Johannisburg Castle — Masterpiece With Mediterranean Flair

Johannisburg Castle is regarded as a wondrous gem of the Renaissance period. With its distinctive red sandstone exterior, Schloss Johannisburg, as it’s called in German, is an instantly recognizable and world-famous attraction.

About The Johannisburg Castle And Its History

The Johannisburg Castle is little bit younger than many of its Bavarian brethren. Its first incarnation can be traced back to the 14th century when a majestic and massive castle stood here, until it was destroyed during the Margrave War in 1552.

The current castle was constructed from the years 1604 to 1615 by Georg Ridinger, a simple mason from Strasbourg. Johannes Schweikhard von Kronberg was the first to reside here but his reign was rather short-lived. The Swedish King Gustav Adolphus conquered it in 1631. He had decided to destroy the castle until a clever monk convinced him otherwise.

The story goes that the King said although it would be a pity to destroy such a grand place, since he couldn’t bring it back to Sweden with him, he had no use for it. The Capuchin monk pointed at the round emblems, known as the Wheels of Mainz, on the castle decor and joked that the King could use the wheels to roll Johannisburg up to Sweden. Gustav enjoyed the joke so much, that he spared the castle. ;-)

This Renaissance masterpiece, Johannisburg, was used as a secondary residence for the archbishops and electors of Mainz for just about two hundred years. However, the tumult of the 20th century would prove too much for this spectacular place.

During World War II, Schloss Johannisburg was reduced to a smoldering ruin. Thanks to the excellent historical records of the castle, reconstruction began swiftly and by 1964, Johannisburg had been restored.

Johannisburg Castle Highlights And Features


Johannisburg Castle is home to some very unique and interesting museums and exhibits. One of the more unusual is the vast collection of architectural models build entirely of cork, the largest in the world. Most of the building models are famous structures from ancient Rome, like the Colosseum.

The National Gallery is also housed within the castle walls. The gallery contains what is reputedly the largest collection of paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Palace Gardens

The Palace Gardens are often one of the most pleasant parts of your visit to Germany’s castles. Schloss Johannisburg has an exquisite garden.

When its fortifications were torn down, vineyards, fruit and vegetable gardens went up to replace the old stone walls. The result is a picturesque bit of nature in all its color and beauty. The columns of chestnut trees are also a feast for the eyes. They are meant to echo the Hall of Columns.

The Pompeiianum

The Pompeiianum is a distinctive part of the Palace Gardens. The aura of the Mediterranean world has been brought to Germany with this lovely array of fruit trees and flowers. The Mediterranean garden (along with a rather mild climate) has given Johannisburg the nickname of the “Bavarian Nice.” The similarity to the French seaside city was noted by King Ludwig I who coined the phrase.

Johannisburg Castle Location And Opening Hours

You can find the glorious castle of Johannisburg in that magical region of Franconia, in the city of Aschaffenburg.

If you own a navigation system, simply input the street address of Schlossplatz 4 in Aschaffenburg to find your way here. The A26 is the closest autobahn to the city.

If you are using public transportation, the ride here is quite easy and convenient. From the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) in Aschaffenburg, you can catch a cab for the short 5 minute journey. If you want a little exercise, you can walk the distance in less than 10 minutes. It’s just about 1 km, or half a mile. Buses 1, 4, 6 and 8 will also get you there.

Johannisburg Castle Opening Hours

Schloss Johannisburg is open year round, except for Mondays and a handful of holidays. If you show up here on New Years, Christmas or Shrove Tuesday, the castle is closed.

Regular hours are 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m from April to September. From October to March, the hours shorten to just 10:00 a.m until 4:00 p.m.


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