Saxon Electors at Hartenfels Castle
Torgau Castle is very closely associated with at least three Saxon Electors of the Ernestine line, who were characterised by their nicknames “The Wise”, “The Steadfast” and “The Magnanimous”.
Frederick the Wise was born at Hartenfels Castle in 1463. His places of residence included Torgau, Wittenberg, Colditz and Lochau. Recent research has proven the existence of a large number of electoral households in Torgau – far more than previously assumed. Frederick, an important patron of the arts and Martin Luther’s “protector”, is immortalised through paintings found throughout Torgau Castle.
After his death in May 1525, his brother Johann became the new Saxon Elector. Johann the Steadfast (1468 – 1532) was also a patron of the arts and a supporter of the Lutheran Reformation. Around 10,000 guests are thought to have been invited to Hartenfels when he married Sophie of Mecklenburg in 1500. Sophie died just three years later during the birth of their son, the future Elector Johann Frederick.
Immediately after becoming the new Elector of Saxony in 1532, Johann Frederick the Magnanimous (1503 – 1554) commissioned the construction of an even greater and more beautiful palace. He was aware of his power and importance as a Protestant prince. Torgau Castle was even described as “truly imperial” by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who defeated Johann Frederick at the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547.
Hartenfels Castle may have been restructured on several occasions, but it still reveals its splendour of old and is a real must for every tourist.