From the site of a former castle to the "Kaiserpfalz".

Building history

In 1377 Lambert von Brunn, Bishop of Bamberg (1374/75 – 1389) acquired „Haus- und Hofreit in der Stadt Vorchheim uf dem Burgstall" (House and it´s estate in the town of Forchheim on the site of a former castle) and erected a large, representative new building to the east of the old Burgstall.

The town castle is 35x40 metres in size.  An almost square complex, it is accessible from the north and the south via drawbridges and gates. A wide moat separates it from the town.

The bower in the mighty stone east wing has 5 storeys with numerous functions. Here you will find the cellar, the former court room, audience and banqueting halls as well as a residental floor.

The outer walls of the “Kaiserpfalz“ are 2 metres thick. Another special feature there is stone chamber with air heating to heat the large hall on the ground floor.

In 1517 the complex was extended under Bishop Georg III. Schenk von Limpurg. The upper floors of the west wing are rebuilt in half-timbering from 1516 to 1518. The northern part was built in 1558. The superstructure of the north and south walls was built after the Margrave´s War of 1552/ 1553, when the Margrave of Kulmbach, Albrecht Alkibiades, succeeded in briefly capturing Forchheim.

In the 16th century, many more bishops stayed in Forchheim. Thus the “Kaiserpfalz“ was also repeatedly altered, modernised and adapted to suit the needs of representation.

In the 30 Years‘ War of 1618-1648, in times of danger, the complex served as a secure storage facility for the Bamberg Cathedral treasure and the church treasure of St. Martin, Forchheim.

With the secularisation of 1803, the territories of the former high diocese of Bamberg fall to the Bavarian state and the Kingdom of Bavaria became the new owner of Forchheim`s “Kaiserpfalz”.

In 1830 the Gothic wall murals were rediscovered by chance under a thick layer of plaster.

The 20th century dawns and the Bavarian state, which by now owns the building, announces plans to set up a lunatic asylum or warehouse in the castle. Rumour has it that the building is even threatened with demolition. The citizens of Forchheim raise in uproar against this.

In 1905, Forchheim notables, led by the grammar school school teacher and second mayor Dr.  Hans Räbel, joined forces to form the "Forchheim Historical Society". The aim was to preserve the “Kaiserpfalz“, to set up a museum in it and to cultivate the history of the region from then on.

The association collected 353 paintings, graphics, photographs and household objects -above all the excavation finds from the Ehrenbürg - from the local population.

The Pfalzmuseum celebrated its grand opening on 2 July, 1911.  Years of ups and downs followed for the museum, culminating in the general renovation from 1998 to 2004.