The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


31 Jan 2016
  Harbour Impressions from Stralsund

Since I stayed in a hotel on the harbour island adjacent to Stralsund's old town, I had plenty of chances to catch impressions of the harbour district from various angles and in different light. Here are a few of them.

View to the harbour entrance, with Rügen island in the background

Stralsund started out as a Slavonic fishing village in the 10th century. In 1168, King Valdemar I of Denmark conquered the tribe of the Rujani and made their princes his vassals. The Danes then used the stragegically well positioned settlement with its sea front facing the Rügen pensinsula and the lagoon as their harbour for campaigns further inland. Stralsund received the rights of town according to the Lübeck Charta in 1234 and rose to one of the preeminent members of the Hanseatic League in the 14th century.

View from my hotel room to St.Nikolai Church

Stralsund fell to Sweden in the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years Was (1648) and would remain in Swedish possession until the late 19th century when the town came to Prussia. Like so many other places, the old town of Stralsund which had already been hit by several bombs at the end of WW2, suffered neglect during the GDR (the government was more interested in erecting large panel-system buildings - Plattenbauten - in the suburbs which could house more people than restoring old buildings) but was renovated after the reunion. The old town is now part of the Unesco World Heritage.

Stralsund seen from the sea: St.John's Church to the left, St.Nikolai to the right

The town looked a bit different during the Middle Ages, of course, though the churches were already dominating the skyline. The harbour island did not exist; instead long wooden quays were built into the shallow waters of the lagoon. The cogs anchored further out and the wares were shifted to smaller vessels which could be unloaded at the quays. The wares were then transported into the town on well kept cobblestone ways.

Stralsund seen from the sea: Gorch Fock (right), Oceanographic Museum, some hotels
(I took these pictures from the ferry to Hiddensee)

Another feature that has changed is the town wall which once surrounded the entire town since the 13th century, with additional fortifications from later times. Now, only some ruins at the land side remain; the harbour walls had been dismantled 1873 because they stood in the way of expanding the town.

Part of the harbour isle

One of the expanding industries were shipyards. To give the shipwrights more space, an artificial insula was constructed outside the old town in 1860. Where once the quays for the Hansa cogs stretched into the shallow waters of the lagoon between Rügen and Hiddensee, piles were rammed into the ground and earth deposited. Twenty new sailing ships were built on the harbour isle in 1862.

View from my hotel room to the canals separating the harbour isle from the old town

But the ship building industry declined with the rise of steam engines, and other uses for the isle had to be found, mostly by building warehouses. A number of those today house hotels and restaurants. The newest addition to the harbour isle is the Oceanographic Museum which opened in 2008. Due to its shape it is nicknamed the toilet paper roll.

St.Nikolai and one of the warehouses (left) on the harbour isle, seen from the sea

Stralsund has a town harbour, a sea harbour for cargo vessels, and several marinas. The sea harbour manages the handling of bulk goods and piece goods, especially salt. The transhipping in 2013 was 1.5 million tons. The town harbour is the starting point for the ferries to Hiddensee and harbour cruises; it also offers anchorage for river cruise ships. A pretty addition to the town harbour is the sail training ship Gorch Fock I.

One of the marinas in the morning light

I took the chance to visit the ship, but that will be a post of its own. Here are some basic informations about her history. The Gorch Fock I is a three mast barque built for the Reichsmarine in 1933. She was used as training ship until the beginning of the war and then as stationary office ship in Kiel and Stralsund. She was briefly activated towards the end of the war and finally sunk by its crew. The Sovjets had her salvaged and restored. She was renamed Tovarishch and used as training ship for the Russian Marine until 1991. During that time she participated in several tall ships' races around the world.

Gorch Fock I

From 1991 the ship sailed under Ukrainian flag, but the money for necessary repairs was lacking, so she ended up in a dock in Wilhelmshaven until 2003, when she was bought by the Tall Ships Society, transfered to Stralsund and renamed Gorch Fock. The society plans to restore the ship so she can sail again, but money is still an issue. New engines have been installed and the decks made useable for events like weddings. But much remains to be done until the Gorch Fock I can safely sail around the world again.

Gorch Fock I, from a different angle

A feature you can see on several photos is the new Rügen Bridge across the Strelasund which separates the island of Rügen from the mainland. The sound is about ten metres deep which is unusually deep for the waters in the area. The sound was crossed by ferries between Stralsund and Altefähr via the island of Stralov, later named Dänholm, already in the 13th century. During the time Stralsund belonged to Sweden, the ferries - in form of sailing vessels - were part of the Swedish postal service from Ystad to Stralsund and operated on a regular schedule since 1684.

