Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle –

the City’s Most Significant Historical Landmark

Nuremberg's Imperial Castle
Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle

If you are planning to take a cultural Nuremberg tour, your first stop must undoubtedly be the Imperial Castle. Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle is actually a complex of fortified buildings built on a sandstone ridge on top of the city. Due to its historical importance, the Imperial Castle is recognized as the symbol of Nuremberg

The Imperial Castle was built by the Hohenstaufen dynasty over the remains of older buildings. The Hohenstaufen ruled the Holy Roman Empire from 1138 to 1208, and the Castle became a symbol of the Empire’s power. Rulers traveling through the empire would make it a point to stay there. It was also the site of important events such as Imperial Diets and court assemblies.

If you visit, there are no organized tours so you are free to wander around on your own. Here are some of the interesting sights you will see:

The Deep Well. This was the only source of water for the castle and its residents. The well’s shaft runs to a depth of 47 meters or 164 feet. This is the only part of the castle requiring a tour guide, who will demonstrate how deep the well is by lowering a candle down the shaft.

The Sinwell Tower. This is the Castle’s major keep and was originally built in the 13th century for defensive purposes. You ascend 385 meters to an observation platform at the top using a wooden spiral staircase. Once you get there you will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views of the city. There is also an exhibit of photographs showing Nuremberg at the end of WWII.  

The Palais. This is the main building of the castle and a significant cultural Nuremberg attraction. It has two floors that include the emperor’s residence and halls for official functions. It also has a “double chapel”, two chapels on different floors but with identical floor plans.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Castle, you might want to visit the Imperial Castle Museum. This is one of the museums of Nuremberg that is a branch of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum and features armor and weapons and astronomical devices as well as objects from the residents’ daily lives.

Check out our city stays to Nuremberg to visit the Imperial Castle and other sites. Alternatively, we offer a 7 day German Rail tour that features an overnight in Nuremberg.

Contact us for more information: jan@distinctiveeurotours or 888-843-7914 or 281-362-0777.