History 2017-09-26T12:11:33+00:00

History of Erlangen’s Burgberg (Castle Mount)

Photos by Laura Baxter

Erlangen’s Water Tower

The Burgberg: A Place of History, Culture, Shelter, and Relaxation

The Burgberg (Castle Mount) in Erlangen is rich in history and tradition and has been essential part of the Erlangen life for over 1000 years.

The city of Erlangen, known as the City of Medicine because of its university and revered medical facilities, was first mentioned in documents in the year 1002 a.d. as Villa Erlangon. In 1361 it was sold to Emperor Karl IV. From the beginning of the 15th century Erlangen was given to the House of Hohenzollern and remained under the reign of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth until it joined Bavaria during the Nepoleonic occupation in 1810.

During the 17th century, Erlangen was a refuge for thousands of Hugenotten refugees, seeking to flee religious persecution in France, and in the 18th century the university was moved here from Bayreuth, because the students were considered to be too rowdy for the city of Bayreuth. Both of these events caused the city to grow and develop into the city of over 100,000 that she is today. Over the centuries Erlangen has been home to many scholars and thought leaders including Friedrich Rückert, Emmy Noether, August von Platen-Hallermünde, Johann Ludwig TIeck, and Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder.

Erlangen’s Burgberg marks the northern boundary of the city and is a place of solitude and nature. The water tower on top of the Burgberg supplies the city with water, and for many years the Burgberg itself was a stone quarry providing sandstone for the buildings in Erlangen and the surrounding area.

The abundance of nature makes the Burgberg a favorite place for walks, quietude, and relaxation.

The Platen House

The Burgberg is also home to many significant historical and cultural places. In the summer of 1825 the famous author August Graf von Platen lived in a small house on the north side of the Burgberg where he wrote his tragiccomedy Der Schatz des Rhamsinit (“The Treasure of Rhampsinitos”).

In 1844 the train route from Nürnberg to Bamberg was completed, and in order to complete the route through Erlangen, it was necessary to build a tunnel through the Burgberg. The 306.65 meter tunnel was the very first train tunnel in Bavaria.

The Burgberg is also home to the Jewish cemetary in Erlangen the oldest grave of which dates back to 1891.

At the end of the 17th century the Erlangen breweries cut a labyrinth of cellars into the Burgberg rock to cool and store their beer. A total of 16 cellars over 21 kilometers long were dug. These cellars were not only used to store beer, but they were also used as a “refrigerator” for the city before the modern refrigerator was invented. Ice was stored in the cellars to supply the ice boxes in people’s homes. In addition, the beer cellars were used as a bomb shelter during WWII.

The Jewish Cemetary

The Bergkirchweih Beer Festival

The Burgberg is also a place of entertainment. Every year since 1755, beginning on the Thursday before Pentecost, one of the largest beer festivals in Germany happens on the Burgberg, the so-called Bergkirchweih. More than one million visitors come to the 10-day beer festival each year not only to drink the local beer but also to enjoy the amusement park rides and to listen to the music of local bands.

And then there’s the Burgberg Garden. The Burgberg Garden was created in 1972 by combining several of the older gardens on the hill. In 1982 the sculptor Heinrich Kirchner was commissioned to create a seiries of large sculptures along the paths in the Burgberg Garden. A few of these are pictured below.

This rich history of culture and tradition influence the values and the vision of Castle Mount Media. In our pursuit to improve leadership and communication, we strive to bring together culture, history, tradition, and mindfulness to make our clients stronger, better informed, and better prepared to lead in this ever-changing world.

Sculpture by Heinrich Kirchner

Further Sculptures in the Burgberg Garden

Overgrown stairs from a long-lost garden

The beginning of a poem written by Friedrich Rückert, who was said to have come to the Burgberg for solitude and reflection. Composer Uwe Strübing set this poem, “Ich stand auf Berges Halde” to music for a concert on the 200th anniversary of Rückert’s death, January 31, 2016

One of the many paths on the Burgberg

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