Laying the foundation
The foundation stone of
the Petersberg Citadel was laid on June 01 1665. Today it is one
of the few 17th century citadels whose important structures have
The citadel was
commissioned by Philipp von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Mainz
and Arch-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German
The Petersberg juts far
into the medieval core of the Erfurt city. In early times it was
used as a place of worship and refuge and served as a site for a
Franconian castle and the St. Peter and Paul Benedictine
monastery after which the Petersberg was named.
Italian period of
Under the supervision of
the Italian master builder, Antonio Petrini stonemasons and
labourers built four mighty bastions and the gatehouse with a
baroque portal in only three years, from 1665-68.
French period of
A further four bastions
had been erected in accordance with the neo-Italian art of
fortification design. The area situated in front of the citadel
was reinforced according to the art of the French fortress master
builder, Vauban, under the supervision of Maximilian von Welsch,
another master builder at the court of the Elector of Mainz.
The Frech emperor,
Napoleon Bonaparte, had the citadel strengthened in 1812-13. From
November 1813 to May 1814, it had to fulfil its defensive task
only one single time by withstanding the Prussian besiegers, who
were far superior in numbers to the French garrisoned in the
Prussian period of
From 1816 to 1868 the
citadel was reinforced according to the neo-Prussian art of
fortification design, from which the "New Guard-House",
the defensive barracks, gunpowder stores, caponiers, wells and a
war-time bakehouse with its bombproof covering survive today.
The Petersberg citadel
thus reflects European fortification and siege craft design from
the 17th to the 19th centuries.
In 1991 the Thuringian
Regional Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments and
the City of Erfurt decided to secure and renovate the important
secular monument for public use. This decision has been regarded
as a base warrant for upgrading the status of a so far hitherto highly neglected
area of the city.
As a once famous
monument that crowned the city as the site of historic events, the
Petersberg has once more again become a place of interest you should
not miss when visiting Erfurt's old city.
text: Karsten Grobe,