Rhine Stolzenfels Castle, Germany

Rhine Stolzenfels Castle, Germany

Not far from the German town of Koblenz, only 5 km from the town center overlooking the mouth of the river Lahn among the woody hills, the magnificent Stolzenfels Castle is one of the most important and beautiful sights in the Rhine valley and enjoys the unfailing attention and interest of all tourists.

To reach it, you have to walk up a serpentine hill on a steep slope, admiring at the same time the well-groomed forest on the way, which for the time being hides the goal of the journey undertaken. On the approach a stone tower with a gate, above the archway there is a coat of arms. There are also buildings with teeth on the roof, not inferior to the castle buildings – a barn with stables and room for carriages. Earlier servants lived downstairs and the guest rooms upstairs. Behind the massive gate with its coat of arms and knight’s helmet, just a few hundred yards away, lies the epitome of antiquity itself – a castle which, along with the other castles of the Rhine, forms a cultural landscape in the valley, and which has been under UNESCO protection since 2002.

Archbishop of Trier, Arnold II of Isenburg, had a fortified castle built on the rocky promontory (1242-1259), which served as a custom post for ships passing by. Thus the castles along the river banks, established on the order of the Elector, formed a passageway to the territory of the region. Although the fortress was difficult to reach (as today’s tourists can see), it was continually being strengthened by necessary additions.

Rhine Castle Stolzenfels, Germany - Photo 2

Rhine Stolzenfels Castle, Germany

In 1618 in Europe a 30-year war broke out over the Palatinate lands, many states were involved in this long-running conflict for the sake of territorial sovereignty. The castle was occupied now by the Swedish army, now by the French, but neither of the warring sides cared about the preservation of the building – and thanks to the efforts of unwelcome guests, in 1689, from the once robust building was a miserable ruin. No one cared about the ruined castle. Only in 1802, the abandoned Stolzenfels and its surroundings were given to the Koblenz authorities, who gave it to the crown prince Friedrich Wilhelm 13 years later. He, in turn, decided to present the ancient castle as a gift to his betrothed Elisabeth Louise (in 1830, when she switched from Catholicism to Protestantism, she changed one of her names to Louise), first reviving the unsightly property from the ruins.

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Carl Friedrich Schinkel, taking into account the requirements and wishes of the Hohenzollern heir, preserved the strong walls of the former castle, which offered a beautiful panorama. On September 14, 1842, when all the work was completed, a costume procession headed by the king entered Stolzenfels and a mediaeval feast was held in the castle, which was proclaimed the royal summer residence.

From 1843, the staff resided in the chateau rooms, which continued to decorate the interiors, but the work was no longer so active. A kitchen was added along with other buildings, a chapel with Neo-Gothic towers was built on the observation deck from 1845 to 1847, depicting the resurrection of Christ, scenes of Adam and Eve’s fall from Eden and a winding staircase to the altar, which is now reserved for couples.

Rhine Castle Stolzenfels, Germany - Photo 3

Rhine Stolzenfels Castle, Germany

Landscaper P. J. Lenné took the Marienburg park of Danzig as his model and did not limit himself to flower gardens. Ponds, waterfalls, grottoes, a manege, and even a stone viaduct were built in the wooded areas.

The Pergolagarten is particularly beautiful, with a wide staircase descending from the courtyard. Around the fountain flower beds, secluded gazebo, where nice privacy, admiring the surroundings, on the walls around the hunting trophies. And the statue of Siegfried with a sword, looking at the castle which rose from oblivion. Everything is extremely beautiful! How could the romantic and cozy castle (for the Prussian king at that time) not become a favorite place of rest. He was very fond of musical evenings, knights’ tournaments and falconry in the woods.

But the monarchs did not have to content themselves with this wonderful place for long – with the end of hostilities of the First World War and the collapse of the monarchy in Prussia, the Rhenish castle was passed to the State Department. Only after the authorities got their hands on the royal possessions, they did not burden themselves with the maintenance of the building and its plant framing, and the gardens and park started to overgrow without proper care around the dilapidated buildings. Fortunately, the Cultural Foundation did not allow the castle complex to finally collapse. Since 2011, the restoration of the castle has cost the Rhineland-Palatinate state treasury 16 million euros, ensuring that the beautiful property will not be lost to the public.

