Veste Coburg

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Veste Coburg
Aerial view from the west

Aerial view from the west

Alternative name (s): Franconian crown
Creation time : 10th century
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: Received or received substantial parts
Standing position : Dukes
Place: Coburg
Geographical location 50 ° 15 '50 "  N , 10 ° 58' 53"  E Coordinates: 50 ° 15 '50 "  N , 10 ° 58' 53"  E
Height: 464  m above sea level NHN
Veste Coburg (Bavaria)
Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg (also called Fränkische Krone ), a medieval castle complex that has been converted into a fortress , towers over the city of Coburg in the Upper Franconian border area with Thuringia . It has an area of ​​about 135 by 260 meters and is very well preserved. The fortress is around 160 meters above the city center. The Coburg Hofgarten extends on the slope of the castle hill towards the city . The sister castle Veste Heldburg , once the secondary residence and hunting lodge of the Coburg dukes, is within sight in the Thuringian border area with Bavaria .

The Veste Coburg was never conquered in its history, but it was captured during the Thirty Years War in March 1635 by General von Lamboy after five months of siege with the help of a forged letter in which Duke Johann Ernst supposedly ordered the surrender.


Old print "Coburg from the south side"
West view (2010)
North view (2013)

The Veste Coburg was first mentioned in a document in 1225 as the property of the Dukes of Meranien , the oldest parts of the castle still preserved also date from this time. Archaeological studies place the origins back in the 10th century, but neither buildings nor documents have survived. Archbishop Anno of Cologne founded the ancillary monastery Saint Peter and Paul , provost office of the monastery in Saalfeld, on the Veste-Berg in 1074 . In the 12th century ownership passed to the Counts of Dießen-Andechs , the later Dukes of Meranien, in 1248 to the Counts of Henneberg , 1291 to the Margraves of Brandenburg and in 1312 again to the Counts of Henneberg. In 1353 she came by inheritance to Friedrich III. the austerity of the Wettin house , in whose possession it remained until the end of the monarchy in 1918. She then took over the Coburg State Foundation in 1919, which has been in charge of the Veste since 1941 as a branch of the Bavarian Palace and Lake Administration .

Building history

Development of the fortress 1250–2007
Princely building around 1895
Donkey tower and high bastion
North side
Entrance with Bulgarian tower
Luther Chapel and Princely Building seen from the Bastei
Carl-Eduard-Bau and Steinerne Kemenate
Sequoia tree ( sequoiadendron giganteum ) at the entrance portal

In 1225 the word sloss for Coburg appeared for the first time in a document translation . Presumably, the complex already consisted of the main castle in the east with a keep , palas and chapel and a bailey in the west. Around 1420/30 a triple ring of fortifications was created around the entire castle; the outer wall was originally reinforced with nine roundels , six of which are still preserved. In 1489 the high house (armory) built around the middle of the century in the western forecourt was renovated after a fire. After another fire in the Fürstenbau and the Steinerne Kemenate in 1500, they were rebuilt in the following period.

From 1531 the Veste Coburg was expanded into a state fortress with the support of the state parliament. From 1533 the high bastion for cannons was built on the particularly endangered east side, which was completed in 1553. After the Schmalkaldic War , the fortifications were further strengthened and a second entrance was set up on the city side in the west. In 1614/15 Gideon Bacher from Ulm built the Rautenkranz and Bunter Löwe bastions to the side of the older southern entrance and the bear bastion in the west.

After the second siege , the occupation by the imperial family in the Thirty Years' War and the return of the fortress to Duke Johann Ernst on May 30, 1635 , the fortifications were considerably reinforced. In 1671 the magnificent portal in front of the southern main gate was completed. In 1782 a penitentiary was set up in the high house , and the outbuildings served as a hospital and insane asylum . In 1820 the status of the fortress was revoked, from 1827 to 1838 the ten to twelve meter deep moat was leveled and a promenade was created around the fortress. After the fortress was redesigned in the Romantic style in 1838, the art collections were housed there. In 1851 the Franconian half-timbered buildings in the inner courtyards were demolished and the Luther Chapel was rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style. Instead of a ridge turret from around 1680, the gate tower, today's Bulgarenturm, was built in 1857 and the stone bridge to the main gate in 1859.

Remodeling at the beginning of the 20th century

Due to damage to the structure of the fortress, an extensive renovation and redesign of the castle complex was carried out from 1909 to 1923 according to plans and under the supervision of the architect Bodo Ebhardt . Among other things, Ebhardt had the historicizing ingredients of the 19th century removed and replaced with elements from the 20th century, and the princely building, Luther chapel, guest house, Bulgarenturm, Carl Eduard building, duchess building, castle tavern and covered battery rebuilt.

The impetus for the construction work was a cash gift of around 20,000 marks to restore the Luther Chapel of the communities and the state parliament of the Duchy of Coburg for the wedding of Duke Carl Eduard and Viktoria Adelheid . Carl Eduard then initiated the renovation and renovation of large parts of the dilapidated fortress. As an important cultural and national monument, he had the fortress set up for use as a museum and as a future residence. By the end of 1907, the fortune building fund's assets had grown to 146,000 marks through donations. At the beginning of 1909 the projected total costs according to Ebhardt's plans were estimated at 1.8 million marks. Construction work officially began on April 13, 1909 with the restoration of the Princely Building.

