|Crown of Franconia|
|Aerial view of the Veste from the west|
|Condition||preserved or largely preserved|
|Occupants||Dukes of Saxony|
The Veste Coburg, or Coburg fortress, is one of Germany's largest castles. It is situated on a hill above the city of Coburg. The Veste Coburg (also called the "Franconian Crown") dominates the town of Coburg in Bavaria's border with Thuringia. Within sight is located in the Thuringian border with Bavaria, the sister-castles Veste Heldburg (also called the "Franconian light"), once a secondary residence and hunting lodge of the Dukes of Coburg. The Veste Coburg was the historical seat of the independent duchy of Coburg in Franconia, which now is part of the German state of Bavaria. Martin Luther lived in the Veste for a number of months during the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. In the twentieth century, the castle was the residence of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who was also (until 1919) the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom.
The Veste now houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.
Archaeological work carried out in the 1990s dates the construction of the first portions of the castle to the eleventh, twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The fifteenth century saw substantial additional building, including the construction of the upper half of the (c. 1200) Blue Tower, keep, great hall, armory, and chapel. The ducal family abandoned the Veste as a residence in the sixteenth century, preferring the Ehrenburg Palace in the city of Coburg. In keeping with the nineteenth century revival of interest in the middle-ages, Duke Ernst I undertook substantial renovations, converting the Veste into a romantic residence in a variety of gothic styles. Many of Duke Ernst's alterations were changed once again in the early twentieth century, when the historicized 19th century Gothic look of the castle was reverted to a less romanticized and more accurate medieval German style. These (1905-1914) changes were carried out by architect Bodo Eckhardt, and took place during the reign of Duke Charles Edward.
- Daniel Burger: Festungen in Bayern. Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-7954-1844-1 (Reihe Deutsche Festungen 1).
- Rainer W. Hambrecht: Eine spätmittelalterliche Baustelle. Die Veste Coburg nach dem Brand von 1500 und der Anteil des Nürnberger Baumeisters Hans Beheim d. Ä. am Wiederaufbau. In: Werner Taegert (Hrsg.): Hortulus floridus Bambergensis. Studien zur fränkischen Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte. Renate Baumgärtel-Fleischmann zum 4. Mai 2002. Imhof, Petersberg 2004, ISBN 3-935590-71-7, S. 219–232.
- Peter Morsbach, Otto Titz: Stadt Coburg. Ensembles Baudenkmäler archäologische Denkmäler. Lipp, München 2006, ISBN 3-87490-590-X (Denkmäler in Bayern 4/48).
- Klaus Weschenfelder: Veste Coburg. Geschichte und Gestalt. Edition Braus, Heidelberg 2005, ISBN 3-89904-196-8.