Callenberg Castle – A historical overview
Castle Callenberg has been owned and used by the Saxe-Coburg und Gotha Ducal Family for centuries. It has evolved over time to reflect the stylistic and architectural preferences of generations of dukes and princes. However it remains a constant link between the family’s past and present and it is proudly owned by the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family today.
The family’s historical connections among the nobility of Europe (please see Family History) resulted in an incredible guest list over the years. One of the most notable historical visitors to Castle Callenberg memorialized the castle in her diary with the following quote:
“A little steep, the way up to Callenberg castle, but once you have arrived there, you can enjoy a nice cup of tea in a beautiful surrounding“ – Queen Victoria of England
A chronology of Castle Callenberg’s interesting history is detailed below.
In 1122 a certain “Thiemo de Chalwinberch” is mentioned in a document. This ennobled family can be traced back to Callenberg until 1231. The last ennobled freed-man residing in Callenberg, Ulrich III., sold the castle to the bishopric of Wurzburg in 1231. However already in the following year the castle belonged to the Earl Poppo VII of Henneberg. In 1313 the knight Hermann Hunt (Hund) von Sternberg acquired “Fortress Callenberg” from Earl Berthold VII. of Henneberg and maintained it as feudal tenure.
Through devolution the castle became the property of Duke Johann Casimir of Saxe-Coburg in 1588, after the death of the last von Sternberg. Until 1825 the ducal treasury and the Castle of Callenberg were property of the Dukes of Saxe- Meiningen. It is only in 1826 that the Coburg Dukes become owners of Callenberg Castle again.
In 1831 the reconstruction of the upper castle was concluded, after Carl Alexander of Heideloff’s plans. In 1856/57, under the reign of Duke Ernst II. the lower part of the castle is altered in Neogothic style. Until 1945 the castle was the summer residence of the Coburg Dukes.
After extensive restoration the former summer home of the Coburg Dukes was restored and since 1998 lodges the collection of ducal art treasures, with precious pieces of furniture, paintings, porcelain, traditional handicrafts and a selection of weapons from four centuries.