Explore this well-preserved baroque fortress, built in the 17th century on the site of a former Benedictine monastery, and learn about its many rulers, including Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon and the German Empire. This huge citadel in the shape of an uneven star is surrounded by walls and has eight bastions which all have their own name. Take a guided tour around an underground maze of passageways beneath the citadel that takes around 2 hours and climb to the top of the fortress for fantastic panoramic views over Erfurt. Admire the fantastic Baroque and Romanesque architecture that can be observed on the site at this fantastic Citadel. The largest and the only preserved town baroque fortress in Europe, built in 1665 in a unique Baroque, fortress architecture surrounded by over two kilometers of stone walls, with a size of 36 hectares. Situated on a hill next to Domplatz, the fortress was constructed in the 17th century when the city of Erfurt was under the rule of prince electorate of Mainz. The citadel has the shape of an uneven star and under the fortress a whole labyrinth of underground passages is hiding.
History of the citadel
Following an order from Johann Philipp von Schönborn to demonstrate his power over the locals of Erfurt and to suppress any ideas of rebellion, the formal phase of construction of the citadel lasted from 1665 to 1707. The second construction phase that lasted almost 20 years (1707-1728), and a lot of importance had been put on the reinforcement of the fortress and trench defenses. During the Napoleonic period and the Prussian rule, the fortress had been reinforced to be resilient to the strength of the latest weapons. The Defense Barracks, the fortress bakery, wells, latrines and caponiers have been built under the Prussian regime. Under the German Empire (1871-1918) it was decided to dismantle the city walls as there were no neighboring threats. During the Nazi period, the fortress was used as recruitment office and prison for the political enemies such as communists and trade unionists. After World War II, the fortress was operating under the Soviet rule until 1990, when the German reunification happened and a massive project to restore the citadel began by the Erfurt city council.
Beautiful city view
Walk slightly up hill from the main square in Erfurt, and once you arrive at the fortress admire the castle walls and the old buildings rich in history that have been restored throughout the years. Take photos of the buildings, stroll around the gardens and finish your trip by enjoying the great view you get over the city. You can get great view over the Dom, Somplatz, cathedrals, bridges, buildings, and the entire center of Erfurt, while you have a drink at the café nearby.