View from the upper deck of the Gorch Fock to one of the inner quays, the Rügen Bridge,
the outer dockyard and a warehouse (right)

But increasing traffic made the building of a bridge necessary. The first one was the Rügen Causeway with railway and double lane road, completed in 1936. It consists of a 133 metres long bridge spanning the Ziegelgraben, the part of the sound between Stralsund and Dänholm island. It is constructed as bascule drawbridge in its middle part. The bridge is still in use, esp. for the railway connection, and opens at regular times to allow taller ships passage. The second part is an embankment extending from Dänholm and a second bridge that connects to Rügen.

The new bridge to Rügen

The new bridge, or rather a set of bridges and embankments, was finished in 2007. It has three lanes for car traffic and an overall length of 583 metres. It too, uses the Dänholm as crossing and consists of a viadcut spanning the Ziegelgraben and another bridge across the Strelasund to Rügen. The 126 metres long viaduct is the most stunning feature. It is a cable-stayed bridge that allows passage to ships up to 42 metres height. The pylon is 128 metres high and grounded in the sound by 40 bored pilings with a 1.5 metre diameter. The 32 cables that spread in harp shape have a three layered protection against corrosion and can carry a tension of 4,000 kN.

Rügen Bridge and Dänholm in the morning light

Since Rügen has a number of pretty sea bath towns, it is a popular holiday spot, and the new bridge was needed to cope with the increasing traffic. Since I didn't have so much time, I decided for a trip to Hiddensee instead. It is easier to get there by public transport and it is quieter, too. But Rügen is still on my list.

View from the bow of the Gorch Fock to the lagoon

I hope you liked the little tour through the harbour of Stralsund. The weather offered everything form sunshine to lightning storms during the three days I stayed in Stralsund, thus the photos show very different moods.
 


12 Jan 2016
  The Crown of Franconia - The Architecture of Coburg Fortress

I concentrated on photos of the fortifications and those buildings that date back - at least in some remaining parts - to the Middle Ages in the first post about Coburg Fortress, which is also known as the Crown of Franconia due to its size and good state of preservation. This post will give you some more fortifications and some younger buildings which were added to the vast complex over time.

The inner curtain wall and the first zwinger wall

No traces remain of the first chapel and provost's house on the hill. The buildings may have been protected by a timber palisade, but we can't say for sure. Excavations have only found remains of a churchyard on the plateau, but since the site is covered by buildings now, older ruins may be lost forever.

Parapets on the curtain walls

The inner bailey with the palas, kitchen house and chapel, the bower, a keep and a wall tower to protect the eastern side, is the oldest part of the castle. The Romanesque remains of the wall tower have been integrated into the High Bastion built 1533. Engravings by Lucas Cranach from 1506 still show that tower in its original shape.

The palace with the annex and the chapel (to the right)

Some of the buildings had been severely damaged in a fire in 1500 and were altered upon repair. The bower got a staircase tower, and the palace was extended four metres into the yard by addition of a half timbered annex; its former outer stone wall is now an interior one (see also below).

Walls with the High House

The Gothic or High House in the outer bailey, dating to the late 14th century, is the oldest part of the castle that remains mostly unaltered except for repair of fire damage here as well (1489). It was originally used as arsenal. We can trace a chatellain from that time: Count Ernst of Hohenstein-Lohra, most likely a member of the family I blogged about here. They had become important vassals of House Wettin. Count Ernst commissioned the repair. The building now houses the museum administration.

The High Bastion built on the remains of a Romanesque tower

The fortifications already surrounded the entire plateau on the hill; the Blue Tower mentioned several times in the previous post, still shows Romanesque stonework in its lower storeys. There are also remains of Romanesque cellars. Remains of another Romanesque tower have been found in the outer bailey. It is assumed that the first main gate may have been between that tower (today the Bear Bastion) and the Blue Tower, which would make sense since gates usually led to the outer bailey.

Gate tunnel under the walls leading to the Bear Bastion, 1553

From 1553 to 1660, the main entrance was a tunnel under the Red Tower, leading to the Bear Bastion, thus restoring the gate to the outer bailey. The mighty cellar vaults under the Carl-Eduard House and the Duchess' House date to the same time (see below).

Another view of the fortifications

The outer defenses were fortified during the Hussite Wars by Duke Friedrich the Warlike (~1425; see first post). A double, in part triple, row of walls was set up, with zwingers in between, towers, and powder magazines. Gunpowder started to play a role in warfare, and its storage was tricky since it must be kept away from fire. Several of the towers were dismantled when the fortifications were increased further in the 17th century.