The financing and construction cost control were in the hands of a committee for the expansion of the Veste Coburg, headed by Max Oscar Arnold , and the ducal state ministry as the builder, which together with Ebhardt was in charge of the construction. Carl Eduard was very committed. He often had the plans presented to him and frequently inspected the construction site. In July 1910, the construction cost determined by Ebhardt was 3.371 million marks. However, this was then reduced to 2.216 million following an objection by the committee. From 1911 onwards, a money lottery across the Reich ensured the financing of the preservation of the Coburg Fortress as a Reich monument. A total of seven series with a return of 2.5 million marks had been played by 1919.

With the severance payment agreement of June 7, 1919 between Carl Eduard and the Free State of Coburg , the Veste became state property as part of the estate . However, Carl Eduard had agreed to live in the prince's building, including the guest house, for himself and his children. The further financing of the construction project was initially provided by the Coburg State Foundation , to which the fortress was made available for the exhibition of the ducal art treasures, then by the Free State of Bavaria , which formed the fortress as part of the domain when it was merged with the Free State of Coburg on July 1, 1920 had taken over. At the beginning of 1924 the construction work, which employed an average of 100 people, was finished, and in October 1922 Ebhardt determined total costs of around 6.9 million marks.

The duchess building was inaugurated on May 27, 1914, the exterior of the prince building was completed in the same year. After installing the furnishings, the former duke couple could move into it like the guest house on December 6, 1920. The shell of the Luther Chapel was completed in 1910, the interior work lasted until 1923. The Carl Eduard Building, also known as the Congress Building, was built by the end of 1921 and completed in 1924. A fortress consecration to conclude the construction work took place on September 6, 1924 as part of a local festival with 50,000 participants.

Construction work from 1945

On April 10 and 11, 1945, the fortress was shelled by US troops, which caused severe damage to the Duchess building as a result of a fire, and the congress building was partially covered. The other buildings were less affected. In the 1950s, the Duchess building was restored in a simplified manner, in 1969 the conversion of the Carl Eduard Building was completed with the insertion of ceilings in the congress hall and a museum was set up in the building. From 1970 to 1972 the high house was prepared to accommodate the management, administration, library and museum workshops, and from 1981 to 1985 the stone bower was renovated and expanded. Mighty, previously unknown foundations were excavated on the ground floor. Comprehensive renovation work on the outer moats was completed in 1987.

After the ducal family's right of residence expired in 1998 with the death of Friedrich Josias , the renovation and restoration of the prince's building for the exhibition of the art collections of the state foundation as the sole user followed between 2003 and 2008 for 7.7 million euros.


The Veste Coburg has a large number of defensive weapons. Portcullis, iron gates and a ten meter high entrance portal can be seen from the outside. Inside there are walkways and pitch pits, among other things. Through these and other measures it was never possible to overcome the fortifications. The large bastions (lion bastion) and the deep moats and high bridges that have been preserved show the craftsmanship and planning that went into this fortress .

Art collections of the Veste Coburg

The art treasures of the Coburg dukes, which are among the most important art and cultural history collections in Germany, have been transferred to the Coburg State Foundation.

Paintings and sculptures

The old German painting and sculpture collection contains, among other things, works by Lucas Cranach the Elder , who frequented the Coburg Fortress at the beginning of the 16th century, by Albrecht Dürer , Matthias Grünewald and Tilman Riemenschneider .


The Kupferstichkabinett put Duke Franz of. It includes a collection of around 330,000 sheets of watercolors, hand drawings and prints from the end of the 15th century to the present day, including works by Martin Schongauer , Albrecht Dürer , Cranach and Albrecht Altdorfer . Special collections contain leaflets from the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as well as holdings from the time of Martin Luther and Luther's life.


The glass collection includes around 2700 precious glasses. The focus is on Venetian glasses in one of the most extensive collections outside of Venice , painted and cut glass from the Baroque and Rococo and glasses from the 19th century, Art Nouveau and Art Deco . The Venetian glasses come from a collection of Duke Alfred .

Coin Cabinet

The Münzkabinett contains around 20,000 objects. In particular, Saxon coins made of gold, silver and non-ferrous metal from a period from the 14th to the 19th century are worth mentioning.

Armor and weapons

It includes parts of the royal armory , the hunting weapons collection of the Coburg dukes, stocks of bourgeois armory of the city and the Türkenbeute of Prince Frederick Josias . The oldest pieces are Gothic wooden shields. The Rohmann Collection consists mainly of weapons from Graz . Heavy hook rifles , field armor and artillery come from the Thirty Years War ; Ornate tournament armor, polearms and the armor of a court dwarf are reminiscent of court life . There is also a cannon called "Emma" with 49 guns.

State floats and tournament sleds

A considerable collection of floats and tournament sleds is on display in the duchess' building, including two richly decorated gilded wedding carriages from the Renaissance . The gilded float for the second wedding of Duke Johann Casimir to Margarethe was a dowry from the bride's mother Dorothea von Braunschweig-Lüneburg ( Dorothea von Denmark ). It is the oldest running car of its kind.

