A look at the old town
1. Dr.-Stammberger-Hall/Community Hall
The Community Hall was built in the eighties as a modern conference and event centre during the term of Lord Mayor Dr. Erich Stammberger. In memory of his long tenure as Lord Mayor (1971 - 1995) and subsequent honorary citizen of Kulmbach, the Hall was named „Dr. Stammberger Hall" in 2008.
2. The White Tower
As part of the town wall, the White Tower belonged to the town's medieval fortifications in the early 14th century. Together with the neighbouring fortified tower of Bürgerloch, the White Tower forms an enclosed double-towered gateway.
3. Rentamtsgässchen/Langheimer Amtshof
At the end of the 17th Century, the wealthy Zisterzienser monastery in Langheim near Lichtenfels decided to build an official building in Kulmbach to administer its property and produce and commissioned the baroque architect Johann Leonard Dientzenhofer with the planning of the building. For the southern Prelate's construction, Dientzenhofer designed a prestigious gabled facade. The "Zehntstadel" added on to the western side was used to store contributions in kind to the monastery. After 1803, this served as the seat of the revenue office, subsequently the tax office. Today, the former monastery official building serves various educational institutions, such as the Academy for New Media.
4. The Red Tower
The Red Tower is part of the town's fortifications from the 13th century. This five-storeyed tower, with a timberframed top floor, housed the apartments of the town piper and fire watchman.
Tip: from here it's only a few minutes to Plassenburg Castle!
5. The Protestant Petri Church
The stately, late gothic hall church was built in 1439. After being destroyed in the margrave war, it was rebuilt beginning in 1559. From 1878 - 1880 this protestant house of worship was redesigned in neo-Gothic style.
Worth seeing are the imposing altar construction, which depicts the Deposition of Christ (by sculptors Brenk and Schlehdorn 1650 - 1653), and the tower clock, which displays the words "Wachet - Betet" (be watchful and pray) instead of numerals.
6. Margrave Chancery/Princess' House
The baroque outside staircase on the Petri Church affords a view, from about halfway down on the right, of the Renaissance building that housed the former Margrave Chancery (Administration of the Principality of Kulmbach). At the bottom of the stairs and across the street is the Princess' House of 1729 (former dwelling of the Margravine Christiane Sophie Wilhelmine, who was banished there by the Bayreuth Court due to an "indiscretion").
7. The Schlösslein
The tour leads further over the "Schießgraben" (part of the old town fortifications) to the "Schlösslein" (former castle estate). The architect of this Renaissance construction built in 1571 was master builder Caspar Vischer, who was also commissioned with rebuilding the Plassenburg Castle after the great town fire on the Feast Day of Saint Conrad of Constance in 1553. To the left is the Margrave Georg Friedrich Gymnasium (Secondary School), in which Thomas Gottschalk, among others, was taught.
8. Catholic Parish Church of Our Lady
Further along the "Schießgraben" (the name „Schießgraben" resulted from the firing exercises that took place until 1722 in the trench) is the neo-Gothic Church of Our Lady (1892/1894). From here, there is a fantastic postcard-perfect view across the Old Town to Plassenburg Castle, and it is well worth a side trip to the late 19th century villa quarter situated on the left. This affluent location motivated many factory owners in the newly industrialized town to establish themselves here in prestigious style.
9. Bauergasse - Oberhacken
Along the "Schießgraben", on the right at the bottom of the stairs is the "Heilingschwertturm" (14th Century), which today houses the Adult Education Centre. The semi-circular tower was described earlier as the Herb Tower, as it was used for drying of medicinal herbs. It adjoins the 17th Century "Buckelquaderturm" (rusticated ashlar tower) and the 14th Century "Fronveste", the site of a former prison. The old craftsmen's quarter of "Oberhacken" awaits you with a row of well-preserved timber-framed buildings, including the large "Michel-Weiß-Haus" (named after local artist Michel Weiß 1867 - 1951).
10. The Bath House
From "Oberhacken", it is worth a side trip to the Bath House, which was first mentioned officially in 1398 and was used until the 19th Century as a public bath house. The Bath House is one of only eight scientifically researched and restored public bath houses in all of Germany.
