Eltz Castle (Deutsch: Burg Eltz) is one of the most famous and beautiful medieval castles in Germany. It is nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. Eltz castle, the Palace of Bürresheim and the Castle of Lissingen are the only castles on the left bank of the Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate which have never been destroyed. These castles were preserved even during wars 17th and 18th centuries and the French Revolution.
The Castle of Eltz was built was built in a strategically important location on the road connecting the Eifel and Moselle with Mayfeld, which was always one of the most important trade routes of the German Empire. The castle is surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River, a tributary on the north side of the Moselle. It is situated on a 70 meter high rock of elliptical form that gives it a commanding view of the Elzbach Valley and River Eltz. The builders took into account the natural conditions of the oval crag and this explains the strange shapes and floor plans of some of the rooms.
In 1268, some three generations later, the Eltz family split into three separate branches, as a results, the castle was divided between the three brothers: Eliey, Wilhelm and Theodoric, where they lived together with their families. Thereafter, each branch built own houses and towers within the castle over the next 400 years. Thus, Burg Eltz became a Ganerbenburg (castle of joint heirs) in which several families shared common areas of the castle including the courtyard and the chapel while also maintaining their own private living quarters. Today, the Lion Or branch of the Eltz family remains as the sole owner of the castle. The castle consists of eight towers with living quarters grouped around an inner courtyard.
In the years 1331-1336, during the so-called "Eltz feud", there was only one military conflict in the 900 years history of the castle. On June 15, 1331, the knights from various castles including Eltz Castle rebelled against the territorial policy of Elector Baldwin of Trier, Archbishop of Luxembourg, and formed an alliance. Later that year, Eltz castle was siege by the forces of Baldwin. For the siege, Archbishop of Trier ordered to build on the side of the cliff a siege fortress Truttselts and to bombard the castle with heavy stone balls. The walls of the Truttselts fortress have survived to our time. All castle entrances were blown up, so that the castle was cut off from resupply of food. After two years of siege, the garrison, weakened by starvation, was forced to surrender the castle. In 1354, Emperor Charles IV gave Eltz castle as fief to Elector Balduin. Thus, the free knights of Eltz castle became the vassals of the Elector and took the castle from him as feudal tenure.
Eltz castle and fortress Truttselts
In the 15th century there was an especially busy flurry of building activity. In 1472, the Rübenach house on the western site was completed under Lancelot and Wilhelm zu Eltz-Rübenach. Incidentally, the name of Eltz-Rübenach goes back to the stewardship of Rübenach near Koblenz which had been acquired by Richard vom Silbernen Löwen (Lion Argent) in 1272. The name is still used today by the Barons of Eltz-Rübenach.
Between 1490 and 1540, the Rodendorf house was built. On its facade there is a vaulted portico standing on three pillars. The name of Eltz-Rodendorf goes back to the marriage of Hans Adolf zu Eltz to Katherine von Brandscheid zu Rodendorf in 1563. In 19th century, near the portico on the outside wall there was lined with a mosaic of the Madonna.
Kempenich houses in a castle was built from 1604 to 1661 years. Their successful architectural composition and beauty of the fachwerk completes picturesque appearance of the courtyard of the castle. Under the massive tower staircase, there was a draw-well, which supplied water the whole castle.
During the Palatinate wars of succession from 1688 to 1689 a large number of the Rhine castles were destroyed. Eltz castle preserved unscathed due to its owner Hans Anton zu Eltz-Üttingen, which had the highest officer rank in the French army.
In the 19th century, during the romantic period with its resurgent interest in all things medieval Graf Karl zu Eltz busied himself with the restoration of his family castle. In 1845-1888 years for large-scale construction work was spent considerable amount of DM 184,000, which in today’s money is about €6 million. The restoration was carried out very carefully and preserved historic architectural appearance.
This is a file from www.photos4travel.com, Author: Batikart
The complete story of the castle’s construction stretches over more than 500 years. All the architectural styles from the Romanesque to the early Baroque merge in Eltz castle to form a symmetrical whole. The settlement of the castle consists of several closely packed residential towers grouped around the inner courtyard. Up to 100 family members lived in more than 100 rooms with probably about the same number of servants in the outbuildings along the river, now destroyed.
The present owner of the castle, Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz, known as Faust von Stromberg, lives in Eltville/Rhine. The family has had its main German residence there since the beginning of the 19th century. Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz represents the 33rd generation of the House of Eltz. He has undertaken the task of maintaining this national monument for the public, to preserve its structure and, following family tradition, pass it on to the 34th generation.
From April 1 to November 1, in the castle there are daily sightseeing tours of approximately 40 minutes.
In the preparation of this article, were partially used materials of websites: www.burg-eltz.de, wikipedia.org and great-castles.com.