Erfurtian castle from the 14th cent. with remains of the Romanesque castle of the castellans of Kirchberg from the 12th cent., castle complex of various buildings, surrounded by an outer defensive wall and a moat, donjon and kitchen building
The village of Kapellendorf, first documented in 833, lies in the triangle between Weimar, Jena and Apolda, a particularly scenic area full of history; the village is dominated by the imposing medieval castle complex. Contrary to their heyday from the mid-12th century onwards castle and village are now wonderfully quiet because the trade routes which used to intersect here now run some kilometres further away as six-laned asphalt roads.
The chronicle tells us of poor lords of the castle and of the wealthy city of Erfurt as the owner, of robber barons who occasionally used the castle as their dreaded hideout, of Goethe and his wife Christiane who bought groceries from the local farmers, or of Friedrich Schiller whose son was trained here after the duchy of Sachsen-Weimar had set up legal and revenue offices in the castle. Time and again the castle was also used as military quarters. In October 1806 it became the Prussian headquarter – shortly before the Prussians were utterly destroyed in a battle against Napoleon’s troops near Kapellendorf. Later on soldiers of the German Reichswehr used the castle as barracks – with all the negative consequences of such an occupation. The complex has been used for museum purposes for half a century. The moated castle has also established itself as a place for small concerts and cultural events.
The moated castle of Kapellendorf developed from a motte-and-bailey castle with enceinte. Today’s spacious appearance goes back to phases of extension and rebuilding especially from the mid-14th century onwards and again around the late 17th century. The entire complex is dominated by the towers, such as the gate tower and the oubliette tower, both presumably dating back to the 15th century.
In the bailey there are impressive remains of the former core of the castle, including the kitchen, the foundation walls of the late Romanesque keep, and the five-storeyed donjon, also named Kemenate.