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The castle Johannisburg was residence of the archbishops of Mainz, who acted as well as imperial Lord Chancellor and prime elector. The big medieval castle was mostly destroyed in the "Markgräfler War" in 1552. Under the archbishop Johann Schweikart von Kronberg the castle was completely rebuilt from 1605-1614, only the medieval stronghold was integrated in the new, late renaissance castle. The architect of the powerful four-winged building with its prominent towers in the corners was Georg Ridinger. Although there were some alterations done in the classicistic era, and after severe damages in World War II, it still resembles the best example of a pure late renaissance castle in Germany.

Although the visitor hardly will recognise, in fact he visits three museums at once: the State Gallery, the exhibition rooms of the state administration of Bavarian castles, gardens and lakes (owner of the building) and the exhibition of the city museums. The State Gallery contains the former collection of the archbishops of Mainz, including the great collection of paintings by Lucas Cranach and his school. The exhibition rooms of the state administration of castles include reconstructed rooms from the classicistic era and the time as a royal Bavarian castle after 1814, paintings from Aschaffenburg and its environ and a great collection of cork models, produced by father and son May in the late 18th and early 19th century. This collection of cork models from antique Rome is quite exceptional, not only for its size, but as the only complete collection of German cork models of comparable quality to the celebrated Italian models. The city museums include an exhibition to the local history of Aschaffenburg, a vast collection of excellent faience, stone ware and porcelain, rich collections of tin ware, glass an furniture. Of special interest is the collection of stoneware from the manufactory Damm at Aschaffenburg from the 19th century, which reproduced the famous figures of the porcelain manufactory of Hoechst. Finally there is to find an important collection of classical modern painting, especially Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Christian Schad. The city museums also take care for the State Collection of Graphics, the former collection of the archbishops of Mainz, which is not permanently on display. In the castle you will also find the state "Court Library", the former library of the archbishops of Mainz and the Convent St. Peter and Alexander in Aschaffenburg, with most precious illuminated handwritings. Small temporal exhibitions are shown regularly to provide access to these treasures. The castles chapel includes an extraordinary altar of alabaster, created by Hans Juncker between 1609-1614. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful garden, with decorative buildings and the Pompejanum, a one by one reconstruction of a roman house from Pompeji, built under the Bavarian king Ludwig I. in the early 19th century.

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