A jewel of Franconian fortification architecture is the mighty fortress Roseberg in Kronach. It is one of the biggest, completely preserved, medieval fortifications in Europe and sits high above the wonderful Kronach old city.
The Bamberg prince-bishops developed the once medieval castle to one of their land fortifications and splendid residence. Finally, the development to a modern fortification complex followed, which is preserved until today.
Discover divers, cultural highlights and the interesting tourist offers of fortress Rosenberg – one of the most beautiful and mightiest fortifications in Germany – with its Franconian Gallery and many more…
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Early Baroque fortified gate
Who wants to conquer fortress Rosenberg first stands in front of the impressive Early Baroque gate which belongs to the most beautiful fortified gates in Germany with its opulent decorative elements. It was designed by Antonio Petrini, a Franconian architect with Italian roots, who also codeveloped the citadel Petersberg in Erfurt (Peter gate) and the citadel Mainz.
Embedded in two mighty bastions St. Kunigunde and St. Heinrich, it was very defensive. Part of the defensive facilities are the drawbridge, two mighty wooden gates, one of it iron-bound to protect from fire, a portcullis, bretêche and loopholes. Direct gunshots could be avoided by the intelligent facilities of this gate entrance with a kink.
The outer design of this versatile Kernburg was changed by Baroque architect Baltasar Neumann between 1730 and 1733.
The castle keep originates from the 13th century, the remaining buildings from the 14th and 15th century. The only entrance to the castle core was the spital gate of the prince building, the east wing of the facility.
Today it offers a youth hostel with the fortress hostel Kronach, which offers its guests accommodation, meat and drink in historic walls and an interesting sport and leisure offer.
The south wing of the Kernburg accommodated originally the castle chapel, but was redesigned in the 18th century to Baroque barracks. Today the representative rooms of the
Franconian Gallery invite to enjoy the works of Lucas Cranach, Hans von Kulmbach and Tilmann Riemenschneider.
As branch museum of the Bavarian National Museum the Franconian Gallery informs interactively and very interestingly about the fortification history of Franconia, the architects of the late Gothic period and early Renaissance.
The five bastions St.Kunigunde (I), St.Valentin (II), St.Lothar (III), St.Philipp (IV) und St.Heinrich (V) build the mighty outer ring of the fortification system from the mid-17th century. Every bastion is equipped with an bowfront formed guardhouse. The south bastions are named by the Franconian emperor Heinrich II. and his wife, the three northers bastions by the prince-bishops involved in the development. The bastion St. Heinrich serves as stage for the
Rosenberg festivals in summer.
The building complex of the middle fortification ring consists of the armoury gate building, old and new armoury, the victual house, the gunpowder room and the defensive walls with a total of seven towers and originates mainly from the late 15th century. At the beginning of the 18th Century an additional artillery barrack was developed. The big wall bridge connects the middle with the outer bastion fortification ring.
Outwork of fortress Rosenberg
The outworks of fortress Rosenberg are aligned to the north-east and consist of a unnamed military training area, the ravelin Anton, the Contregarde Carl and the military training are Philipp.
Today, the area of the case mate outworks are a regular scenery for events and the history spectacle
„Crana Historica - Festival of History“.
Imagefilm der Stadt Kronach
Tour Offers and Information
From the fortress gate, discover the moats and underground passages, climb the bastions and enjoy the unique view over Kronach.
Slip through the underground passages of the Rosenberg fortress and discover the original function of the casemates and their subsequent use.
Active Fortress! - Nordic Walking meets history
Discover the „fortress, Swedish and Cranach round” on a sporty tour. Coloured markers on the way keep you on track.
Monument and History
Already during the Bronze Age, the three-river-city Kronach in the Franconian forest was situated at important trade routes, i.e. the wood export from the Franconian forest to Amsterdam. Under the reign of the Bamberg prince-bishops a castle high on top of the Rosenberg was built to protect the city and as a residence. It was developed to a mighty land fortification from the 15th century and was never conquered by enemies.
Also the Swedish were defended multiple times during the Thirty Years’ War. Every year on “Swedish Sunday” a procession on fortress Rosenberg remembers the “brave girls of Kronach”, who were a big part of the victory according the records. Quote of a besieger as per legend: “The Kronachs fight like the devil, but their women are nine times worse!”
The time of the Reformation let the fortress Rosenberg become the bulwark of Catholicism against the Protestant neighbour. Under the Holy Cross the enemies armed themselves and used their fortresses for protection and to guard their possessions and sphere of influence.
Kronach and fortress Rosenberg are also connected to big historic personalities like the most famous son of the city, the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder. He defined the art of the Renaissance and the region. This can be impressively seen in the Franconian Gallery in the commander building of fortress Rosenberg.
Napoleon Bonaparte stopped in Kroach. He gave the attack command here against Prussia in 1806. During the World War I captain Charles de Gaulle interned on the fortress. He fled two times via the high fortress walls.
The fortress Rosenberg gained an outstanding meaning in the German fortification architecture by medieval elements, the royal splendour and the defence architecture of the Renaissance the Baroque which are presented side by side.
The stone bastions impress by their defiant stoop square works and its huge height. The castle keeps and the inner fortress with seven defence towers separate a huge moat from the “Outer Bering” with its 5 bastions. Another moat runs around the fortification. Outworks are connected to the northern bastions.
The todays look of the fortifications is a pentagon in a modern bastion system, finished in 1699 under prince-bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn. The Kronach architect and fortification master architect
Johann Maximilian von Welsch contributed as much as his colleague Balthasar Neumann.
A big fortification park with the Kronach fortress forest indluding nature track, different hiking tracks and nordic walking tracks make the fortress Rosenberg to a special nature experience. A carriage ride in the Southern Franconian forest, a hike to the summer toboggan run or a raft on the wild or “tame” Rodach offer an interesting experience offer for adults and kids.