Elz Castle is a beautiful architectural monument among the picturesque hills and dense forests of Germany. It has long been the residence of representatives of the Eltz dynasty, who were awarded honorary positions at the court and in the clergy. This landmark has been pleasing the eyes of others for more than 800 years and is not going to give up its positions. Located in the delta of the Elzbach River, the Burg Elz is the pride of Rhineland-Palatinate. Fate saved it from destruction, so tourists from Europe and around the world can see the monument of medieval architecture in all its glory.
History of Elz Castle
The oldest of the German castles was first mentioned in the chronicles back in 1157. Very little information has been preserved about the construction period. It is only known that it was originally planned to use it as a defensive structure. It is not surprising that at first glance the impregnable walls of the castle resemble a fortress. It housed troops who guarded the trade route between the neighboring regions-the Moselle and the Eifel.
By the middle of the XIII century, the fortress was owned by three brothers: Elias, Theodoric and William. They divided the castle and became the ancestors of separate branches of the Elz dynasty. Each branch had its own coat of arms: silver and gold lions, as well as buffalo horns. The family and its retinue lived in the assigned rooms, and special letters strictly delimited their rights among themselves.
In 1331, the first major confrontation between several castles and the Archbishop of Trier began. The latter built his own fortification above Elz and began shelling its surroundings. For two years, the inhabitants of the castle desperately resisted the siege, but eventually surrendered. After some time, the parties signed the Peace of Eltsy, and the war ended. As a result of the defeat, the free Knights of Elz, by the decision of Charles IV, became subordinate to the Archbishop of Trier.
From the beginning of the XV century to the middle of the XVI century. representatives of all three dynasties of Elz actively completed new premises to the castle. It was in 1540 that the building acquired its current appearance. As a result of several agreements, the entire area became the sole property of the Kempenich family, who ruled under the golden lion emblem. The head of the family (Hugo Philip) engaged in the restoration of interiors. He tried to completely preserve the appearance of the castle, but eliminated the dilapidated elements. All the work required significant capital investments. Today, this amount would amount to 8 million euros. Many notable persons considered it an honor to visit the Elz Castle. The last King of Germany, Wilhelm II, also stayed there.
Today, the beautiful landmark continues to be owned by the Eltz family, but the owners live in another place. They carefully take care of the preservation of the architecture and allow tourists to visit the Burg Elz from April to October.
The appearance of the Elz Castle is quite fragmented. It resembles a lot of houses and towers built around a courtyard. There are 8 towers of various heights and styles in total. The maximum height is 40 m. Such a variety can be explained by a long period of construction. For almost five centuries, various extensions were added to the main structure.
The oldest buildings are made in the Romanesque style. From 1490 to 1540, the Rodendorf buildings were born. They are the most popular among tourists today. In the most unexpected places, you can see bright balconies, the courtyard is decorated with columns. The front courtyard plays with special colors thanks to the elegance of the Kempenich houses. This is the youngest part of the building.
Each of the three parts of the castle has a full set of utility rooms and chambers that practically do not communicate with each other. The lower floor was used for storerooms and kitchen rooms, and upstairs there was a large reception hall and private apartments of the owners. After the entire building passed into the hands of one owner, common exits were made from the rooms and corridors were built.
The interiors of the Elz Castle amaze with their naturalness and beauty. Meticulous and scrupulous Germans very carefully monitor the safety of the smallest details. For such similarity with the medieval decoration in the rooms, historical and artistic films have already been shot several times. Many interior items and paintings are authentic, and not replaced by inexpensive copies. Since the XV century, the carved wooden ceiling and frescoes in the bedrooms have been preserved.
There are more than a hundred rooms in the entire castle, from the smallest to the largest. Each is fully furnished and in perfect condition. The funds that the owners receive from tourists are enough for timely repairs. For a long time, the owners have been very sensitive to convenience, so the castle is considered the most comfortable in all of Germany.
Above all the other buildings is the Plattelz house. The complex consists of several buildings and a 6-storey tower. The rooms are decorated quite simply, but comfortably. The old furniture and bright paintings on the wooden wall panels have been preserved.
In the Rubenbach house, you can get acquainted with the arrangement of the life of the noble dynasty of the XV century. It is worth taking a closer look at the beautiful paintings. They are made by students of the Cranach Art School. Downstairs there is an armory, and above there are bedrooms with floral ornaments on the walls. At the very top of the tower, you can visit the Gothic chapel.
The Rodendorf House attracts with a spacious knight’s hall with historical paintings and heraldic images. On the next floor, it is worth looking into the Electors ‘ room and admiring the images of Karl Philip and Jacob. At the very top there is a Hall of banners with an unusual pointed ceiling.
After getting acquainted with the amazing interiors of the castle-fortress, it is worth going to the treasury. Many valuable relics and beautiful works of art are collected in this room. Many of them shine with skillful ornaments on the gold and silver surface. A total of 500 items made in the period from the XII to the XIX centuries are presented.
You can visit the Elz Castle as part of a group or individual tour. It is allowed to inspect the premises only if accompanied by a guide. Usually the walk lasts 40 minutes. Due to the great historical and artistic value, it is forbidden to shoot on the territory of the castle and the museum. Admission for an adult visitor will cost 8 euros, for a child you need to pay only half the amount. Some rooms are paid for separately, and some of the rooms are inaccessible to tourists.
On the adjacent territory there is a cozy restaurant where you can relax and have lunch. From the observation decks, spectacular landscapes open up, which should be given part of your time.
How to get
To get to Elz Castle, you should come to the city of Koblenz by car, train or intercity bus. A high-speed tourist bus to Moselkern regularly departs from the bus station, and from this place you can walk along a picturesque path along the river to the castle itself. Sometimes, even in the town, tourists are offered to gather in a group and take an organized bus to their destination. In the same composition, you will spend the entire time of the tour. Also, it is worth to search for a tour on https://1001guide.net/en/germany