The culturally and historically significant monument of Stolpen Castle has always been of importance to the country’s history, both as a secondary residence of the Meissen bishops and during the time of electoral rule. Depending on the requirements and possibilities of the respective eras, the castle was permanently subject to structural changes. It saw its conversion into Stolpen Palace, became a fortress and represents itself partially as a ruin today. Its master builders had to take into account the castle’s fortification purposes at all times.
The basalt mountain of Stolpen counts among the most important volcanic rock deposits in the Saxon-North-Bohemian region and is regarded a natural monument and »National Geotope«. The castle well of a depth of almost 85 meters is the deepest well on Earth ever driven into basalt and left in natural stone (unsupported).
Stolpen used to be situated in the border area of the Meissen Margraviate and the territories east of the Elbe River, inhabited by the Slavs. First, unproven evidence of fortifications on the basalt mountain date back to 1100. The name ‘Stolpen’ is of Slavic origin and means as much as ‘pillar’ or ‘place of pillars’.