German architecture: History in stone
German architecture has a very long history indeed. To be frank, we can only talk about a specifically ‘German’ architectual lineage in the broadest of terms. It would be more accurate to describe German architecture as a collage of different eras, numerous cultures and a vast array of influences. Some well-preserved buildings date back to the time of the Roman Empire, including the Porta Nigra in Trier, which was erected in around 170 CE. Germany is best known, however, for its abundant castles and palaces. In times gone by, the country was divided into lots of autonomous little territories, which were ruled by innumerable kings, princes, dukes and counts. This accounts for the stately buildings found up and down the land, from mighty strongholds to fairytale palaces. Local rulers built their symbols of power here, there and everywhere. It’s hard to pin down the exact number of castles in Germany, but estimates are in the range of 25,000, which might well be a record-breaking tally!
From Antiquity to the present day, architecture has moved with the times.
Lots of important buildings were constructed between 800 and 1800 – the swathe of time between the Pre-Romantic age and Classicism. They included minsters, churches and cathedrals. Imposing architecture dating back through history can still be admired in many German cities today; indeed, some 43 of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Yet there’s plenty to enjoy for fans of modern architecture, too, with contemporary buildings aplenty. The Reichstag building in Berlin, the Allianz Arena in Munich and the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt am Main are all prime examples. As you travel through Germany, you’ll come across these witnesses in stone, telling captivating tales from the age in which they were built.
Discover Germany’s unique atmosphere!
Countless castles, architectural highlights and romantic little historic quarters: discover Germany's treasure trove of wonders.