Kronach's charm and Cranach's art
Discover the charm of Kronach on a walk. Experience the historic old town, the impregnable Rosenberg fortress and the works of Renaissance artists such as Lucas Cranach.
Romantic half-timbered houses, enchanting alleyways, a lovingly preserved old town and a fortress that no one has ever conquered - all this, plus art and culinary delights await you on this walk through the town.
A rabbit, skilfully placed on the fortress walls, caused the Swedes to abandon the siege of Kronach during the Thirty Years' War. They had to assume that the people of Kronach were still so well supplied after weeks that they still let the hares graze on the town walls. The hare has been the mascot of the over 1000-year-old town ever since. You can find out how fortresses actually worked in the specially designed museum at Rosenberg Fortress. It is also a feast for the eyes, with works by renowned Renaissance artists such as Lucas Cranach - Kronach's famous son - Veit Stoß and Tilman Riemenschneider on display.
A city tour for explorers, culture lovers and connoisseurs
Start and end station
2 km / 5 Stunden
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
Tour starts on
From the banks of the Haßlach, you can enjoy a picturesque view of Kronach's old town centre. You will see the historic town fortifications, the parish church and the Rosenberg fortress.
After crossing the Haßlach, you come to the Bamberg Gate, the only remaining town gate in Kronach. It was built in the 14th century and partially rebuilt after the Thirty Years' War.
In Lucas-Cranach-Straße, you pass the eastern Renaissance gable of the Old Town Hall. It was built in 1583. Today it is mainly used for cultural purposes. You also pass the market square of the Upper Town and can see the Michaelsbrunnen fountain on your right. It is older than the Old Town Hall and was first mentioned in 1543. However, the stele with the archangel on it was only created in 1672 to commemorate the defence of the town against the Swedish troops.
You will pass the town tower on Festungsstraße. It dates back to the 13th century and is the oldest building in Kronach. The 30 metre high tower served as a watch tower and fire station.
The Rosenberg fortress towers over the town of Kronach on the Rosenberg. It is said that this fortress has never been conquered. Thanks to its impregnability, Kronach was also successfully defended from Swedish troops during the Thirty Years' War. The fortress was first mentioned in 1249, but as the town of Kronach itself was already mentioned in 1003, it can be assumed that there was already a castle or fortress on the Rosenberg at that time, which was both a centre of power and a place of protection for the inhabitants of Kronach. Over the centuries, the fortress was structurally expanded and modified. The oldest part is the medieval keep. The fortress walls and towers date from the 15th and 16th centuries. There are parts of the building from the Renaissance and others from the Baroque period. The early Baroque fortress gate was created by Antonio Petrini.
After the Thirty Years' War, it was decided to modernise the defences. Five star-shaped bastions were built around the fortress in the Baroque style. The construction work lasted from 1650 to 1699 and was accompanied by a number of structural setbacks. One of the five bastions suffered water damage in the meantime and had to be rebuilt.
In 1888, the town of Kronach bought the fortress for 32,000 marks and it has been in municipal ownership ever since. A special highlight for visitors is the guided tour through the extensive underground corridor system.
In the east wing of the castle is the Fürstenbau, the part of the castle where the prince-bishop once resided. The gate located here is the oldest surviving entrance to the core castle. In the Fürstenbau you will find the exhibition "On the history of the Franconian fortresses".
Prince's building of the Rosenberg fortress with fortress museum
If you want to know more about the history of the Franconian fortresses, you can quench your thirst for knowledge in the Fürstenbau at Rosenberg Fortress. The exhibition "Fortresses - Franconia's Bulwarks" shows how the bastions were specially designed to make them difficult or impossible to conquer. The history of firearms is told. How fortresses were designed as residential castles, with pomp and splendour for the rulers, is also shown. The "four-poster bed and straw sack" exhibition area, where the lives of the inhabitants and labourers are portrayed, is very true to life. The exhibition is rich in interactive stations, making it appealing for young people and children.
On the fortress grounds, in the former commandant's building, is the Franconian Gallery, which houses an outstanding collection of important German Gothic and Renaissance artists as well as an exhibition area on the history of the Franconian fortresses.
Franconian Gallery - The treasure house of Franconian art
The branch museum of the Franconian National Museum has been housed in the former commandant's house of the Rosenberg fortress in Kronach since 1983. And they fit in wonderfully here, the masterpieces of famous Franconian painters and sculptors of the late Gothic and Renaissance periods, i.e. the 13th to 16th centuries. Numerous works by Lucas Cranach the Elder are exhibited in the 13 rooms of the museum. As a son of the city, he is of course particularly well-placed here. But works by Tilman Riemenschneider, Hans Süß von Kulmbach, Veit Stoß and other masters can also be admired.
The "Bastion Marie" fortress restaurant is located on the grounds of the fortress
Bastion Marie fortress restaurant
The south-western of the five baroque bastions is now home to the "Bastion Marie" fortress restaurant. Its beer garden is considered one of the most beautiful in Franconia. From here, guests have a sweeping view over Kronach and the surrounding countryside.
The restaurant has over a hundred seats inside, and it is often said that there are "endless" seats available outside. Good Franconian cuisine is on offer. The ingredients come from the region. The beer is also brewed in the region. A good place to recharge your batteries for the descent down to Kronach.
You pass the market square on its eastern side. Here stands the Lehlauben or witches' tower, built in 1444, with some elements added in 1614. The basement was used as a prison until the 18th century, including for people accused of witchcraft.
After walking down Pottugässchen, you come to Melchior-Otto-Platz. The column of honour here was erected after the Thirty Years' War in honour of the then Prince-Bishop Melchior Otto. He had given the town its new coat of arms after the war, which commemorates the hard fighting with which the people of Kronach successfully defended themselves against their attackers.
Parish church of St John the Baptist
The parish church of St John the Baptist is built in the Gothic style. A predecessor church had already stood on this site in the 12th century. After it collapsed in 1404, the current three-aisled nave was built by 1406. Construction of the western part of the church began around 1510 and continued until 1630. In the meantime, the sale of indulgences had collapsed under the influence of the Reformation, meaning that the church had less financial room for manoeuvre. In the 1550s, two more storeys and the pointed spire were added to the tower. Around 1770, the sacristy was added to the south side of the church.
Due to many restorations, the interior is hardly preserved in its original state. The oldest items include the sandstone baptismal font from 1560, with a relief depicting the baptism of Christ, and an offering box, also made of sandstone, at the back of the church.
Tour ends on
On Marienplatz square, you will come across the Rose Tower, part of the town fortifications that helped to defend the town from the Hussites in 1430/31. Before you cross the Haßlach on the direct route to the railway station, we recommend a stop at Katja's Café in Bahnhofstraße 9, where you can round off a day full of impressions with a cosy afternoon snack or homemade cake. Katja's Café is closed on Tuesdays and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all other days except Saturdays, and until 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
From here it is only a few minutes' walk to Kronach railway station, where your train will take you home again.