Lording it over Meissen, the 15th-century Albrechtsburg was the first German castle constructed for residential purposes, but is more famous as the birthplace of European porcelain. An exhibit on the 2nd floor chronicles how it all began; a nifty touch terminal even lets you 'invent' your own porcelain.
It took a group of scientists led by Walther von Tschirnhaus and Johann Friedrich Böttger three years to discover the secret formula of the 'white gold', a feat achieved by the Chinese thousands of years earlier. Production began in the castle in 1710 and only moved to a custom-built factory in 1863. The invention's importance for Saxony is hard to overstate, bringing enormous wealth and prestige to the Saxon electors (princes).
The palace is distinguished by several architectural innovations, most notably a curvilinear staircase and an eye-catching cell vaulting in the Great Hall, swathed in epic murals depicting scenes from the history of the palace and its builders, Elector Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht.