Coburg Fortress

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Coburg Fortress
Coburg Fortress

[ source: Wikipedia]

Located in the upper reaches of Bavaria, Coburg (Coburg vacation rentals | Coburg travel guide) Fortress, or Veste Coburg, is one of the largest and best preserved medieval fortresses in Germany. The fortress is situated on a hill above the city of Coburg. Work on Veste Coburg began in 1225 on the site of an 11th century chapel. The oldest section of the fortress, the so-called Blue Tower, dates from 1230. A fire ravaged the castle in a later century, and the majority of the Coburg Fortress is from 1499. The fortress was complete in time for a very famous visit to take place 30 years later. In 1530, Martin Luther stayed in the fortress for six months during the Diet of Augsburg (Augsburg vacation rentals | Augsburg travel guide). Here he fell under the protection of Elector John the Steadfast. Because of the threat to his life, Philip Melanchthon attended the Diet in his stead, where he was instrumental in drafting the Augsburg Confession.

Coburg Fortress was enlarged in the 17th century and substantially renovated in the 19th and 20th centuries. Unlike was the case with many other restorations during this period, the restoration at Coburg did not result in a romanticized structure, but stayed true to the medieval form of the original fortress.

Today, there is much for the contemporary visitor to see at Coburg Fortress. First of all, those interested in Luther history can view the Luther Chapel, built in the 1800s on the site of an older church. One can also visit the apartment where Luther lived and worked during his time at Coburg. Here he continued to work on his German translation of the Bible. In his apartment, Luther had three verses from the Book of Psalms painted on the wall for personal encouragement.

Coburg Fortress is home to three separate museums. First, there is the Ducal Palace, including the Luther apartment and the 1632 Hunting Room, noted for its intricate marquetry decoration. Second, the Armory contains the largest collection (10,500 artifacts) of medieval weaponry and armory in Germany. Lastly, the Art Collection offers a vast array of artworks, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Cranach, and Durer. The collection includes 300,000 engravings, 20,000 coins, 7,000 historic documents, and 3,500 pieces of glassware. Coburg Fortress is also notable for displaying some of the oldest preserved carriages in the world. Also of interest is the largest completely preserved cast iron stove that can be seen in the Hofstube.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Veste Coburg 1, 96450 Coburg, Germany

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