Koblenz is a town of 110,000 at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers. The Romans erected a castle here to defend this spot. From 1018 to 1798, Koblenz belonged to the archbishop of Trier, who often resided here. Koblenz was virtually destroyed during World War II, but partly rebuilt in the original style soon after.
The most famous sight is the Deutsches Eck (German Corner). It is the land tongue at the meeting of the Rhine and Mosel rivers, which is banked in concrete to resemble a battleship. A huge equestrian statue of Emperor Wilhelm I was erected here in 1897. At the end of World War II, this statue was destroyed and the pedestal left empty as a symbol of German division. After unification, a statue of Wilhelm I was again placed here. Pieces of the Berlin Wall are placed at the start of the Mosel Promenade. The name of this corner has nothing to do with 19th-century nationalism – it refers to the Teutonic Knights (Deutsche Orden) who constructed a seat here in 1216.
The St Kastorkirche (St Castor Church), Kastorhof, is a Romanesque basilica from 836. Its most famous moment was in 842 when Ludwig der Fromme (Louis the Pious) negotiated here the finer points of the Treaty of Verdun that split Charlemagne’s empire into what is now modern-day France and Germany. Most of the present building is from the 12th century, with elegant Gothic vaulting on top of squat Romanesque pillars.
The Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Dear Lady), Am Plan, is at the highest point of the old town. The church has Roman foundations, a Romanesque structure, a fine Gothic choir, and Baroque towers. It was mostly destroyed during World War II, but soon after rebuilt.
The mighty Festung Ehrenbreitstein (Fortress), perched on a hill on the right bank of the Rhine, has been the most prominent building in town since the first castle was erected here a thousand years ago. The French destroyed the fortress during the Napoleonic era. After the town fell to Prussia in 1815, the fortress was expanded to one of the largest ever erected in Europe. It last saw military action in 1945 and is currently only used for peaceful purposes. There is a Landesmuseum (Local History Museum), with exhibitions on history and culture. The fortress affords the best views of the Koblenz old town, the Deutsches Eck, and the confluence of the two rivers.
Schloss Stolzenfels (Castle), Koblenz-Stolzenfels, is in the southern suburbs of Koblenz. It is one of the best examples of Rhine Romanticism. The original castle was erected in the mid-13th century but destroyed by the French in 1689. The ruins were given to the Prussian crown prince in 1823. He had it reconstructed in a Neo-Gothic style with elements of all fashions since visible in the interior. It has period furniture, armor, and decorations.
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