The Golden Anker Hotel

The Golden Anchor Hotel is amongst the oldest inns in Germany. The restaurant known today as the “Golden Goose” has entertained famous personalities since the 16th Century. Indeed, Elector Johann Friedrich 1st of Saxony once spent the night here, though not by choice. And he can not have had much sleep when he stayed here on 26th June 1547, because he was being held captive by the Spanish Duke Alba. Johann Friedrich had been defeated by the “Iron Duke” in the War of Schmalkalden. So the Elector stayed in the inn, and the Duke in the new Town Hall.
On the following day Emperor Karl V, who supported Alba, also passed through Saalfeld. It is not surprising that the people of Saalfeld were not particularly pleased about the imprisonment of their Elector because they had always been loyal to their sovereign prince. It came as a great relief therefore when they learned that day of the lucky escape that saved Johann Friedrich´s life.

The Elector was tied up by Spanish soldiers and held in close arrest in what is now called the „Kurfürstenkeller“ or “Elector’s Cellar”. Fearing for his life, he begged to be moved to alternative quarters. The Emperor bowed to his request and soon after he was transferred, the dilapidated vault collapsed behind him. And after this amazing event, the room was given the name „Kurfürstenkeller“.

When the Elector returned from his captivity, the people of Saalfeld prepared a lavish reception for him. The landlord treated his guests to chicken breast, roast stag, French pastries, pigeon and ostrich meat as well as venison. This was followed by a sweet dessert made from milk, jelly, marzipan and sweetmeats laced with precious wine.

During the 18th and 19th Centuries this building housed the Saxon Post Office and the landlords doubled up as postmasters. Gastronomy ceased here for a while in the late 19th Century. For 20 years it was an ironmongers shop and after that, the leasee reinstated the inn. This was later extended and converted into a hotel in that the adjacent property was incorporated and remodelled. A butcher’s shop, the “Anchor Inn,” and the “Kurfürstenkeller” were opened In 1930. In 1994, after extensive restoration, the guest house tradition was again revived, with an exclusive hotel and restaurant.

Follow the footpath further to the left and then down the road until you reach the historic Court or Market Apothecary (Hof- oder Marktapotheke).