The Coburg Fortress (Veste Coburg) in Bavaria is one of the largest surviving medieval fortresses in Germany. It is a fascinating castle in itself, but is especially famous for sheltering Martin Luther during the Diet of Augsburg.
History of Coburg Fortress
The oldest part of the castle (the Blauer Turm or Blue Tower) was built in 1230 but the rest dates from after a fire in 1499.
In 1530, Martin Luther lived in the Veste Coburg for five and half months under the protection of Elector John the Steadfast. He stayed for the duration of the Diet of Augsburg, which he could not attend as an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire. Philip Melanchthon attended in Luther's place, making history with the drawing up of the Augsburg Confession.
The Veste was expanded in the 17th century and renovated in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The restorations were undertaken in a scholarly rather than creative manner and is unlike most other German castles in retaining its predominantly medieval form.
Until just a few years ago, the Veste Coburg remained the property of the descendents of local dukes, with the main apartments open for guided tours. The family has now moved out and the residential part of the building is undergoing restoration.
What to See at Coburg Fortress
Within the massive complex is the Lutherkapelle, a mid-19th-century chapel standing on the site of its Romanesque predecessor. Excellent museums filling three castle buildings, with art from ducal collections that includes major works by Durer, Cranach and Rembrandt.
The Steinerne Kemenate ("Heated Stone Chamber"), on the east side of the left-hand courtyard, contains the Lutherstube (Luther Room). Here Martin Luther worked on his German translation of the Bible (most of which was done at the Wartburg Castle) and wrote no less than 26 works on Reformation issues.
Adjoining the Lutherstube is a memorial room with portraits of Electors Frederick the Wise and John the Steadfast by Cranach the Elder and a portrait of Luther by Cranach the Younger. There is also an Islamic drinking glass that once belonged to St. Elisabeth and was later given as a gift to Luther.
Quick Facts on Coburg Fortress
|Names:||Coburg Fortress · Veste Coburg|
|Dates:||c.1250; 16th C|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||50.264069° N, 10.981436° E|
|Phone:||+49 95 61 / 8 79-0|
|Hours:||Winter (Nov 8-Mar 31): Tue-Sun 1-4pm|
Summer (Apr 1-Nov 7): daily 9am-5pm
Closed on Mardi Gras, Dec 24-25, 31
|Lodging:||View hotels near Coburg Fortress|
Map of Coburg Fortress, Germany
Below is a location map and aerial view of Coburg Fortress. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.