Schloss Colditz
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History

  • 1046 Colditz is mentioned for the first time in a historical document when Emperor Heinrich III gives his wife the fort together with property and land which had previously belonged to Marquis Eckehard II.
    1083 Wiprecht von Groitzsch receives Colditz as a present for supporting Emperor Heinrich IV. Von Groitzsch is probably the first to construct a proper castle at Colditz.
  • 1158 Emperor Friedrich I (also known as Barbarossa) declares Colditz an imperial property and appoints Thimo I as Imperial Governor and Lord of Colditz Castle and twenty smaller Slavonic villages. Colditz is an important place at this time. This is the beginning of a dynasty which lasts almost 250 years during which Colditz becomes the object of a long term dispute between the Wettin family and the Marquises of Meissen. After 1200 the town of Colditz is established. Surrounding forest areas and meadows are settled and fallow land is cultivated. At the beginning of the 15th century the important era of the "Masters of Colditz“ comes to an end with the reign of Thimo VIII.
  • 1404 The Wettin family lose the dispute and Colditz passes into the possession of the Marquis of Meissen. This period illustrates the inability of the Emperor to prevent his noblemen from expanding their territories within the empire.
  • 1430 The Hussites, followers of the Czech reformer Jan Hus, occupy Colditz and set fire to both the castle and the town.
  • 1464 A new era in the history of Colditz begins with the reconstruction of Colditz Castle as the residence of Elector Ernst of Saxony, who dies there some years later in 1486.
  • 1486 Cure prince Ernst dies on Colditz Castle.
  • 1504 A bakers apprentice causes a fire destroying the castle and most parts of the town. Two years later the reconstruction of the castle starts again.
  • 1523 A park for wild animals is laid out.
  • 1524 The castle is enlarged by adding more storeys to some of the buildings.
  • 1553 - 1586 Elector August I and his spouse Anna, Princess of Denmark, live in Colditz. Their double coat of arms can still be seen above the second gateway.
    During this period the castle is converted into a hunting lodge. In 1577 August I engages the architect Hans Irmisch to enlarge the castle. The building work is completed by Peter Kummer the Elder in 1582. The result is a thorough renovation of Colditz Castle which preserves late Gothic architectural details from 1464 to 1524, in particular the profiled archway, the ground floor of the prince's residence, and the windows of the chapel. In 1583 Lucas Cranach the Younger is commissioned to do a number of paintings.
  • 1603 Sophie, widow of Elector Christian I, transfers her residence to Colditz Castle from where she then reign over Colditz, Rochlitz, Leisnig and Borna. It is the beginning of a period when culture and commerce flourish in Colditz. Sophie is deeply devoted to the poor, the church and the town. This period comes to an end when she dies in 1622. Used as a hunting lodge and a residence for the widows of Saxon electors, the castle becomes one of numerous centres used by Saxony's administration until 1753.
  • 1694 August the Strong receives Colditz Castle from his sister-in-law and uses it as a hunting lodge.
  • 1697 During the heyday of the Baroque period, when August the Strong becomes the King of Poland, he and his family increasingly neglect the castle and the town. The castle remains solely in use as the administrative centre of Colditz.
  • 1753 Colditz Castle is used by the Elector for the last time. From this period onwards the castle begins to fall into a state of disrepair. 
  • 1787 Remaining furniture and paintings are sold at a public auction.
  • 1800 Colditz Castle is turned into a poorhouse for the area around Leipzig and three years later it becomes a workhouse.
  • 1829 One of the first psychiatric asylums in Germany is established in the castle. Ludwig Schumann, a son of the composer Robert Schumann, and Ernst Georg August Baumgarten (who is considered to be the true inventor of the airship) are admitted.
  • 1864 The stables and the outhouses are replaced by a new building in Renaissance style.
  • 1924 The hospital for the mentally ill is closed.
  • 1933 - 1934 The Castle is used as a “protective custody“ camp to imprison approximately 600 opponents of the Nazis.
  • 1939 - 1945 Colditz Castle becomes a prisoner of war camp for Allied officers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth, France, Belgium, Holland and Poland. The official name of the camp is "OFLAG IV C" and it is claimed that the castle is escape-proof. However, prisoners succeed in making their escape over 30 occassions despite the rocky crags on which the castle stands, the barbed-wire fences, the numerous guards and the searchlights. Every nation has its own escaping officer and one of them, the British officer Pat Reid, later wrote the bestseller "The Colditz Story", which also saw huge success as a film. The prisoners were generally treated according to the terms of the Geneva Convention. When not busy planning their next escape attempts, the prisoners largely spent their days engaged in sports, playing music, reading, rehearsing and performing in plays and learning foreign languages.
  • 1945 - 1946 The castle and the town were liberated by American forces on 16th April 1945. During the following months the castle was used as an internment camp for the families of former landowners whose possessions had been confiscated by the Socialists. 
  • 1946 - 1996 Colditz lies in the eastern region of Germany which became known as the “German Democratic Republic“ under the Socialists and which was a Warsaw Pact country until 1989.
    Colditz Castle is reverts back to a hospital, this time providing medical care for diseases of the ear, throat and eye, and for internal diseases. There is also an operating theatre and a nursing home for 400 patients.
  • 1996 The castle stops being used as a hospital and nursing home. An association is founded to establish Colditz Castle as a cultural centre again.
  • 1997 Reconstruction work in the courtyard of the castle commences. In the course of this work various historical finds are discovered including a wooden ceiling from the 15th and 16th century and remnants of leather wall coverings from the hunting room of Elector August I.
  • 1997 - 2005 Reconstruction and renovation of the castle continues. More than 20 people work in the castle as part of a job creation scheme. First successful events draw public attention back to Colditz Castle.
  • Colditz Castle is property of the State of Saxony and also a part of the state castle unity “Palaces, Castles and Gardens” under the lead of Rochlitz Castle. Colditz Castle Community has rooms available to let for business, culture and trade events. Since 2003 Colditz Castle Community is the owner of the town museum and its rooms.
letzte Aktualisierung: 13.04.2014 11:15 Uhr


projektgefördert durch
Kulturraum Landkreis Leipzig
Schloss Colditz
Öffnungszeiten:
  • April – Oktober
    täglich 10.00 Uhr – 17.00 Uhr
  • November – März
    täglich 10.00 Uhr – 16.00 Uhr
  • 23.12. – 26.12., 31.12., 01.01. geschlossen
Schlossführungen:
(mit Schwerpunkt Geschichte des Offizierslagers 1939 - 1945)
  • April – Oktober
    täglich Führungen 10.30 Uhr/13.00 Uhr/15.00 Uhr
  • November – März
    täglich Führungen 11.00 Uhr/14.30 Uhr
  • Führungen speziell zur Schlossgeschichte des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts bitten wir vorher anzumelden.
Eintritt:
Bitte beachten Sie, dass nur BARZAHLUNG möglich ist.
  • Fluchtmuseum
    4,00 Euro
  • Schlossführung
    9,00 Euro
  • reduzierter Tarif
    7,50 Euro
    (Schüler, Studenten, Schwerbeschädigte)
  • Gruppe
    (ab 16 Personen) 7,50 Euro pro Person
  • reduzierter Gruppentarif
    (ab 16 Personen) 5,50 Euro pro Person (Schüler, Studenten, Schwerbeschädigte)
  • Familienkarte
    29,50 Euro
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