The view from an elevated spot has fascinated man at all times. It was not only for protection that important buildings were erected on a mountain, but also to get them a bit closer to heaven. This may also have advanced the wish to be able to fly.
Following this route will provide you with an impressing insight into our ‘Schloesserland’ from above. Enjoy the trip and do not forget your binoculars.
Koenigstein Fortress (A)
Koenigstein Fortress presents itself like a crown of stone towering above the Elbe river. 240 metres above the river, the visitor can indulge in a panoramic sight of not only Saxon Switzerland. The mountains of Bohemian Switzerland can also be discovered from the eastern-most »Königsnase« (King’s Nose). In good weather, westward visibility is clear down to the Dresden Television Tower. The fortress can now be conquered in several ways: Those who want to save their strength for the plateau of the fortress can be lifted up to the dizzying height from April through October by using the panorama lift. Apart from the magnificent view from the top, there are more things to be marvelled at here: Saxony’s deepest well, for example, or the artistic multimedia installation of the historic giant wine barrel that can be experienced during a guided tour.
Further to Station B – Dresden Royal Palace, approx. 32 km
Dresden Royal Palace(B)
If you would like to have a somewhat different perspective of the Baroque Dresden, the ‘Hausmannsturm’ tower of the Dresden Royal Palace can be of great help. From a height of 67 metres, you will have a good overview over the city. Favourable weather provided, you will be able to see the Meissen castle mountain if you look down one way and Saxon Switzerland and beyond looking down the other side of the tower. The Hausmannsturm tower is the oldest preserved part of the Palace property. It was from there that the tower warders were supposed to detect and report fires early. Today the Palace accommodates renowned collections, such as the Green Vault, the Treasury and the Turkish Chamber, which is an important collection of Osman art. The Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs puts changing exhibitions on display, showing graphic art and photographs by famous artists, such as Albrecht Duerer, Caspar David Friedrich up to Picasso.
Further to Station C - Hartenfels Castle, approx. 91 km
Hartenfels Castle (C)
A bit further downriver, in Torgau, there is Germany’s oldest preserved Renaissance castle. The four-winged property is crowned by a watch tower from the first half of the 16th century. It links the late Gothic Albert Wing with the gorgeous early Renaissance John Frederick Wing. One can enjoy a spectacular view over the town and the expanse of the Elbe river landscape. There are also the bears that are kept in the castle moat and are worth a visit. In the castle yard, the visitor will stand in awe in front of a real masterpiece: the Large Spiral Staircase. Those who climb it, will find out that it bears itself without any supporting central pillar. The Castle Church represents the first new building of a Protestant church. This is where the spiritual programme of the Reformation found its implementation in architecture and art for the first time. The sacral building was sanctified in October 1544 by Martin Luther himself.
Further to Station D - Gnandstein Castle, approx. 84 km
Gnandstein Castle (D)
This castle is Saxony’s best preserved Romanesque weir system and one of Germany’s knight’s castles where one can feel the spirit of ancient times. The donjon, dungeon, battlement, shield wall – the fortress resting high above the Wyhra rivulet is a dream turned stone for all friends of the Middle Ages. The 33-m-high donjon in the inner castle yard, which can be climbed, provides a breathtaking view of the Kohren Land and towards Thuringia. Extensive building and archaeological investigations and reconstruction measures could be completed recently so that the medieval complex can present itself again at its best.
Further to Station E - Schoenfels Castle, approx. 83 km
Schoenfels Castle (E)
The defiant building was probably constructed around 1200 when colonists opened up new territories for settlement in the later Pleissenland. In the 13th century, Schoenfels Castle was under the rule of bailiffs, noble families who governed and held court in the so-called Vogtland (Vogt literally meaning bailiff) on behalf of the emperor. Seldom, the typical setup of a castle - with a wall and a moat running all round, with an outer bailey, a lower castle and the core castle - has been preserved in such completeness and genuineness. The castle keep makes Schoenfels Castle already visible from afar; built in the 13th century, it vigilantly guards the castle grounds to the present day.
Fruther to station F - Voigtsberg Castle, about 42 km
Voigtsberg Castle (F)
There is proof of first building measures on today’s castle grounds dating back to the early 13th century. This so-called ‘olden part’ of Voigtsberg Castle comprises the Princes’ Hall, St. George’s Chapel with sacred pieces of art and the Castle Parlour of 1637 with its early Baroque beam ceiling and murals. In the Knights’ Hall, the original clay ceiling with oak stakes wrapped with a mix of straw fibres and clay paste, and mainly used as a ceiling infill, is still preserved. Constructional changes shortly before 1900 changed the outer appearance of the castle strongly. The castle is situated not far from the Saxon city of Plauen and the Bavarian city Hof, nestling in the hilly Vogtland landscape.