Cultural heritage fortified monuments

All European regions have a rich heritage of fortified monuments and defensive landscapes. This unique cultural heritage of "architectura militaris" represents the special identity and attractiveness of Europe. Fortified cities and citadels, fortified palaces and castles, fortified sacred buildings, large fortresses and defensive lines tell of European history, of empires and dynasties. Representing the important cultural heritage of the old continent, some fortresses are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

As cultural sites for art, tourism, leisure, architecture and history, fortified monuments today offer a high valorisation potential with economic effects for cities and regions. Mobilising this tourism-economic potential is part of ECCOFORT's work.

The basis is the intensive ECCOFORT research on the identification, localisation and typification of the cultural heritage of fortified monuments from a touristic point of view. The result is the unique map series on the inventory and structure of the European cultural heritage of fortified monuments.


Spread in Europe

Under the guidance of ECCOFORT, the surprisingly high density and distribution of the fortress architecture in Europe is being investigated. Observation periods are the epochs according to typification, from the Roman Limes to the Iron Curtain. For the Central European region ECCOFORT e.V. develops in 2013 for the first time a map of the cultural heritage fortress monuments, which is continually updated.



The "architectura miltaris" defines an ancient architecture to protect the humans, their goods and their living spaces; an extraordinary cultural heritage from several thousand years of European history. But for tourists it is not conditioned.

Independently from a scientific, architectural or time historic categorisation, FORTE CULTURA undertakes a typecast catchy and customized for the tourism market in the following epochs.

I. Historic fortress construction

Epoch until 500 AD (Roman times)

Defence line

Widely-stretched defence work to secure huge areas as border grounds, line fortresses or territory fortress
e.g.: Limes, Chinesische Mauer

Roman military camp, Castrum

Regular geometric array of a military camp with all contemporary protection facilities for military and service residents
e.g.: Saalburg (DE), Aosta (IT), Augst (CH)

Epoch 500 until 1500 (Middle Ages)

Medieval fortified city

A city surrounded with medieval fortifications, mostly city walls with gates and defence towers
e.g.: Pisa (IT), Bad Münstereifel (DE), Luzern (CH)

Medieval fortified monument

Medieval fortified castle / medieval palace with walls, ramparts, ditches, towers – without fortification elements against artillery
e.g.: Burg Lahneck, Burg Friedberg, Burg Sterrenberg (DE), Malbork (PL), Chateau Gaillard (FR), Alhambra (ES)

Epoch 1500 until 1900 (Modern Times)

Single fortress

Stand-alone military defence building, mostly consisting of military function buildings, ramparts, ditches, bastions and platforms of the gun emplacement
e.g.: Fortress Mont Royal, Fortress Rosenberg, Fortress Königstein (DE), Fortress Bard (IT)

Fortified Ideal City

Military city planned by military architects and engineers with star formed or chequered geometry of the streets and the surrounding fortifications
e.g.: Mannheim, Jülich (DE), Longwy, Neuf Brisach (FR), Terezin (CZ), Palmanova (IT)

Fortified City

A city surrounded by new-age fortifications in irregular geometry
e.g.: Germersheim, Nürnberg (DE), Capua, Piacenza, Padua (IT)

Major fortification systems

Central fortress with a circular aligned chain of upstream fortifications such as single forts or batteries for the protection of cities and places for arms
e.g.: Koblenz, Mainz (DE), Warsaw, Modlin (PL), Metz, Strasbourg (FR), Luxembourg (LUX), Diest (BE)


An independent, often geometrically with 4 or 5 bastions and a particularly well-developed part of a fortified city; the last refuge for defenders
e.g.: Jülich, Mainz, Berlin (DE), Warsaw (PL), Diest (BE)

Fortified palace

A residential castle equipped with fortification elements to protect against attackers or as architectonic decorative element
e.g.: Eichstätt (DE), Ksiaz (PL), Helsingor (DK)

Fortified castle

A medieval castle reconstructed and supplemented with modern fortification elements after the emergence of firearms.
e.g.: Castle Hohenzollern (DE), Vianden (LUX), Eger (HU)

Fortified sacred building

Cathedrals, basilicas, monasteries and also village churches which are equipped with typical fortification elements for the use of firearms.
e.g.: Basilika Esztergom (HU), Abbey Melk and Göttweig (AT)

Defence line

Long stretched lines of defence for the protection of bigger regions as border installation, line fortress or territory fortress.
e.g.: Graacher entrenchment, Queich line (DE), Torres Vedras (POR)


II. Fortification of the 20th Century

Epoch 1900 until 1945 (Fortification of the World Wars)

Bunker and Positions

Strongly fortified shelter or rooming complex in ferro concrete construction, built underground as a deep bunker
e.g.: Heldsberg, Krattigen (CH)

Types as a military bunker, civil air defense system or as bunker of defense industry.

Bunker system

Strongly fortified, large-area system of underground shelter and function buildings
e.g.: Komplex Riese, Wolfsschanze (PL)

Defence line

Wide-spread defence installation to secure bigger areas as border facilities or territory fortresses
e.g.: West wall, Atlantic wall, Maginot-line, Molotow-line

Epoch 1945 until 1990 (Fortification during nuclear age and the Cold War)


Strongly fortified shelter or rooming complex in ferro concrete construction, built underground as a deep bunker
e.g.: German Central Bank bunker Cochem (DE)

Types as a military bunker, civil protection facility or government bunker.

Defence line

Wide-spread defence installation to secure bigger areas as border facilities or territory fortresses.
e.g.: Iron Curtain



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