Altenburg Castle near Bamberg, seen from the beer garden of Bamberg’s Greifenklau brewery, Franconia (Bavaria)
Some background information:
The Altenburg is a medieval castle situated on a range of hills, which already belongs to the Steigerwald forest. It’s located nearby the city of Bamberg still within its town limits in the Bavarian district of Upper Franconia. The hill, where the Altenburg sits, is the tallest of the seven hills of Bamberg, on which the city was built.
The Altenburg was first mentioned in a document in 1109, although it’s likely that it was built on the spot of an earlier palisade castle. In this year bishop Otto of Bamberg, who was canonised in 1189, transferred the castle to the collegiate chapter of St Jakob.
In 1525, in the course of the German Peasants’ War, the castle was besieged, but couldn’t be taken. There were also no heavy demolitions recorded at that time. In 1553, in the course of the Second Margrave War, the Altenburg wasn’t taken again, but handed over to Albrecht Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, whose troops vandalised it.
In 1801 the bishopric Bamberg sold the castle to the medic Adalbert Friedrich Marcus, who furnished the gatehouse and lived there. The famous German poet E. T. A. Hoffmann, who was hand in glove with Marcus, felt so gravitated towards the castle, that he occasionally inhabited one of its turrets.
After Marcus’ death in 1816 the Altenburg belonged to his bankrupt’s assets. But already two years later the aristocrat Anton von Grafenstein founded a society for the maintenance of the Altenburg. This so-called “Altenburgverein e.V. Bamberg”, which received the castle, was Bavaria’s first-ever monument protection society. It’s still in existence and cares for the castle’s preservation.
Today the Altenburg is open for public tours. There’s a restaurant in the castle, which also manages the knight’s hall, mostly used for festive occasions such as weddings or other celebrations.