Martin Luther

Luther room
Bavarian State Exhibition 2017: Knights, Peasants, Lutherans

Martin Luther came to Coburg on April 15, 1530 . Together with the theologians Philipp Melanchthon and Justus Jonas, he accompanied Elector John the Constant on the way to Augsburg. Since the reformer was under ecclesiastical ban and imperial ban , he had to stay behind in the safe Coburg and could not take part in the Reichstag in Augsburg . He lived and worked on the fortress from April 24, 1530 to October 4, 1530 together with his secretary Veit Dietrich and his nephew Cyriacus Kaufmann, a son of his sister. A study and a bedroom were available to him. Luther was in close correspondence with his friends in Augsburg. Luther wrote 16 scriptures (“sermons”), translated books of the Old Testament, the fables of Aesop and wrote around 120 letters. The Luther rooms were dedicated to the memory of the stay at the Veste Coburg. However, they were not used by Luther himself as they were set up in the guest wing of the princely living quarters in the 19th century. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the posting of the theses in Lutherstadt Wittenberg , the Bavarian State Exhibition, curated by the House of Bavarian History , entitled Knights, Farmers, Lutherans, was shown in the Veste Coburg from May to November 2017 .

Luther Chapel


A church on the fortress hill was first mentioned in 1075. In 1851 Friedrich Streib built a new building based on a design by Carl Alexander Heideloff instead of the castle church . Bodo Ebhardt planned the renovation from 1910 to 1923. It is a two-axis, high chapel with a net vault. To the west there is a high and a short tracery window . In the short window, the glass paintings show portraits of the Saxon rulers, Elector Frederick the Wise and his brother Johann the Steadfast, as well as the last Duke of Coburg, Carl Eduard, with his family. Saints Peter and Paul and coats of arms are depicted in the high window.

The organ comes from the Münchberg preparatory school . In 1922 Steinmeyer from Oettingen carried out a renovation and an enlargement. The instrument has thirteen registers on two manuals and a pedal . Bodo Ebhardt designed the three-part organ brochure. Under the prospectus there is a five-eighth gallery on a volute bracket that carries an Atlant.

Luther monuments

Sculpture light and power

Outside, behind the Luther Chapel, there is the sculpture Light and Power (Bringer of Light on Horseback) designed by Hans Klett in 1913 as a Luther memorial . On the stone bower in the outer courtyard of the fortress there is a bas-relief that was created by the Coburg artist Edmund Meusel in 1930.


  • According to estimates by the Forestry Office around 1860, a now stately specimen of the giant sequoia was planted on Veste Coburg , which can be seen from afar from the southwest. This tree now has a height of 32.8 meters and a trunk circumference of 1 meter of 6.25 meters. (As of March 20, 2020)

See also


  • Daniel Burger : Fortresses in Bavaria. (= German fortresses. Volume 1). Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-7954-1844-1 , pp. 65–72.
  • Georg Dehio , Tilmann Breuer: Handbook of German art monuments . Bavaria I: Franconia - The administrative districts of Upper Franconia, Middle Franconia and Lower Franconia. 2nd, revised and supplemented edition. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-422-03051-4 , pp. 260-262.
  • Verena Friedrich: Castles and palaces in Franconia. 2nd Edition. Elmar Hahn Verlag, Veitshöchheim 2016, ISBN 978-3-928645-17-1 , pp. 116–123.
  • Rainer W. Hambrecht: A late medieval building site. The fortress Coburg after the fire of 1500 and the share of the Nuremberg builder Hans Beheim d. Ä. on reconstruction. In: Werner Taegert (Ed.): Hortulus floridus Bambergensis. Studies on Franconian art and cultural history. Imhof, Petersberg 2004, ISBN 3-935590-71-7 , pp. 219-232.
  • Peter Morsbach, Otto Titz: City of Coburg (= Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation [Hrsg.]: Monuments in Bavaria . Volume IV.48 ). Karl M. Lipp Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-87490-590-X .
  • Cornelia Stegner, Klaus Weschenfelder: The Veste Coburg and its collections. (= Small art guide. No. 871). 25th, revised edition. Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-7954-4603-1 .
  • Klaus Weschenfelder: Veste Coburg. History and shape. Edition Braus, Heidelberg 2005, ISBN 978-3-89904-196-5 .

Web links

Commons : Veste Coburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Esther Reinhart: Max Oscar Arnold (1854–1938) . Volume 21 of the series of publications by the historical society Coburg eV, Coburg 2007, ISBN 3-9810350-3-8 , pp. 37, 35, 38, 48
  2. ^ Paintings and sculptures - Art collections of the Veste Coburg. Retrieved January 22, 2020 (German).
  3. ^ Art collections of the Veste Coburg., accessed on January 22, 2020
  4. Lutherwegführer
  5. ^ Hermann Fischer, Theodor Wohnhaas: Old organs in the Coburg country, part III. Yearbook of the Coburg State Foundation 1972, p. 89.