The Coburg fortress, which is also called the "Franconian Crown" because of its beauty and dominating location, rises high above the city with its mighty walls and towers. Covering approximately 135 x 260 meters, it is one of the largest and among the best preserved castle complexes in Germany.
Extraordinary collections of armor and weapons of war, partly originating from the former armory of the fortress, hunting weapons and hunting equipment, precious handicrafts, the oldest preserved carriages in the world, the great Hofstube with the largest completely preserved cast iron stove, pictures from Dürer, Cranach the Elder and Grünewald make a visit to Coburg Fortress into a one-of-a-kind experience.
Among the historic rooms, the Luther room is of particular interest, which is where the reformer lived for half a year in 1530 under the protection the Saxon electors. The grand Jagdintarsienzimmer (Marquetry Hunting Room), a completely wood-paneled room finished in 1632, as well as the large Hofstube and the festival hall completed in 1504 must also be seen as well as the world famous cabinet of copper engravings with 330,000 items, one of the largest in Germany.
An audio guide in German and English is available for children in the form of a "ghostly tour".
The Bärenbastei is a bastion that was made from several older outer fortifications. In 1614, the fortress master builder from Ulm, Gideon Bacher, built it by order of Duke Johann Casimir. The name of the bastion came from the bears that were kept there in a bear pit. The walls of the Bärenbastei are a mighty 11 meters high. Besides the Bärenbastei, there are also three other bastions called the "Bunter Löwe", the "Rautenkranz", and the "Hohe Bastei".
The Blue Tower is the oldest, visible preserved structure of the fortress. During the course of the centuries until today, there has been much new construction and reconstruction. Therefore an exact reconstruction of the High Middle Ages is difficult. Access to the castle complex at that time was most likely from the west via a gate in the Blue Tower.
The Red Tower, named after its tiled roof, collapsed in the year 1663. In the years from 1906 to 1924, the last reigning duke, Carl Eduard von Saxony-Coburg and Gotha (1884-1954), hired architect Bado Ebhardt to once again restore the castle complex. In 1914, the Red Tower was re-erected on its old base.
In the 16th century, the Duchess Building was originally erected as a sheep and grain house. The Coburg art collections have been located here since October 1959. Besides the armory and the historic hunting weapons collection, you can also admire the oldest working carriage in Europe, 13 carousels from the 16th to 18th century as well as an extensive collection of ceramic from antiquity to the present.
Hohes Haus (Tall Building)
The building dates back to the 14th or 15th century. It was originally used as an arsenal. The weapons and military equipment were stored and repaired there. In the years from 1782 to 1860, the Hohes Haus was used as a jail.
The Carl-Eduard Building was newly constructed around 1924 instead of the red bower (from the 16th century). The old two-storey basement complex that is 40 metres long is still preserved. The famous collection of early Venetian glass and newer handicrafts from the 16th to 19th centuries are presented to you today in the Carl-Eduard Building.
Solid Outside Wall
The solid outside wall of the Coburg Fortress has thwarted numerous sieges. The first besiegers were Apel Fuchs, Anton von Bibra and the Schaumburgers in the year 1387. Since then the fortification systems were modified and reinforced many times. At the most massive place, the curtain wall is 6.5 meters thick and the wall is up to 12 meters high.
The Luther Room, the Marquetry Hunting Room, and the large Hofstube are located in the Stone Bower. In the building itself, you will find an important exhibition of art and handicrafts from the Medieval and Early Renaissance period as well as a painting collection by the old German masters of the Dürer time. This includes more than 20 paintings from Lucas Cranach the Elder and in particular 42 works of old German artists (Dürer, Grünewald, Holbein, Burgkmair, and others) on loan from the Georg Schäfer collection in Schweinfurt.
The Bulgarian Tower (gate tower) was named after Ferdinand from Saxony-Coburg-Kohary. He arrived in Bulgaria in 1887 as the proclaimed prince regent and was crowned Tsar in the year 1908. After his defeat in the First World War, he had to abdicate in 1918. Thereafter he moved to Coburg. In the years from 1906 to 1924, Coburg Fortress was restored and remodeled by the master builder Bodo Ebhardt. During the course of the renovations, today’s Bulgarian Tower was covered. The funds needed for this were donated by Tsar Ferdinand.
Baroque Front Tower
The Baroque Front Tower was erected in the year 1671 by master builder C. W. Gundermann from Altenburg/Thuringia.
The oriels of the Dukes Building rest on the medieval great hall. Hence, the building is one of the key structures of the former castle complex. In the middle of the 19th century, the building was given a half-timbered facade and was renovated in the Franconian half-timbered style by Bodo Ebhardt in the time from 1906 to 1920. The Bavarian Castle Administration had the Dukes Building thoroughly renovated and restored from 2003 to 2007. Besides the historical rooms, you can also view the numerous exhibits of the art collections of Coburg Fortress here.
The walls of the chapel date back to different centuries. The impressive height of the small chapel is due to the fact that it lies on the site of the Romanesque double chapel with two rooms on top of each other. The chapel was named the Luther Chapel in memory of Martin Luther’s sojourn here in 1530. A stone relief with the head of the church reformer is a reminder of his stay.
The foundation of the Hohe Bastei (high bastion) is formed by a Roman defense tower, which was most likely erected in the year 1230. This part was expanded into the bastion in 1533. In the years 1553 and 1570, this part of the fortress was reinforced once again.