Embedded in the Elbe sandstone highlands the city Königstein is located at the riverside of the Elbe. High above on the Table Mountain is the same-named fortress Königstein, one of the biggest and most beautiful mountain fortresses of Europe. Just the fantastic view you have on almost every point of the 1700 meters long wall walk is worth the way up.
Besides the panoramic view, the interesting architecture and history set new standards in the European fortress tourism with a very varying and diverse experience program for young and old.
Monument and History
King Wentzel the first of Bohemia, ruler over kingdom Bohemia, mentioned the medieval castle on Königstein with burgrave Gebhard vom Stein for the first time in 1233. The first complete title „Königstein“ in the Upper Lusatia border certificate was sealed by Wenzel I. “in lapide regis” (lat.: on the stone of the king). With the contract of Eger in 1459 Königstein was given to dukedom Meißen and therefore to Wettin electors.
Elector Christian I. orders to rebuilt Königstein to state fortress in 1589, after elector August ensured the preconditions by the spring building in 1563. As a result, the fortress was used by Saxonian dukes and electors as a safe haven, hunting location and maison de plaisance and also as a state prison. Chancellor Dr. Nikolaus Krell was the first state prisoner as a leading Calvinist and following the order of strict Lutheran elector widow in 1591. More than 1000 other prisoners followed until 1922, among them Böttger, Bakunin or Bebel.
Under several responsible persons and owners, the fortress was constantly modernised. This made it impossible for anyone to conquer the fortress militarily until today.
In 1806 Königstein became a Rhine federal fortress in the new kingdom Saxony. Napoleon inspected Königstein in 1813 and attested its absolute ability for defence.
In 1815 Königstein was declared the only Saxonian federal fortress and served as place of refuge for the royal family until 1866. From 1870 the fortress was mostly used as war prison or military hospital. In 1949 a youth works yard was established. Since 1955 the fortress facility on Königstein is a museum. Today history becomes alive and transparent in many ways.
More information about history
Elector Christian I. of Saxony and his followers had the existing castle rebuilt to the strongest fortress facility of Saxony between 1589 and 1597. They completed the rutted Table Mountain with high walls and built many of the today still preserved 50 buildings, for example the gate house, the prank weir, old barracks, Christian castle or the old Armoury. Further building phases in the 17th and 19th century completed the fortification facilities and the building ensemble. This makes the fortress Königstein an impressive ensemble of buildings of the late Gothic, the Renaissance and the baroque until the 19th century.
The whole fortification facility includes 9.5 hectare. The wall walk around the fortress has a length of 1700 meters and the walls are up to 42m high.
Not only nature lovers are attracted by the unbelievable view over Saxonian Switzerland and the Elbe valley from fortress Königstein. The 1700m long panoramic walk along the fortress walls offers impressive view on every point.
But also, within the fortress a garden at the commander house offers a nice oasis for tired hikers. The spacious fortress area invites to stay and relax in many shady spaces.
Who wants more adrenalin can use the climbing park Königstein on the bottom of the fortress opposite of the parking spaces. Fortress Königstein is also the starting point of many tours to the Table Mountains in the Elbe sandstone mountains like Lilienstein, Pfaffenstein or the Bastion as well as through romantic valleys of Saxonian Switzerland.
Moreover, the traditional and attractive hiking route goes along fortress Königstein – the Malerweg. The surrounding area offers many experiences for young and old.