The castle in Nürnberg, Germany

Aerial view of Nürnberg shows the Kaiserburg

The photograph above shows an aerial view of Nürnberg with the Kaiserburg (Emperor's castle) on the left and the Sinwellturm (Sinwell Tower) in the center of the picture. From the Kaiserburg, there is a spectacular view of the whole city of Nürnberg with its beautiful red roof-tops.

It was the custom for the Germanic people in medieval Europe to set up a castle, around which a town would develop. Nürnberg was founded in the 11th century as the residence of Kaiser (Emperor) Heinrich III and the city that quickly followed became an important trade center. In 1332, Nürnberg was declared an imperial city, or a city state, by King Ludwig the Bavarian; it remained an imperial free city, with its local government answering only to the King, until 1806 when it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Bavaria, now the German state of Bavaria, after Napoleon's conquest.

Nürnberg was the place where the imperial Reichstag (Parliament or Congress) met until 1543. It was also the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, which began when the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church crowned the first Emperor on Christmas day in the year 800 AD. The first Holy Roman Emperor was from the German tribe called the Franks; to most of the world, he is known as Charlemagne or Charles the Great, but he has always been known as Karl der Grosse to the Germans. He was chosen as the Emperor by the Pope because he was Roman Catholic at a time when there were several other Christian sects in Europe.

The original city of Nürnberg was established inside a defensive brick wall guarded by 46 fortified towers, surrounded by a moat filled with water and then another outside wall. There were five main gates into the city, four of which are still standing, including the Königstor (Kings's Gate), which is located across from the main railroad station and is the first piece of Nürnberg history that most tourists see.

The photograph below shows a view of the Sinwell Tower that is shown in the center of the aerial view at the top of this page. To the left of the Sinwell Tower, in the center of the photo below, is a small half-timbered building which houses the Tiefer Brunnen (Deep Well).

Sinwell Tower with Deep Well inside the small building

Deep Well inside building at Kaiserburg

The Deep Well, shown in the photo above, is the last thing on the hour-long tour of the Kaiserburg. After that, a climb up the steep steps to the top of the Sinwell Tower is optional. In the picture above, you can see two candles inside the well. This is part of a demonstration in which candles are lowered into the well and then pulled up again, still burning, which shows that there is oxygen in the well, although it is very deep. The tour guide drops an object into the well to demonstrate that it is very deep because it is a long time before the splash into the water is heard.

The Kaiserburg was built in stages and there are actually three parts to the castle: the Kaiserburg (Emperor's castle), the Burggrafenburg (castle of the count) and the Stadtburg (city castle). After Kaiser Konrad III built the original Kaiserburg in the 13th century, it was greatly expanded by the next emperor, Frederick Barbarossa. The next 30 Holy Roman Emperors spent at least one night, by law, in the unheated castle.

Der Heidenturm (Heiden Tower) at the Kaiserburg

Another view of the towers at the Kaiserburg

View of the Kaiserburg in the background

Nürnberg is famous as the home of Albrecht Dürer, an artist who lived from 1471 to 1528, and was the court painter for Kaiser Maximilian I; his house has been preserved as the best example of a Renaissance house in Germany. The house where Dürer lived is located very close to the castle which is shown in the photo above; the Sinwell Tower is on the right.

Nürnberg was the cultural center of the German Renaissance and it was also the home of other artists, but Albrecht Dürer was the most famous of them all. He was noted for his portrait of Charlemagne which hangs at the Germanishes National museum and for his representation of the Four Apostles at the Nürnberg Rathaus (City hall). Besides paintings, Dürer also did copper and iron engraving and wood block printing.

Interior of Castle

Hans Sachs

Zeppelin Field

Palace of Justice

City of Nürnberg

Bomb Damage

Bombed Churches


E-Mail Us