View across the zwinger to the bridge

The main entrance today leads into the inner bailey again (like in the 14th and 15th century). The tunnel under the curtain wall dates to the 15th century, but the decorated Baroque gate in front of it was added in 1670. The zwinger was crossed by a a wooden drawbridge which was replaced by a stone bridge in 1859.

The old gate tunnel with portcullis

Duke Johann Ernst (1521-1553), the first Duke of Saxe-Coburg (the Wettin family split into several branches that had to be provided for with lands) moved to live in Ehrenburg Palace at the foot of the castle hill, since the living quarters in the castle had become uncomfortable by the standard of his time. Coburg castle was turned into a Bavarian state fortress, partly financed by the state diet. Bastions were added to the fortifications during 1533 to 1615, the time of Duke Johann Casimir.

The Bear Bastion on the west side from 1614

After the fortress was returned to Duke Johann Ernst (another one; they don't even get numbers because the various family branches are such a shrubbery) during the Thirty Yeas War in May 1635, the fortifications were strengthened further.

But modern warfare made fortified castles increasingly obsolete, and in 1802, the garrison was disbanded; Coburg lost its status as state fortress. The buildings were used as hospital and prison (the High House); since 1838 they housed the art and armour collections of the dukes. The trench was filled in and turned into a park, including a walk around the fortress.

An angle of the Bear Bastion with remains of the old gate foundations

Duke Ernest I put some effort into restoring the fortress in the neo-Romanesque style popular in the 19th century (starting in 1838). Most of the changes were made inside the buildings, but he also altered the chapel, the parapets and the gate tower, and put extra oriels on the towers.

Closeup of the palace / Duke's House

Coburg Fortress had come into possession of the County of Bavaria in 1918, but since Duke Carl Eduard and his family had the right to live in the fortress, extensive repairs were done to the palace, chapel, guest house, the fomer sheep stables and several bastions. The architect, Bodo Ebhardt, removed the pseudo-historical additions of the 19th century and replaced them with more 'modern' and less fancy elements.

The palace seen from the curtain wall side

Duke Carl Eduard was heavily involved in the repairs. He often visited the site and had an input in the plans. He also set up a lottery to fund the renovations (though the County of Bavaria invested money as well).

The palace, now called Duke's House, was completed in 1920. Today the palace is used to present parts of the art collection. The extended structure with the half timbered annex from the late 15th century was kept; the style ties in well with the curtain wall side of the building.

The Guest House

The ducal family also lived in the Guest House in the inner bailey - they were large enough to need more than one house, I suppose. The building replaced a 19th century inn. Prior to that, half timbered buildings from various times had occupied the site, Mediaeval outbuildings as well as 18th century barracks.

A hall in the Stone Bower

The Stone Bower which I already mentioned in the first post was restored in the early 1980ies. Massive foundations were discovered under the ground floor, maybe the remains of the first building (before the fire of 1500). When Luther stayed in Coburg Fortress, he got a room in this house.

Carl Eduard House

Several buildings frame the yard of the outer bailey:

The Carl-Eduard House was erected on the ruins of an older building known as the Red Bower. Its 16th century cellar vaults still exist. The new house was finished in 1924. One of the rooms in the house is a great hall which is called the congress hall, though I could not figure out where the name comes from.

Duchess' House

The Duchess' House originally was a sheep- and grain house from the 16th century. It too, was modernised in the 1920ies.

Both the Carl-Edward House and the Duchess' House suffered damage during the last days of WW2; they were repaired in the 1950ies and 60ies, and again between 2003-2008, after the last member of the ducal family who had the living rights of the fortress died in 1998. Today, the State of Bavaria has the care of the fortress.

View from the High Bastion to the Thuringian forests and Sonneberg

Literature
Guidebook: Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg. Regensburg, 2008
 


6 Jan 2016
  Dower of a Polish Queen, Wettin Stronghold, Martin Luther's Hideout - The History of Coburg Fortress

I have mentioned Coburg Fortress, the Veste Coburg in German, in this post where I also gave some tidbits of the geneaology of Queen Victoria of England. The Royal family was known as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha before they changed their name to Windsor, because both Victoria and her Consort Albert came from branches of that House. Today we'll have a look at the history of the fortress. The architecture will be covered in another post.

Coburg Fortress, curtain walls of the old castle
with the Blue Tower in the foreground and the Red Tower in the background

The fortress is situated on a hill 167 metres above the town of the same name. It measures 135 x 260 metres including its triple fortifications, their oldest part (the Romanesque stonework of the lower storeys of the Blue Tower) dating to 1230, the newest (one of its round towers can be seen on the photo below) to the early 17th century. Coburg is thus one of the largest fortresses in Germany.