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Rhine castle Stolzenfels, Germany - Photo 4

Rhine Stolzenfels Castle, Germany

Now a museum, it is run by the Society for the Preservation of Cultural Monuments, and can only be visited with a guided tour group (photography is prohibited!).

Castle rooms, the interior of which reflects the culture of medieval life, are decorated like royalty. In addition to the carved furniture, a lot of pictures, colored glass stained glass enliven the space of halls, the colors of Prussia in the decor successfully combines with the blue and white colors of Bavaria, which was ruled by the Wittelsbach family for more than 7 centuries. The shared bedroom has a large four-poster bed, the couple lived happily ever after, but their union was, alas, childless.

The Great Hall of Chivalry is rich in medieval armor and samples of armory, different vessels and cups, above the doorway there is a wooden shield of 1526. The king was not a supporter of any conflicts, still less of wars; he liked art and was fond of creation, for example his participation in the foundation-stone laying of Cologne Cathedral. By the way, a sugar model of it stands under glass, though it’s a bit different from the original, which appeared much later. And the Small Hall, where in the 13th century King Rudolph I of Germany tried his neighbors, then served as a grand salon; since then, its walls are decorated with sketches from the Empire’s past.

Rhine castle Stolzenfels, Germany - Photo 5

Rhine Stolzenfels Castle, Germany

In Her Majesty’s drawing room, behind the portier, is a study; there on the table is a gift presented to Friedrich Wilhelm IV by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and Alexandra Feodorovna, the king’s own sister. The clock on a malachite base serves as a reminder of the close connection between Russia and Prussia, as if it were a gift from above, to which the folding altar above the clock is a blessing.

In addition to titled relatives from Russia the castle was previously visited by the Dutch king and the Belgian monarchy. But 26-year-old Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland and Prince Albert were especially honored. They were greeted with fireworks in Bonn, where he studied the sciences at university, with bells ringing in Cologne, a concert in their honor in Augustusburg, and the famous city of Koblenz greeted the couple with cannon salutes from the coast, after which the guests departed to the castle, where Ferenc Liszt himself played for the assembled audience and the best artists performed.

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Some of the former inhabitants rest peacefully in the church graveyard among the rose bushes. And the exquisitely beautiful Schloss Stolzenfels still rises proudly above the waters of the Rhine, enchanting everyone at first sight and giving everyone a lot of positive emotions.

Stolzenfels Castle

Just a few kilometers from the center of Koblenz on the left bank of the majestic Rhine rises Stolzenfels Castle, which was erected in the 19th century on the ruins of an abandoned 13th-century fortress. It is regarded as one of the most important achievements of Prussian-Rhine Romantic architecture.

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Just a few kilometers from the center of Koblenz on the left bank of the mighty Rhine rises the Schloss Stolzenfels, which was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a disused 13th century fortress. It is considered one of the significant achievements of Prussian-Rhine Romantic architecture.

In 1823, the municipality of Koblenz made the Prussian prince Friedrich Wilhelm an unusual gift – the ruins of the medieval fortress Stolzenfels. The crown prince made full use of the gift. Between 1823 and 1847, the ruins were transformed into a building site, and the present-day castle was built on their site.

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

In 1842 the construction of the main building was completed and the laying of the park and garden area began. On September 14, the crown prince – already king Friedrich Wilhelm IV – proclaimed the castle as his new summer residence in the Rhine valley. On that day, the monarch organized a magnificent procession in medieval costume from the river to the castle, where a festival was held to crown this event. Stolzenfels Castle was Friedrich Wilhelm’s favorite child throughout his life.

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

After the reign of Friedrich Wilhelm IV the five gardens within the castle walls and the surrounding park were overgrown, deformed and feralized. The facade, walls and even the cellars of the castle have also become dilapidated. For this reason, the Rheinland-Pfalz Foundation for Cultural Heritage initiated the restoration of Stolzenfels at the beginning of the 21st century.

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Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Today visitors can enjoy what Friedrich Wilhelm intended – a romantic combination of a castle building with its gardens, park and picturesque Rhine scenery. Reconstructed or specially equipped caves, waterfalls and ponds blend in perfectly with the greenery of the parks and the masterpieces of Prussian architecture. And mesmerizing views of the Rhine valley complete the picture.

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels

Schloss Stolzenfels Am Schlossweg, 56075 Koblenz, Germany schloss-stolzenfels.de

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