European Culture Route Fortified Monuments - FORTE CULTURA®

Federal Fortress Ulm Germany

One of the biggest fortification of Europe on both sides of the Danube

Diverse experiences in the Danube metropole Ulm / Neu-Ulm

The federal fortification Ulm was built in the 19th century by the German Federation as a large fortification system and was extended to an imperial fortress until the 20th century. Until today it is one of the biggest fortification monuments of Europe and was one of the 5 fortresses the German Federation established to secure its then border against France.

For tourists the twin city Ulm / Neu-Ulm offers many highlights at the Danube. Besides the Ulm Münster with the highest church tower in the world, the fisher neighbourhood, the monastery Wiblingen or the art hall Weishaupt, the federal fortification with more than 30 works and the Wilhelmsburg is worth a visit.

The interesting and rich experiences range from museums to exhibitions, theatres and festival to sports and nature experiences on the Danube, along the Danube Cycleway or into the glacis park of the fortress.

Discover the unique flair of the fortified Danube metropole Ulm / Neu-Ulm, the birthing place of Albert Einstein and the home of siblings Scholl, with FORTE CULTURA.

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Experience World

Wilhelmsburg (Work XII) and Wilhelmsfeste (Work XII-XVII)


Together with Wilhemsfeste the Wilhems castle builds the citadel of the fortress Ulm. Majestically it thrones on the Wilhems hill and shines with a glory since its restoration in 2016.

It was once the strongest work of main walls with measurements of 200 x 130 meters. An up to 7000 men crew could be stationed here.

Today, events and shows of the theatre Ulm take place in summer on the 1.3-hectare inner courtyard. The covered tribunes accommodate up to 1.500 spectators.

Interesting tours through Wilhelmsburg are guided on a regular basis by the Förderkreis Bundesfestung Ulm e.V.

Fort Upper Kuhberg (Work XXXII)


South-West of Ulm, the fort Upper Kuhberg is located – an outer fort of the federal fortification, which was built from 1848 to 1857 and several times modernised until 1939.

It was used as a war prison in the German-French war from 1870/71 and later from 1933 as a NS concentration camp. The documentation centre Upper Kuhberg – Concentration Camp Memorial informs visitors about the story and events of this time.

Worth a visit is the fortress museum. In the casemates, underground ways and outer areas of the Fort Upper Kuhberg, many exhibits and models inform about the development and function of the federal fortification Ulm.

Upper Danube Bastion (Work I)


The Upper Danube Bastion was built close to the Danube on the South-Western border of Ulm in 1843-55 and was designed for a crew of up to 2.253 men.

Today the remaining areas offer diverse experience and leisure programs for the young and old. That includes the Danube Swabian central museum, the Turkish Theatre Uluem, the Popbastio, the Wine Bastion, a skater hall, the Obscura cinema, the club Schilli or the Roxy, which is located in the former factory building of the Magirus AG, which became famous with the production of fire service equipment and trucks.

Lower Gaisenberg Bastion (Work XXI)


The Lower Gaisenberg Bastion is located in the Eastern main walls and was built from 1843.

Night owls and party people can find the student café of the University Ulm and the bar and meeting place Charivari with excellent live music in an historic atmosphere.

Caponniere of Courtine Work XX


The Courtine connected the Lower and Upper Gaisenberg Bastion, but was mainly deconstructed as part of the city enlargement.

The second-storey caponniere with 16 cannon loopholes has remained. Today only beats shoot from this fortification building. The CAT club and the Jazz cellar Sauschdall offer diverse programs not only for students of the University of Ulm.

Fort Lower Kuhberg (Work XXIX)


The fort Lower Kuhberg is the second largest work of the fortress Ulm. The reduit today accommodates numerous clubs and initiatives. Even the Waldorf School Ulm has moved into one of the barracks of the fort.

