Nuremberg Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Nuremberg Castle

Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg Castle is a medieval castle where Holy Roman Emperors would reside.

Lucy Davidson

12 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Nuremberg Castle

Nuremberg Castle (Nürnberger Burg) is a medieval castle – or rather a castle complex – made up of three parts.

Whilst it is unclear as to exactly when Nuremberg Castle was first constructed, by the mid-eleventh century, it was a prestigious residence. In fact, between 1050 and 1571, every Holy Roman Emperor stayed there at one point or another.

Visits are by guided tour, which last around ninety minutes.

History of Nuremberg Castle

As one of the most important imperial palaces dating from the Middle Ages, Nuremberg Castle is the symbol of the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany.

The Castle is made up of a group of medieval fortified buildings on a sandstone ring in the middle of the historical centre of Nuremberg, and together with the city walls, is considered to be one of Europe’s most formidable medieval fortifications, representing 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 (who became known as Holy Roman Emperors after their coronation by the Pope) did not have a capital, but rather moved from one castle to the next. The castle at Nuremberg therefore became an important imperial castle and centre.

The castle is made up of three sections: the Imperial Castle, the former Burgraves’ castle, and the buildings erected by the Imperial City at the eastern site.

The first buildings are thought to have been built in around 1000 AD. Different castles built afterwards can be distinguished by construction period: a castle built by the Holy Roman Emperors (1027-1125) over the remains of previous buildings from the time of the Salians, a new castle built under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138-1254), and a reconstruction of the Palas as well as various addictions and modifications in the late medieval centuries.

The castle lost its importance during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). In the 19th century, some modifications were added, and in 1936 during the Nazi period, in order to prepare for the Nuermberg rally, the castle was ‘returned to its original state.’ The castle lay largely in ruins after the air raids of World War II, and took around 30 years to complete the rebuilding and restoration to its present state.

Nuremberg Castle Today

Today, visitors can enjoy walking around the castle and its exhibition, with themed tours being a particular highlight.

The castle exhibition was redesigned in 2013, and now examines different elements and functions of the castle within a historical context, whilst also presenting information about the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and the role of Nuremberg in the late Middle Ages.

The Deep Well, where the castle got its source of water in times of siege, is a particularly famous feature which is likely as old as the Imperial Castle itself.

The defensive tower in the bailey of the Imperial Castle, the Sinwell Tower, was built in the 13th century and has a wonderful view of the old centre of Nuremberg from the top.

Getting to Nuremberg Castle

The castle is a 10 minute drive via Pirckheimerstraße from the centre of Nuremberg. It is also reachable in around 10 minutes by foot.

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