Nuremberg and the Imperial Castle

 Nürnberg und die Kaiserburg

Despite industrialization, Nuremberg was considered the best-preserved German city until its destruction on January 2, 1945, when 90 percent of the city’s medieval core was destroyed. The five-day Battle of Nuremberg in April 1945 left the rest of the city so badly beaten that the city’s fathers had thoughts of abandoning the city and rebuilding elsewhere. (Here's another post about the attacks from the air on Nuremberg)

At that time, other bombed-out German cities decided to clear away medieval debris and build anew. But in Nuremberg, after a 1948 competition for plans to reconstruct the city’s medieval core brought in 188 proposals from local architects, it was decided that old Nuremberg would be rebuilt like the old city plan.

Following a proposal from Nuremberg architects Heinz Schmeißner and William Schlegtendal, the basic structure of the inner city, with its characteristic sequence of streets and squares would remain basically the same. The city should rise again as it was. Only the most important historical buildings such as the Rathaus, the Frauenkirche, the Sebalduskirche and the Kaiserburg castle should be exactly reconstructed. The basic plan described exactly what building materials, colors, roof-eaves and fixed angle each newly constructed building should use. (Today one is not just allowed to build a house however one wants. There are reams of building statues-reams and reams.)

The Kaiserburg is regarded as the most important art and architectural monuments of the city and belongs to the Historical Mile Nuremberg. Archeologists have dated the foundation at or around the year 1000, but the castle’s existence is first documented in 1105. The Deep Well, dug down into the sandstone foundation has a diameter of two meters and is fifty-three meters deep. (Mind you, dug in the year 1000.) A second well by the Fünfeckigen Turm, twenty meters deep, guaranteed the water supply in times of unrest.

Hoof prints from the daring escape of Eppelein von Gailingen can still be seen on the wall around the now-dry moat.

Over the years after 1948, the Kaiserburg slowly took on its remembered panoramic silhouette. After 34 years, in 1981, the castle was finally deemed as ‘finished,’ that is to say, all war scars cleared away, but renovations continue today because of the damaging effect of acid rain on sandstone.

Here's more info in English:  Imperial Castle Nuremberg


  1. nice article Laura, very informative.

  2. We went to see the hoof prints, but I didn't have my camera. I think, over the years, there have been many well-meaning souls who have 'helped' if you know what I mean. I think we saw 6 or 8 hoof prints ;-)