Castle Königstein (Germany) is one of the biggest mountain fortresses in Europe. It stands in the middle of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and overlooks above the town of Königstein. In total, the fortress has more than 50 buildings. The length of the fortress walls is 1800 meters. In some places their height is 42 meters. The castle has the deepest well in Saxony and the second deepest in Europe (152.5 m).
The earliest references (among discivered) to Königstein are found in a document dating back to 1233. Despite its fearsome appearance, the fortress Königstein has never had any special military importance, but nevertheless, it has played a significant role in the history of Saxony. Saxon dukes and electors took refugees here during the war. For example, during the Dresden rebellion in 1849. During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763 biennium) the Elector Frederick Augustus II (1696 -1763) was watching helplessly as from the other side of the Elbe River by the Lilienshtayn mountain foot, his army surrendered without a fight to the Prussian troops. During war times all the royal treasures and secret archives of Saxony were transported here. Twice, in 1756 and 1813 masterpieces of art from museums and collections of Dresden were taken to the fortress Königstein. In particular,galleries treasures were here also during the Second World War. Elector Friedrich August II inherited from his father's passion for art and luxury. He kept a brilliant court and spent enormous sums for the purchase of paintings of the Dresden Gallery and other famous museums, as well as the maintenance of the court chapel. The fortress was used as a resting place for hunting and other entertainment. Königstein had been also visited by the Russian Emperor Peter I (1672-1725).
In 1516-1524 in Königstein Célestins monastery was located. At the beginning of the XVIII century alchemist Böttger, prisoned in fortress, was first in Europe being able to get porcelain, which was considered as the beginning of production of the famous Meissen porcelain. The development of long-range artillery leveled the protective function of a fortress and it was turned into a prison. During both world wars, the fortress became a concentration camp As the open-air museum the complex has been opened to the public since 1955. Castle is a popular tourist destination. It has a restaurant, gift shop and military-historical museum exposition.
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