History of the Fortress
The origins of the fortress cannot be definitely determined. The first time it is officially mentioned dates back to 1249. The fortress dominated the area for centuries by Praedum Crana, who had come to Bamberg in 1122 traveling on river valleys and the most important routes across the Franconian Forest to Thuringia. The town of Kroanch itself was first documented as a town in 1003 and the fortress offered much protection is all great wars. The town, nor the fortress, have never been conquered in the long history of their existence.
The early building on the Rosenberg became the castle of the prince-bishop and was, thus, immured and enlarged in the years that followed. Another section of walls, along with the Arsenal-Gate in the South, the Old Arsenal (which was only one story at that time) and the former construction of the present-day Commander's Building, were developed under the reign of the prince-bishop Philipp von Henneberg (1475-1487).
After the experiences of the Margrave War in 1553, the prince-bishop Veit II von Würtzburg ordered his master builder Daniel Engelhardt to complete the ward as a four-winged fortification. Soon extensions and new constructions of the Old and New Arsenal followed. In the 1570s bastionsthe (front carriage of the contemporary pentagon) were developed.
The worst time for the town and the fortress happened to be the Thirty-Year War, when the Swedish tried to capture Kronach several times from 1632 to 1634. Due to the steadfastness of the inhabitants and to the defence readiness of the fortress, whose outer ring still consisted of soil and wood bastions at that time, the plan had failed. The Swedish left Kronach.
After the Thirty-Year War the fortress Rosenberg was armed with lithic bastions in their contemporary shape. In 1699, under the reign of prince-bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn (1693-1729), the fortification was finished.
The earthworks on the flat northern side were constructed by command of Friedrich Karl von Schönborn and Johann Philipp Anton von Franckenstein in the mid-1800s. The famous Franconian master builders Maximilian von Welsch (born in Kronach), Balthasar Neumann and Johann Michael Küchel were involved as consulters and constructors.
In 1802, Kronach and Rosenberg became part of Bavaria, and explains why the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte - a coalition partner of Bavaria against Prussia- was able to stay at the fortress and start his campaign.
In 1867, Rosenberg lost its fort property and in 1888 the town of Kronach acquired it for 32,000 Deutsche Mark, and still own it today.
During the First World War, the fortress served as a prison camp for officers. One of the inmates was the later French president Charles de Gaulle. After World War II, several refugees found shelter in the fortress. Some years later, flats were set up in the Old Arsenal and The Commander's Building. Some of them still existed in the 1970s.
Because of the Franconian Gallery and the Museum of the Franconian Forest (which is under construction) and due to several other establishments, the fortress Rosenberg has become a cultural center for the entire region.