Towers of the outermost zwinger walls

The castle of Coburg is first mentioned in 1226 (1), but the name itself first appears in a charte in 1056 wherein Queen Richeza of Poland donates her possessions in Saalfeld and Coburg (mons Coburg) to the archbishop Anno II of Cologne.

Here's an historical excursus for Kasia: Richeza of Lotharingia was the daughter of Ezzo Count Palatine of Lotharingia and Mathilde, a daughter of Emperor Otto II and the Byzantine Princess Theophanu. She was betrothed to Mieszko II Lambert, the son of Duke Bolesław Chrobry of Poland, at the congress of Gniesno in AD 1000.

During the congress, Otto III, Richeza's uncle, elevated Gniesno (German: Gnesen) to the rank of archbishopric and swore formal amicitia with Duke Bolesław (2), an act that was more a political symbol than a personal friendship, unlike the way we regard these relationships today. The betrothal served as additional tie of their relationship. The girl was about five at the time.

View through the outer gate, with the High House in the background

Unfortunately, Otto III died in January 1002, without male heirs. The crown was contested between Margrave Ekkehard of Meissen and Duke Heinrich of Bavaria from a sideline of the Liudolfing/Ottonian House (3).

Bolesław supported Ekkehard, and after the margrave was assassinated, used his chance to snatch some lands in Lusatia and Meissen. That brought him in conflict with King Heinrich II which lasted for years, including several battles and peace negotiations which never really held. All the time, Richeza was still betrothed to Mieszko. Finally, they were married during the peace negotiations in Merseburg in 1013.. Heinrich II also gave the lands of Saalfeld/Coburg to Richeza's father Ezzo of Lotharingia. I suppose they may have been intended as her dower in case of a divorce.

If Heinrich thought Bolesław would stop being a pain in the behind, he was wrong though. I leave it to Kasia to sort out the troubles the duke of Poland had with Heinrich and other eastern rulers like Duke Jaroslav of Kiev (allied with Heinrich) or the duke of Bohemia. When Heinrich died in 1024, Bolesław was crowned King of Poland (4). He died but a year later, and his son Mieszko II became king (ousting an older half-brother in the process).

Fortifications, with a view of the Blue Tower

Mieszko did not get along with Jaroslav of Kiev any better than his father. The relationship with Heinrich's successor Konrad II (5) was not exactly amicable, either. Mieszko also managed to alienate the nobles of his realm. He lost Lusatia to King Konrad, was replaced by his ousted half-brother Bezprym - supported by Jaroslav - for a while, but regained the kingship after Bezprym's death. When Mieszko died in 1034, the situation in Poland and the relationship with the nobility was so poisoned that Richeza and her children fled back to Germany.

Richeza was granted the lands of Saalfeld and Coburg for a living (6); Konrad II also allowed her to keep the title of Queen of Poland. Konrad's son, Heinrich III, supported Richeza's son Casimir to reclaim the throne of Poland (1041). Casimir managed to reconquer the land and reunite the nobility; he made peace with Jaroslav of Kiev and renewed the position of the Church; those feasts gained him the name of Casimir the Restorer.

Coburg Fortress, inner bailey with the palace and chapel (right)

Richeza, like so many widows at the time, became a nun when her her last surviving brother Hermann, archbishop of Cologne, died in 1056 (her other brother, count palatine Otto, had died in 1047), living solely for the memoria of the family, which included donations of land to the Church, so churches and monasteries could be build where prayers would be said for the dead. She gave both her Saalburg possessions and her share of the Ezzonian lands at the Rhine to the archbishop of Cologne. Richeza died in 1063.

Archbishop Anno, Hermann's successor, founded a chapel dedicated to St.Peter and Paul on the Coburg Hill in 1074, which was a filiation (Nebenkloster) of the monastery in Saalfeld. The chapel and a house for the provost are the first traceable buildings on the hill.

View into the inner bailey

The next time we can trace Saalfeld/Coburg, it is again part of the imperial lands in possession of the emperor Friedrich Barbarossa (1180). I would like to know how the lands got wrestled out of the paws of the archbishopric of Cologne, but I could not find any information.

The castle (translated as sloss, 'palace', implying there must have been a great hall) is mentioned as possession of the Dukes of Andechs-Merania in 1226 (7). The oldest buildings of which remains can still be found date from that time.

The dukes of Andechs-Merania were among the winners of the redistribution of lands after the fall of Duke Heinrich the Lion. His former duchies of Saxony and Bavaria were split - the emperor Friedrich Barbarossa did not want such a powerful and rich magnate in his realm again. Parts of Bavaria were thrown together with other lands, creating the new duchies of Bavaria (held by the Wittelsbach line), Styria, and Merania (8). The line of the dukes of Andechs-Merania died out in 1248 and the duchy became defunct.

