High above the little winegrowing town of Freyburg is Neuenburg Castle, built c. 1090 by the Thuringian Count Louis the Springer as a counterpart to Wartburg Castle. The first, mighty complex was completed in 1150. As the Thuringian landgraves’ fortunes rose, further magnificent sections were added. By c. 1230, Neuenburg Castle was already three times the size of the Wartburg! The Romanesque double chapel built c. 1170/75 is still an architectural gem. In c. 1185, on the orders of Hermann I, Heinrich von Veldeke finished the Eneas Romance, the first courtly epic poem ever written in Middle High German. Neuenburg Castle came to the end of its mediaeval golden age under Landgrave Louis IV and his consort Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
After the Ludovingian line came to an end in 1247, the castle passed into the hands of the Margraves of Meissen. From the 16th to 18th centuries, it was converted into a hunting lodge under the Prince Electors of Saxony and the Dukes of Saxe-Weissenfels. In 1815, Neuenburg Castle came into Prussian possession, and in 1935 the first museum was built.
From 1970 to 1989, the castle was closed, posing a risk to its very existence until it was rescued by committed citizens. Today Schloss Neuchâtel belongs to Kulturstiftung Sachsen-Anhalt.
Given a “three-star” classification, it is one of the most important monuments on the “Romanesque Route”.