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’.
TheBasteiis arock formationtowering 194 metres above theElbe Riverin theElbe Sandstone MountainsofGermany. Reaching a height of 305 metres above sea level, the jagged rocks of the Bastei were formed bywater erosionover one million years ago. They are situated nearRathen, not far fromPirnasoutheast of the city ofDresden, and are the majorlandmarkof theSaxon Switzerland National Park. They are also part of a climbing and hiking area that extends over the borders into theBohemian Switzerland(Czech Republic).
Königstein Fortress(German:Festung Königstein), the “SaxonBastille”, is a hilltopfortressnearDresden, inSaxonSwitzerland,Germany, above the town ofKönigsteinon the left bank of theRiverElbe. It is one of the largest hilltopfortificationsin Europe and sits atop thetable hill of the same name.
The 9.5 hectare rockplateaurises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steepsandstonefaces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.