The 14th century Gothic House, or High House

The Coburg and adjacent lands then came into possession of the counts of Henneberg, one of the ancient Franconian noble families who settled in Thuringia (documented since 1078). They soon split into several branches. Count Poppo IV of Henneberg (†1190) had married Sophia of Andechs-Istria, and the counts of Henneberg took their claim to Coburg from that connection.

Poppo's grandson Hermann I of Henneberg-Coburg not only gained those possessions but more lands in Thuringia when the Ludowing line died out, establishing the so-called New Lordship (Neue Herrschaft). His mother was Jutta of Thuringia who before had been married to the margrave of Meissen. The son from that marriage, Heinrich 'the Illustrious' founded the House Wettin. Hermann himself married the sister of William of Holland, who became King of the Germans in 1247.

The Coburg lands fell to Margrave Otto V of Brandenburg-Salzwedel of House Ascania, by marriage to Hermann's daughter, another Jutta (1291). But they came back to the Henneberg family in 1312 when their granddaughter Jutta (yes, I know *sigh*) married Heinrich VIII of Henneberg-Schleusingen.

The Mediaeval Steinerne Kemenate (bower or ladies' chambers)

Heinrich died without male heirs and the heritage was split between his widow - who got the New Lordship - and his younger brother. Part of the New Lordship, including Coburg, then went as dowry to House Wettin when Heinrich's daughter Katharina (born ~1334) married Friedrich the Severe, Landgrave of Thuringia and Margrave of Meissen, the grandson of of Friedrich the Brave. But the complicated heritage succession meant that Friedrich could only claim the lands after Jutta's death, something he did not seem particularly happy about. At least he wasted no time getting the fief confirmed by Emperor Karl IV in Prague but eight days after Jutta died (February 9, 1353).

Legend has it that Katharina was sent back to her mother for a time, because the dowry was not delivered, but that tale is more likely a result of her producing children only 20 years after the wedding night. Well, she spent most of her time in Coburg after her mother's death, while her husband traveled around in his lands, so it may have been a problem of logistics, lol. When Friedrich died in 1381, his sons were minors. Katharina acted as regent until her death in 1397, which meant that during the last years she ruled the lands together with her sons who were of age then (9). An unusual arrangement for what seems to have been an unusual woman.

Gatehouse with tower

Katharina's and Friedrich's eldest son, another Friedrich, nicknamed 'the Warlike' (der Streitbare), participated in the Hussite Wars (1419-1436) at the side of the emperor Sigismund, son of Karl IV. As acknowledgement of his assistance, Sigismund created Friedrich Duke of Saxe-Wittenberg - which made him one of the prince electors - and Count Palatine of Saxony (1425). From that time the name Saxony / Saxe (Sachsen) was used for all the lands in possession of the Wettin family.

His grandsons Ernest and Albert split the House in two lines (1485). Coburg fell to the older, the Ernestinian line. That line would later divide into several branches, among them Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Saxe-Altenburg-Gotha. And here we tie in with the geneaology presented in the post linked above.

I'll spare you the various Ernests, Eduards and Friedrichs and the changes of borders between inherited lands. The Coburg remained in possession of the Wettin family until 1918 when the fortress was taken over by the County of Bavaria.

Luther's chamber in the former bower

One incident is worth mentioning, though. Ernest's sons were stout supporters of Martin Luther and the Protestant movement. Friedrich the Sage, Elector of Saxony († 1525) had saved Luther by giving him shelter in the Wartburg in 1522, after the diet at Worms resulted in the Edict of Worms and the imperial ban for Luther. His brother and successor, Johann the Steadfast, gave Luther shelter in the Coburg during the diet of Augsburg in 1530, since Luther was still officially under ban, and it would have been too dangerous for him to appear in Augsburg.

Luther used the time to continue his translation of the Bible, and wrote letters to Philipp Melanchthon who was sort of his spokesman at the diet. Luther was involved in the composition of the Confession of Augsburg (Confessio Augustana) which stated the position of the Protestant Church and was signed by several German princes (among them the Elector of Saxony, the Landgrave of Hessia and the Duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg) and imperial towns like Nuremberg (10). The emperor Karl V refused to acknowledge the Confession, though, thus the Protestant duchies, counties, and free towns established the Schmalkaldic League in opposition to the emperor.

