here.
The castle is open year round, daily, with slightly curtailed hours over the winter months.
Getting to the Konigstein Fortress
The fortress is about 40 minutes drive south east of Dresden itself, close to the Czech border. From the town of Konigstein itself, it’s a steep uphill climb to the fortress – allow for 45 minutes and expect to arrive sweaty! Otherwise, between April and October, you can catch the tourist train (the Festungsexpress) which runs every half an hour.
The nearest car park is off the B172 (exit Festung): it’s a much shorter walk from here to the fortress. There’s a train station in Konigstein: it should take 30-45 minutes to walk from there to the fortress.