The castle Johannisburg in Aschaffenburg was built in the 17th century and it is considered one of the greatest buildings representing the period of the Renaissance in Germany. It was made of red sandstone, a popular building material from ancient times – typical for domestic construction, such as doorway and window frameworks, all across Germany. The architect who built the castle was Georg Ridinger from Strasbourg (died in Aschaffenburg in 1617) – it was his most appreciated and last work in the field of architecture. The interior of the castle was restructured in the style of classicism in the 18th century.
The oldest part of the building is a fortified tower built in a castle destroyed in the 14th century – called “bergfried” in German-speaking countries. The area was once a settlement of the Roman legions – on the ruins of their castra, Frankish mayors of the palace built the first castle.
Until 1801, the castle was the second the second residence of the archbishop of Mainz – the substitute of the Pope north of the Alps. The city of Aschaffenburg belonged to the archbishop for more than 800 years.
Today, the castle is open for public visits; the museum exhibitions include paintings, religious objects, different historical items, furniture, and a library with a number of incunabula – books or pamphlets that were printed (not handwritten) in Europe even before the year 1501. Another interesting permanent exhibition in the castle is a great collection of maquettes by Antonio Chichi and Carl May who used the technique developed in Rome in 1780 – cork modelling. These cork models are mostly buildings from the time of ancient Roman Empire – the biggest and most interesting one being the cork model of Colosseum.