Guided tours through the fort and its underground preserved facilities are offered by the Förderkreis Bundesfestung Ulm e.V. and via the Ulm / Neu-Ulm Touristik GmbH.

Fort Lower Eselsberg


The fort Lower Eselsberg today reflects the spirit of rock music. The spectacular fortification location became a refuge for live rock concerts and events with music of the legendary 70s and 80s. Famous stars, newcomers and regional bands pride themselves here.

Kienlesberg Bastion and the Western mountain front


The Kienlesberg Bastion, built from 1843 to 1852, with its distinctive double caponniere and the from there leading feeder line to the Wilhelmsburg, is mostly preserved.

Along the “Dr. Otmar-Schäuffelen-Walk” you can discover this impressive facility by foot or bike. The rampart offers fantastic view on the Ulm Münster, the city and over to the Kuhberg.

Upper and Lower Danube Tower (Work XXVIII and Work XXV


Both gun turrets at the Danube riverside controlled the water way. Besides their cannons, iron chains stretched across the Danube were to protect the fortress from intruders.

Today it is in juvenile hands. The Lower Danube Tower accommodated the Youth and Culture Platform Danube Tower e.V. and is a well-liked party location. The Upper Danube Tower, also known as “White Tower” is the home of the Boyscouts “Weiße Rotte”.

Fort Friedrichsau (Work XLI


Embedded into the „Green Lung of Ulm“, the Friedrichsau is located next to a zoo with aquarium, play and sports areas, beer gardens, small lakes and the Danube stadium and is part of the Federal Fortification. The fort Friedrichsau accommodates today the museum Friedrichsaus and offers a meeting point for youth work of the Förerkreises Bundesfestung Ulm. The fort is publicly available.

Fort Albeck (Work XXXIX)


The Fort Albeck on the Safranberg, once the largest outer fort of the Federal Fortress Ulm is now home to the Danube Swabian dance and costume group.

Also the association "Übermorgenwelt Ulm e.V." has found its home in Fort Albeck. Fantastic worlds in film, art, music, music, literature and games conquer members and those interested in science fiction, fantasy & horror, also in cooperation with the Landesjugendring Ulm e.V.

Caponniere 4, New Ulm


From May to September, Caponniere 4 is all about art and culture in Neu-Ulm. The historic defensive system adjoining the Glacis is a work of the Federal Fortress Ulm and was attractively refurbished during the State Garden Show in 2008.

Their varied program of concerts, readings, exhibitions and the popular jazz matinees has made the Caponniere 4 a popular meeting place in the centre of Neu-Ulm.
The cultural events in and around the monument Capponniere 4 are offered free of charge.

Glacis-City Park New-Ulm with Front walls, Caponniere 6


The glacis facilities in the western part of the former federal fortress were transformed into an attractive city park on the occasion of the Landesgartenschau 1980. The legendary big-band concerts, classical and rock or jazz events will find their enthusiastic audience at the event stage. But also relaxation, enjoyment and play are in the well-kept park, with great playgrounds or the beer garden not too short.

Tour Offers and Information

Flyer Ulm High Walk

From the Eselsberg, over the Michelsberg and the Safranberg to Böfingen leads the new Ulmer Höhenweg. For more than 20 km, hikers can enjoy fantastic views of the city and its federal fortifications. Experience the varied cultural landscape of the valleys of the blue and the Danube.

Fortress Walk (round walk)

Starting from the Wilhelmsburg, the 12.5 km long fortress leads along the main wall of the Federal Fortress.
32 information boards provide hikers with information on the buildings, the town-historical references as well as interesting facts about the Ulm Glacis Park and the New-Ulm glacis facilities.

Further Tourism Ways


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Monument and History


As free imperial city Ulm was directly under the Emperor and was not bound to a regional ruler. The traders of Ulm had these circumstances due to their immense wealth. To secure these privileges Ulm modernised the city walls designed for fire weapons from 1527. In the 17th century another expansion of the city fortifications followed.

