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Want to know more about Germany?
Dip into our inspiring eBrochure and get your first impressions about the sheer diversity of Germany as a travel destination. The eBrochure is available in 29 different languages for Windows PC, Macintosh Computers and Linux PC.

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In the beginning was the castle

The Middle Ages, the time of knights and chivalry, was the heyday of castle building: thousands of fortresses were constructed all over Germany, with the turreted walls and towers that make them seem so romantic to us today. These bastions of Gothic and Romanesque architecture are treasure troves of sagas, legends and fairytales but also reminders of the grim power battles in which their owners once engaged.
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Burghausen Castle

The longest castle in Europe (1,043 metres) and one of Germany's largest, it perches high above the small baroque town of Burghausen in Upper Bavaria on the Austrian border, just like in a fairytale. Its many towers have seen more than a thousand years of history. This monument to late-medieval fortress architecture is laid out like a vast picture spread. The castle's present appearance with its fortified towers, walls which are five metres thick in places, outer wards, keep, ditches, banqueting halls and drawbridges dates from the 13th to 15th centuries. It also has dark chapters in its history, as evidenced by the witches' tower and torture tower (now a museum), the "Spinnhäusl" for female prisoners and the Prechtl Tower, in which the executioner lived in the 18th century.
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Kaiserburg Castle, Nuremberg

The city's famous landmark, the Franconian Kaiserburg Castle sits in splendour above Nuremberg with its wealth of art treasures and museums. It is one of the most significant imperial palaces of the Middle Ages. Extensively developed by Friedrich Barbarossa and his descendants in the 11th century, it was home to all the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire between 1050 and 1571. The imperial chapel that they built was used as a model for a number of subsequent buildings. The Kaiserburg Museum documents the fascinating history of military defences and weapons.
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Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is one of the largest hilltop fortresses in Europe. With its gigantic walls that stretch for almost 2km and are up to 42 metres high in places, no enemy dared to attack its defences, which were continually being reinforced. Perched on a 9.5-hectare rock plateau overlooking the River Elbe, it is well protected by the bizarre formations of the rugged Elbe Sandstone Massif. Due to the impregnability of Königstein, the Saxon rulers sought refuge there in turbulent times and kept their works of art and state treasures here, high above the River Elbe in the heart of the picturesque scenery of Saxon Switzerland.
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Coburg Fortress

One of Germany's best-preserved castles, known as the "Franconian Crown", Coburg Fortress towers high above the border between Upper Franconia and Thuringia. A frequent visitor to the castle in the 16th century was Lucas Cranach the Elder who came here to gather ideas and produce sketches. His works in the Museum of Prints and Drawings, along with those of the great Albrecht Dürer, are not to be missed.
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Hornberg Castle

Probably the most famous German insult comes from Goethe's play, "Götz von Berlichingen". The historical model for this rambunctious knight lived at Hornberg Castle in North Baden in the 16th century where – unlike his literary counterpart – he died at 82, a rare age for those times.
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  1. Burghausen Castle
  2. Kaiserburg Castle, Nuremberg
  3. Königstein Fortress
  4. Coburg Fortress
  5. Hornberg Castle