From a stronghold to an imperial castle (Kaiserpfalz).

Building History

1377 Lambert von Brunn, bishop of Bamberg (1374/75 – 1389) buys „Haus- und Hofreit in der Stadt Vorchheim uf dem Burgstall" house and stables on the stronghold in the city of Forchheim and builds a big representative new building in the east of the old stronghold.

35x40 Meters is the size of the new city castle, an almost square complex, which can be reached by drawbridges and gates from the north and the south. A wide moat separates the castle from the city.

5 Floors counts the bower in the east wing built of stone with a multitude of functions. Here you may find the cellars, the previous living room, audience chambers and party halls as well as the living floor.

2 Meters thick are the outer walls of the “Kaiserpfalz“. As a special feature there is also a stone chamber hot-air heating, this heats the large hall on the ground floor.

1517 during the rule of Bishop Georg III. Schenk von Limpurg an enlargement of the complex takes place. From 1516 to 1518 the upper floors of the west wing are newly constructed in timber frame. The northern part is built in 1558. The superstructures of the north and south walls are constructed after the margrave war 1552/1553, when margrave Albrecht Alkibiades of Kulmbach succeeds in occupying Forchheim for a short time.

In the 16th century many more bishops resided in Forchheim. This is why the “Kaiserpfalz“ was altered and modernised many times to meet contemporary styles and requirements of representation.

In the Thirty Years‘ War 1618-1648 in times of danger the complex served as safe storehouse for the Bamberg cathedral treasure and the church treasure of Saint Martin.

With the secularisation in 1803 the territories of the prior Bishopric of Bamberg fall to the Bavarian state and new owner of the Forchheim “Kaiserpfalz” is the kingdom of Bavaria.

In 1830 the gothic mural paintings are rediscovered under a thick layer of plaster.

The 20th century dawns and the Bavarian state, in the meantime owner of the building complex, let’s it be known that it plans to open an insane asylum or a storehouse in the “Pfalz”. According to rumours even demolition threatens. Against this the Forchheim citizens are up in arms.

In 1905 dignitaries of Forchheim, led by the High school teacher and second mayor Doctor Hans Räbel, found the historical society of Forchheim (Historischen Verein Forchheim) with the goal to preserve the “Kaiserpfalz“, to open a museum within and from thereon to cultivate the history of the region.

The society collected 353 paintings, graphics, photographies and household objects, mainly however archaeological findings from the Ehrenbürg, from the populace.

On the 2nd July of 1911 the Pfalzmuseum celebrated a glamorous opening. Years of changeful ups and downs for the museum follow, which finally result in the general restoration from 1998 to 2004.