Napoleons politics changed Europe fundamentally. Ulm was attributed to the Grand Duchy of Bavaria and lost its independency. In 1805 the traumatic events of the French-Austrian War reached Ulm. Napoleon won in the Battle of Elchingen and forced the Austrian troops in Ulm to surrender. That freed the way for the advance of the French into Vienna’s direction.

Due to the area exchange Ulm was attributed to the kingdom Württemberg in 1811. In 1815 the German Bund was founded, and the Kingdom Württemberg became one of its members. In order to encounter further attacks from France, the building of the five federal fortifications was concluded. Besides Landau, Luxembourg, Mainz and Rastatt, also Ulm was selected, also to secure Austria’s interests.

Kind Wilhem I. of Württemberg made Major Moritz von Prittwit and Gaffron his fortification architect. Architect of the Bavarian side became Major von Hildebrandt. From 1842 to 1859 the fortification of the German Federation was finished.

Physicist and Nobel price holder Albert Einstein was born in Ulm in 1879.

Ulm is also the home of the siblings Scholl, who organised the student resistance “Whie Rose” against the National Socialism in Munich. The Ulm “Memorial White Rose” remembers this today.

Quelle: by CharlesThévenin


From 1527 the medieval Ulm city fortification was modernised according to Dürer’s fortification doctrine. The remainings of this fortification can be seen on the Ulm Danube riverside in the bastion Lauseck. In the 17th century the fortification of the city in the bastion system after Italian model followed.

In 1842 the building of the federal fortification Ulm started. This built a polygonal main wall as a belt around the city and another belt from 16 independent outer forts to control the mountain range in the surrounding area. Two third on the Württemberg side and a third on the Bavarian side of the Donau, today’s Neu-Ulm. The federal fortification Ulm was defining the new Prussian or new German fortification style and consisted at the end in 1859 of 53 fortification works. The estimated building costs came to 16.5 million gulden and were borne mostly by French reparation payments. As a central fortress of first class and “large weapon place” Ulm could accommodate up to 100.000 soldiers.

After dissolving the German Federation and founding the German Reich, Ulm was extended to Reichs fortification from 1871 to 1916, before the defortification of the city started in 1918. As the Treaty of Versaille from 1918 was not valid for Ulm, the fortress did not need to be destroyed completely. Therefore Ulm still owns today one of the biggest fortification facilities of Europe. Numerous buildings in the whole city area, including almost all forts and the almost whole city walls of the cities Ulm and Neu-Ulm are well-preserved.

Quelle: © Petra Starzmann
Quelle: Förderkreis Bundesfestung Ulm
Quelle: Freundeskreis Bundesfestung Ulm

Nature Experience

The federal fortification Ulm offers in many parts within and outside the walls a rich nature experience. The „Glacis city park Neu-Ulm“ with a water playground and the comfortable “barefoot beerarden” is located in the scenery of the Caponniere 6.

The fort Friedrichaus offers the “local recreational park Friedrichsaus”, the “museum park Friedrichsau” in the Work XLI and a nature theatre “Theater in der Au”.

The “Ulm Fortress Walk” connects preserved buildings of the fortification ring and informs on 32 boards about their development, function and postmilitary use. On the hiking trail you can discover the federal fortification Ulm on twelve kilometres along the main walls. Combined with the “Ulm High Walk” you can also discover the geologically interesting and diverse culture landscape between the Swabian Alb, the valleys of the Blau and the Danube.

Whether you walk on the historic city walls, cycle along the Danube Cycle Way or board a Danube boat or a Ulm Schachtel, water friends find many ways to discover the nature along the Danube.

A great spectacle is the yearly Nabade (Swabian for “bathing down”) a water parade on Oath Monday, the last but one July Monday of each year.

Quelle: 189486 Pixabay
Quelle: Ulm/ Neu-Ulm Tourismus
Quelle: Ulm/ Neu-UIlm Tourismus