A view of the three layers of curtain walls

The Thirty Years War was the final result of these events. The guidebook says that Coburg Fortress was never taken by military force, but that it was conquered due to a forged letter which ordered the capitulation in the name of Duke Johann Ernest, after general Lamboy had laid siege to the fortress for five months in 1635. Well, Lamboy turned from supporter of Wallenstein to supporter of the emperor Ferdinand II while Wallenstein's body (assassinated by order of Ferdinand II) was still warm, so I would not put it beyond him to resort to tricks, but I could not find any proof aside from the guidebook. The duke got the Coburg back in the following year and strengthened the fortifications further. It was the last time the fortress played a military role.

More impressive curtain walls

Footnotes
1) There is a mention of a castrum Choburg from 1207 I found in an online timetable, but it is not backed up by the guidebook.
2) The - not exactly unbiased - Polish Chronicle of Gallus Anonymous says Bolesław was fratrem et cooperatorem imperii constituit and Otto put a diadem on his head. The act of swearing amicitia included the exchange of presents, but there is no implication that Otto indeed elevated Bolesław to king as some researchers assume. Bolesław was officially crowned as king in 1025.
3) Heinrich II was the son of Heinrich 'the Troublemaker' (der Zänker) Duke of Bavaria and Gisela of Burgundy. Heinrich the Troublemaker in turn was a son of Judith of Bavaria and Heinrich, a younger son of Heinrich the Fowler, the first Ottonian king. Heinrich had been installed as Duke in Bavaria by his brother, the emperor Otto I, after they finally reconciled. His grandson Heinrich II became king in 1002 and emperor in 1014.
4) The coronation was done by a papal legate. Bolesław had to wait so long for papal approval since Heinrich II always opposed his elevation to king.
5) Konrad II (990-1039), the first king and emperor of the Salian dynasty.
6) Richeza's father died about the same time she returned to Germany and received the lands of Saalfeld/Coburg; that coincidence blurs the question whether Saalfeld may have been her dower or her inheritance. Richeza's brother, Count Palatine Otto of Lotharingia, inherited the ancient family possessions at the Rhine; several sisters were abbesses of nunneries at the Rhine.
7) There is some genaological connection between House Andechs and the former margraves of Schweinfurt who had possessions around Saalfeld/Coburg before Richeza and Anno. It seems those old claims were brought up again.
8) Austria had been split off already in 1154 when Heinrich the Lion was granted Bavaria.
9) Friedrich was born 1370, Wilhelm 1371.
10) An English translation was presented to King Henry VIII of England.

Literature
Gerd Althoff: Die Ottonen. 3rd revised edition, Stuttgart, 2013
Egon Boshof: Die Salier. 5th revised edition, Stuttgart, 2008
Odilo Engels: Die Staufer. 9th revised edition, Stuttgart, 2010
Bernd Schneidmüller: Die Welfen - Herrschaft und Erinnerung. Stuttgart, 2000
Wilfried Warsitzka: Die Thüringer Landgrafen. 2nd revised edition, Erfurt, 2009
Guidebook: Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg. Regensburg, 2008
 




The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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The Romans in Wales

Roman Forts - Isca (Caerleon)
The Amphitheatre
The Baths in the Legionary Fort


Mediaeval and Other Places

Germany

- Towns
- Castles
- Abbeys and Churches
- Reconstructed Sites / Museums

Towns

Braunschweig
Medieaval Braunschweig
Lion Benches in the Castle Square
The Quadriga

Erfurt
Mediaeval Erfurt

Goslar
Mediaeval Goslar

Lübeck
St. Mary's Church, Introduction

Magdeburg
Magdeburg Cathedral
St.Mary's Abbey - An Austere Archbishop
St.Mary's Abbey - Reformation to Reunion

Paderborn
Mediaeval Paderborn

Quedlinburg
Mediaeval Quedlinburg
The Chapter Church

Speyer
The Cathedral: Architecture
Cathedral: Richard Lionheart in Speyer
Jewish Ritual Bath

Stralsund
The Harbour

Wismar
The Old Harbour

Xanten
Mediaeval Xanten
The Gothic House

Collected Posts about Towns

Towns in Thuringia
Heiligenstadt
Treffurt

Castles

Brandenburg (Thuringia)
The Double Castle
Role of the Castle in Thuringian History

Coburg Fortress (Bavaria)
The History of the Fortress
The Architecture

Ebersburg (Harz Mountains)
Power Base of the Thuringian Landgraves
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Architecture

Hanstein (Thuringia)
Introduction
Otto of Northeim
Heinrich the Lion and Otto IV
The Next Generations

Hardenberg (Lower Saxony)
Introduction
Hardenberg Castle Gardens

Harzburg (Harz Mountains)
The Harzburg and Otto IV

Hohnstein (Harz Mountains)
Origins of the Counts of Hohnstein
The Family Between Welfen and Staufen
A Time of Feuds (14th-15th century)

