I am madly in love with Germany. Not only is the food amazing (seriously, when we got orders here, I thought I would hate it. But Americans just don’t know how to make sausage. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a hot rindswurst!) and the towns are cute- but everywhere I turn, there is some amazing historical site to be explored.
This week, we headed up the river to Koblenz to visit the Ehernbretstein Fortress.
Just so you can get an idea of how big, and amazing this fortress is- a view from the air
Photo Credit- Wikipedia Commons
When we arrived in Koblenz, the Fortress is visible on top of the hill. It is on the other side of the river from the Aldstadt (old town) Koblenz, and you get there by riding the Seilbahn across the river to the top of the hill.
These cable cars were originally installed in 2010 for the 2011 Federal Garden Show which was held at the Fortress. The city needed to get special permission from UNISECO to install them because of the historical nature of the site, and were granted permission for 3 years. This means that they were slated to be brought down in November of 2013, but petitions from the city and negotiations with UNISECO have allowed them to remain for another 5 years. When we arrived, there was a large rally with petitioners trying to “save the seilbahn” because the city, the diocese of Trier (who is concerned about their effect on St. Kastor Basilica) and UNISECO are still debating about the future of the cable cars. The ride up to the Fortress was only 4 minutes, but in those 4 minutes you could see the most amazing panoramic view of the river valley.
Once at the top, we stopped for a quick picnic lunch before heading into the Fortress.
This is the second largest military Fortress in Europe, and was built in the early 1800s by Prussia. At the time, this area was very important to the defense of Prussia because Koblenz is where the Rhine and Moselle rivers intersect, making it the center of trade and transportation. Koblenz had been invaded by the French many times in the past, so it was imperative that this location be protected. Ironically, the Fortress was never attacked, despite being heavily armed and being used by multiple military powers over the years.
From the Fortress, you can clearly see the Deutsches Eck- the point where the Moselle and Rhine rivers meet. Originally, this spot was used as a monument to Wilhem I. During WWII, the original monument was so badly damaged by American artillery that it was removed. The German president then declared this monument to instead be for the Unification of Germany because of the division of east and west. Now days, the monument to Wilhem has been replicated, and portions of the Berlin Wall also stand there, memorializing both Wilhem and the Unification.
The kids and I had a fabulous time exploring the Fortress, and returning to Koblenz to visit the Aldstadt and Deutsches Eck are at the top of my German Bucket List this summer. If you are local, the Sielbahn and Fortress are stroller friendly, and there is a wonderful playground also at the top of the hill with the Fortress. Take the kids!