The Wülzburg towers high above Weißenburg. Margrave Georg Friedrich the Elder from Brandenburg-Ansbach had the fortress built in 1588 on the southern border of his territory near the former imperial town of Weißenburg. With the castle, he created an impressive bastion of power, which serves as a unique relic of renaissance fortress building in Germany: The layout is almost a perfect pentagon, inspired by Italian fortresses.
Nowadays, visitors can discover the Wülzburg by way of a fascinating tour, which includes information about the aristocratic inhabitants of the castle in its later years: During the Thirty Years War, Count Friedrich von Solms sought refuge here; his sister Margravine Sofie fled from the Swedes to the Wülzburg in 1631. The fortress was a prison camp during the First World War. There are legendary tales concerning the famous inmate Charles de Gaulle and his "laundry basket getaway". Composer Erwin Schulhoff also spent a year imprisoned at the fortress before passing away. He continued composing during this time and completed the drafts of his two final pieces.
During the walking tour you discover why the Wülzburg is known as "Palazzo in fortezza", in other words, as an impressive demonstration of power by the Margrave. Its location directly adjacent to the imperial town of Weißenburg and the provincial commander of the German Order in Ellingen was rightly interpreted as a provocation. The imperial town forbade its citizens from working for the Margrave and punished them if they did so. The pride of being an imperial town can still be felt in Weißenburg to this day: At Ellinger Tor the town crest, which dates back to 1481, still points to the special position of the town – the people of Weißenburg looked only to the Emperor; they were not subject to any Prince Regnants. Anyone wishing to find out more about the history of the imperial town, should visit the Weißenburg Reichsstadt Museum; alternatively, you can immerse yourself in a bygone era by taking part in a "StadtGeplauder" guided tour in costume.