Kugelsburg (Hessia)
The Counts of Everstein
Troubled Times
War and Decline

Plesse (Lower Saxony)
Rise and Fall of the Counts of Winzenburg
The Lords of Plesse
Architecture / Decline and Rediscovery

Regenstein (Harz Mountains)
Introduction
The Time of Henry the Lion

Scharzfels (Harz Mountains)
Introduction
History

Wartburg (Thuringia)
A Virtual Tour

Weidelsburg (Hessia)
The History of the Castle
The Architecture
The Castle After the Restoration

Collected Posts about Castles

Castles in the Harz Mountains
Stauffenburg

Castles in Northern Hessia
Grebenstein
Reichenbach
Sichelnstein
Sababurg and Trendelburg

Castles in Lower Saxony
Adelebsen Castle: The Keep
Grubenhagen: A Border Castle
Hardeg Castle: The Great Hall
Salzderhelden: A Welfen Seat

Castles at the Weser
Bramburg: River Reivers
Krukenburg: Castle and Chapel
Castle Polle: An Everstein Seat

Castles in Thuringia
Altenstein at the Werra
Castle Normanstein: Introduction
Castle Scharfenstein

Abbeys and Churches

Bursfelde Abbey
The Early History

Helmarshausen Monastery
Remains of the Monastery
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion

Königslutter Cathedral
The Exterior Decorations

Lippoldsberg Abbey
The Early History
The Interior of the Church

Walkenried Monastery
From Monastery to Museum

Collected Posts about Churches

Early Mediaeval Churches
Göllingen Monastery: Traces of Byzantine Architecture
Lorsch Abbey: The Carolingian Gate Hall

Churches in the Harz Mountains
Pöhlde Monastery: The Remaining Church
Steinkirche (Scharzfeld): Development of the Cave Church

Churches in Lower Saxony
Wiebrechtshausen: Nunnery and Ducal Burial

Churches at the Weser
Fredelsloh Chapter Church
Vernawahlshausen: Mediaeval Murals

Reconstructed Sites / Museums

Palatine Seat Tilleda
The Defenses

Viking Settlement Haithabu
Haithabu and the Archaeological Museum Schleswig
The Nydam Ship

Open Air Museums
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Post-Mediaeval Sites
Historical Guns, Coburg Fortress
Vintage Car Museum, Wolfsburg


England

Towns

Chester
Roman and Medieaval Chester

Hexham
The Abbey - Introduction
The Old Gaol

York
Clifford Tower
The Guild Hall
The Minster - Architecture
Monk Bar Gate and Richard III Museum
Museum Gardens
The Old Town
Along the Ouse River

Castles

Alnwick
Malcolm III and the First Battle of Alnwick

Carlisle
Introduction
Henry II and William of Scotland
Edward I to Edward III

Richmond
From the Conquest to King John
From Henry III to the Tudors
The Architecture

Scarborough
From the Romans to the Tudors
From the Civil War to the Present
The Architecture


Scotland

Towns

Edinburgh
Views from the Castle

Stirling
The Wallace Monument

Castles

Doune
A Virtual Tour of the Castle
The Early Stewart Kings
Royal Dower House, and Decline

Duart
Guarding the Sound of Mull

Dunstaffnage
An Ancient MacDougall Stronghold
The Wars of Independence
The Campbells Are Coming
Dunstaffnage Chapel

Stirling
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle

Abbeys and Churches

Inchcolm Abbey
Arriving at Inchcolm

Other Historical Sites

Picts and Dalriatans
Dunadd Hill Fort
Staffa

Pre-Historic Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae


Wales

Towns

Aberystwyth
Castle and Coast

Caerleon
The Ffwrwm

Conwy
The Smallest House in Great Britain

Castles

Beaumaris
The Historical Context
The Architecture

Caernarfon
Master James of St.George
The Castle Kitchens

Cardiff
From the Romans to the Victorians

Chepstow
Beginnings unto Bigod
From Edward II to the Tudors
Civil War, Restoration, and Aftermath

Conwy
The History of the Castle
The Architecture

Criccieth
Llywelyn's Buildings
King Edward's Buildings

Manorbier
The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

Pembroke
Pembroke Pictures
The Caves Under the Castle


Denmark

Towns

Copenhagen
To come


Norway

Towns

Oslo
The Fram Museum in Oslo

Castles and Fortresses

Arkershus Fortress in Oslo
Introduction
Akershus at the Time of King Håkon V
Architectural Development