Opened year-round: Fr - Sun 1 - 5 p. m., free admission
11. The Rathaus (Town Hall)
The walking tour leads further to the Town Hall, which was built by Johann Georg Hoffmann in 1752. The elegant rococo facade is the work of the Bayreuth Court Architect Joseph Saint-Pierre. It is the official office of the Lord Mayor. The symbolic figures of wisdom (book) and justice (scales) are intended as a reminder that sagacity and fairness are essential for community leadership.
12. Marketplace with the Luitpold Well
The marketplace forms the centre of town life. All around the classical Luitpold Well (1898: M. Dülfert) is an everyday hustle-and-bustle: shops, street cafés and the weekly farmer's market on Wednesdays and Saturdays enliven the marketplace.
The Vereinshaus, or Clubhouse, was built in 1884 in place of the medieval "Kornhaus", or grain house, and served as an event centre until the "Dr.-Stammberger-Hall"/Community Hall was built.
Also worth seeing:
Büttner Memorial (reminder of the cooper's trade that was pushed out as a craft trade by the introduction of steel tanks in the brewing industry and the victory of the beer bottle)
„Hans von Kulmbach" Memorial (actually Hans Suess, prominent son of the town, German painter 1480-1522, assistant and friend of Albrecht Dürer)
Three-dimensional bronze sculpture of the Kulmbach Old Town including the fortress hill and Plassenburg Castle (the true-to-scale model at the marketplace is designed to invite not only the sight impaired to „feel" the city with their hands).
13. The Zinsfelder Well
Across the "Langgasse" (formerly a long-distance trading street, today a pedestrian zone), is the "Holzmarkt" (timber market). At its centre is the Zinsfelder Well, which was erected in 1660 in front of the Town Hall and later moved to its present location. The name Zinsfelder refers to a medieval „council servant", who collected the market penny (tax) in the marketplace (square) and watched out there for law and order and honesty. He stands as a Roland statue for market freedom.
14. The Spitalkirche (Hospital Church)
Where the present "Bürgerhospital" (home for the aged) stands, there was an Elizabethan hospital with chapel in the middle ages. The present-day church (J. Gg. Hofmann, 1738) with wooden galleries and pulpit altar is a prototype of the so-called margrave churches. From 1804 until 1894, Protestant/Lutheran and Roman Catholic services took place here next to each other.
16. Bavarian Brewery and Bakery Museum
At the foot of Plassenburg Castle is the tradition-steeped Kulmbacher Mönchshof. For more than 600 years, Franconian brewing traditions and hospitality have been preserved at this site, today through the Mönchshof Brewery and the Bavarian Brewery and Bakery Museum. Here one can be immersed in a world of typical Bavarian hospitality and acquire almost playfully an in-depth knowledge about beer and baking culture.
Open: year-round, Tuesdays - Sundays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and by appointment
15. Plassenburg Castle
The castle is only a few minutes on foot from the centre of town. Just follow the medieval "Stadtgässchen" (town lane). Those who don't want to walk can use the convenient bus from the central parking lot. Driving to the castle with a personal bus or car is not permitted.
Plassenburg Castle - the symbolic landmark of the city - is not only one of the most significant historical monuments of Upper Franconia; it is hands down the most beautiful viewing point in the district of Kulmbach.
Plassenburg Castle has served a variety of functions (military hospital, prison, and prisoner of war camp), until beginning in 1929 various museums took up residence.
Chief among these is the German Pewter Figure Museum. The museum has roughly ten times more figures than there are residents in Kulmbach and is the largest exhibition of its type in the world. The highlight of a visit to the museum is the world's largest tableau, in which almost 20.000 miniature pewter figures depict a reenactment of the Feast Day of St. Conrad of Constance (town fire 1553 - complete destruction of Kulmbach).
The Obermain Museum in the west wing of the castle transforms history into an exciting journey into the past. Audio features, computer animations and video productions make the visitor familiar with the history of the Kulmbach region.
Those who would like to learn more about the history of the castle can take a tour through the interior rooms. The margrave rooms and the "The Hohenzollerns in Franconia" museum recall the Hohenzollern dynasty in Kulmbach. Before or after the tour, visitors can dip into the "Frederick the Great Military Museum", which covers the history of the Prussian Army in the 18th century.
April - October daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
November - March daily from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed: December 24th, 25th, 31st, and January 1st