Dankwarderode castle was built between 1160 and 1175 as a palace for Henry the Lion and replaced a Brunonian structure. After numerous conversions and extensions it was rebuilt by Ludwig Winter, head of the municipal planning and building control office, between 1885 and 1906 as a neo-Romanesque building in the historicist style. For centuries this building has been an identity-establishing landmark of the “Lion City”. The painting of the Hall of Knights on the upper floor was executed by Adolf Quensen, but was almost completely destroyed as a result of war damage. The elaborate restoration of the hall with its columns, 10 chandeliers and the wall paintings was completed in 1995.
The Squires’ Hall in the basement of the building served as an exhibition room for the collection of medieval art from 1963 onwards, and since 1989 it has housed the bronze sculpture of the Castle Lion that Henry the Lion had installed on the Burgplatz in the 1160s as a symbol of justice and power. The sculpture now standing in the square is a copy.