Vardøhus Fortress
Defending the North for Centuries


Sweden

Towns

Stockholm
The Vasa Museum

Historical Landscapes

Gotland
Gnisvärd Ship Setting


Finland

Towns

Porvoo
Mediaeval Porvoo


Russia

Towns

St. Petersburg
Isaac's Cathedral
Smolny Cathedral
Impressions from the The Neva River


Estonia

Towns

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Latvia

Towns

Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga


Lithuania

Historical Landscapes

The Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit


Poland

Towns

Gdańsk / Danzig
The History of Mediaeval Gdańsk
Mediaeval and Renaissance Gdańsk

Wrocław / Breslau
The Botanical Garden
The Wrocław Dwarfs

Castles

Ogrodzieniec Castle
A Virtual Tour
From the First Castle to the Boner Family


Czech Republic

Towns

Karlovy Vary / Karlsbad
Brief History of the Town

Kutná Hora
The Sedlec Ossuary


Belgium

Towns

Antwerp
The Old Town

Bruges
Mediaeval Bruges

Ghent
Mediaeval Ghent

Tongeren
Roman and Mediaeval Remains


Luxembourg

Towns

Luxembourg City
A Tour of the Town


France

Towns

Strasbourg
A Tour of the Town


Hiking Tours and Cruises

Germany

The Baltic Sea Coast
The Flensburg Firth
Rugia - Jasmund Peninsula and Kap Arkona
Rugia - Seaside Ressort Binz
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
Ilse Valley and Ilse's Rock
Oderteich Reservoir
Rappbode Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Hessian Switzerland

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
The Hutewald Forest
The Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Thuringian Forests
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park

Rivers and Lakes
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
The Moselle
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut
Weser River Ferry
Weser Skywalk

Wildlife
Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

Seasons
Spring in the Botanical Garden Göttingen
Spring at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath (Meissner)
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser
Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake
Winter Wonderland - Views from my Balcony


United Kingdom

Mountains and Valleys
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Castles Seen from Afar (Dunollie and Kilchurn)
Staffa
Summer Days in Oban
Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
Views of Snowdownia
Views from Castle Battlements

Wildlife
Sea Gulls


Scandinavia

The Hurtigruten-Tour / Norway
A Voyage into Winter
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
From Oslo to Bergen
From Trondheim to Oslo

Wildlife
Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


The Baltic Sea

A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit






Roman History
General Essays

Provinces
- Germania
- Gallia Belgica
- Britannia

Mediaeval History
General Essays

By Country
- Germany
- England
- Scotland
- Wales
- Denmark
- Norway
- Sweden
- Livonia
- Lithuania
- Poland
- Bohemia

Other Times
- Prehistoric Times
- Post-Mediaeval History
-
Miscellanea
- Geology


Roman History

General Essays

The Romans at War

Forts and Fortifications
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Life and Religion

Religion
The Mithras Cult
Isis Worship
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

Public Life
Roman Transport - Barges
Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman villae
Villa Urbana Longuich
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots

Miscellaneous Essays

The Legend of Alaric's Burial


Germania

Wars and Frontiers

Maps
Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

Along the Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg


Gallia Belgica

The Batavians

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction


Britannia

Roman Frontiers in Britain

The Hadrian's Wall
Introduction
The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend


Mediaeval History

General Essays

Mediaeval Art and Craft

Mediaeval Art
Carved Monsters
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Medieaval Craftmanship
Goldsmithery
Medical Instruments

Mediaeval Warfare

Mediaeval Weapons
Swords
Trebuchets

Castles and Fortifications
Dungeons and Oubliettes

Essays about Specific Topics

Feudalism

The History of Feudalism
The Beginnings
Feudalism in the 10th Century

Privileges and Special Relationships
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League

The History of the Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings

Hanesatic Architecture
Examples of Brick Architecture

Goods and Trade
Stockfish Trade

The Order of the Teutonic Knights

Wars and Battles
The Conquest of Danzig
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Vikings

Viking Ships
The Nydam Ship


Germany

Geneaology

List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Geneaologies
Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

Kings and Emperors

The Salian Dynasty
King Heinrich IV

House Welf and House Staufen
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes and Lords

Princes
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars


England

Kings of England

King Henry IV
King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

Great Fiefs - The Honour of Richmond
The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany

Contested Borders

Northumbria
King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Scotland

Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Wales

Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

Rebels

A History of Rebellion
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Denmark

Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Norway

Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

A Time of Feuds

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Livonia
(Latvia and Estonia)

Towns of the Hanseatic League

Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuania

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


Poland

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


Bohemia

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
(to come)


Other Times

Prehistoric Times

Germany

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Orkney

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Scandinavia

Gotland
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd


Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

Biographies

European Nobility
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History in Literature

Biographies of German Poets and Writers
Theodor Fontane

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
(Translated by me)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


Geology

Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


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