Thanks to its convenient location, Lauf an der Pegnitz has developed into the most important and largest town in the Nuremberg Land district in nine centuries of history. Particularly worth seeing is the old town with the Wenzelburg on the Pegnitz Island, a building of European rank, the Hersbrucker and the Nuremberg Gate, the old town hall, the Glockengießerspital, the rock cellars and the historic market place. It forms the charming setting for a colourful and attractive range of shops. The Lauf.... [More about Lauf an der Pegnitz]
The Wenzelburg, former residence of Emperor Charles IV, is located in the middle of the city on an island in the Pegnitz. It is also often called Wenceslas Palace. This is due to the fact that the former castle chapel was consecrated to the national saint of Bohemia - Saint Wenceslas - and in later years the fortress was given the character of a palace as a nursing home.
In the complex, which has been extensively renovated in recent years, there is a tourist information office, which is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Two rooms, the Kaisersaal and the Wappensaal, are available for weddings.
The castle in the Pegnitz was of great strategic importance for Emperor Charles IV. On the site of a castle destroyed in 1301, he had it built between 1357 and 1360 by Reichsministerialen in his capacity as King of Bohemia. Prior to this, he had expanded Bohemia through the acquisition of territory to such an extent that it reached the present Nuremberg district of Erlenstegen. The castle in Lauf on the western edge of his territory secured the access from Bohemia to the imperial city of Nuremberg. Thus the importance of the town grew: Lauf became a regional economic centre on the "Golden Road", the important imperial road from Nuremberg to Prague. As the last Bohemian base before Nuremberg, Lauf's imperial castle was also of great importance as a representative residence for the emperor on his travels. Even today, the heraldic chamber, unique in Europe, with 112 coats of arms carved and painted in stone, in which the emperor showed himself as a regent and received delegations, can be admired.
The castle came to the Wittelsbachs in 1373, was acquired by the Imperial City of Nuremberg in 1504 and served as the seat of the Nuremberg governor until 1806. After that it was the seat of the district and local court. Finally, from 1985 until the beginning of the renovation work, it housed a branch of the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts.