The Altenburg – visible from afar
Unmissable landmark of Bamberg
A visit to the Altenburg Castle is guaranteed to be included in the sightseeing programme of any experienced tourism professional who has to organise a city tour or a guided tour of Bamberg. After all, the Altenburg is not only one of Bamberg’s most famous sights, but also a landmark of our beautiful Franconian city that is visible from afar. The Altenburg, which sits enthroned on Bamberg’s highest hill, was first mentioned in a document at the beginning of the 12th century. At that time, it served as a place of refuge and as a fortress when enemies were approaching. Later, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Bamberg bishops lived in the Altenburg. But in 1535 the complex was almost completely destroyed in the Second Margravial War. Of the old building fabric, which is now visited daily by numerous city tour participants, only parts of the ring wall and the keep habe been preserved as historical sights. There is an interesting detail to be discovered on the 33m high tower, which we will be happy to show you as part of an individual city tour: High up on the tower is an iron basket in which a fire used to be lit. In this way, messages could be transmitted by light signal from the tower of the castle to the crew of Giechburg Castle, about 20km away, at lightning speed.
The fact that the Altenburg can be visited today as one of Bamberg’s particularly interesting sights is thanks to their enterprising and tradition-conscious ancestors. Adalbert Friedrich Marcus, a doctor from Bamberg, decided to buy the neglected ruin in 1801 and, after extensive restoration, to make it accessible again as a tourist attraction. The famous storyteller E.T.A. Hoffmann, who was a friend of Marcus, lived for a time at the castle and perhaps he was inspired to write one of his gripping stories at this historic site? When the saviour of Altenburg Castle died, Anton von Greifenstein became the owner of the castle grounds. In 1818, he founded an association that endeavoured to maintain the castle. This civic commitment has thankfully been preserved to this day, so that every year many visitors can visit these sights and experience history up close as part of a guided tour of the town.
If you want to rest a little and fortify yourself after your city tour or sightseeing tour, you are also in good hands at the Altenburg. Not only is there something good to eat in the inn, but here at the Altenburg you can also try the famous smoked beer from Bamberg.
Unfortunately, we cannot visit Altenburg Castle on our normal route due to its secluded location. You are welcome to book an individual tour by phone to still be able to visit this sight with a guide.