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Places in Europe: Koblenz, Germany

Basic Information

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Narrative

I have not spent a lot of time in Europe since the only reasons I have gone there are work related.  On one work related trip I got to spend 10 days in western Germany in the historic city of Koblenz:

The first thing I notice about Europe is how much everything is so much older compared to the United States.  For example in the US we think of a city like Sante Fe, New Mexico as being old since it was founded in 1607.

On Walkabout In: Santa Fe New Mexico

In comparison Koblenz was founded as a Roman outpost back in 8 B.C., over 1,600 years before the Spanish established Santa Fe.  So the scope of time in Europe compared to the US is vastly different.  With that said I did not find Koblenz to be more interesting than Santa Fe, but it does have its charms.  For example the city was built at the confluence of two great European rivers, the Moselle and the Rhine by the Roman Emperor Caesar Tiberius because of its strategic position.  The peninsula of land that sticks out into the confluence is called “Deutsches Eck” or German Corner.  The name comes from the Knights of the Teutonic Order who made their first settlement here in 1216 long after the Romans had left.  Today the land is a park lined with various flags:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Surprisingly in a gesture of friendship to the United States, a Star Spangled Banner flies over the park as well:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Inside the park the strategic position of the city is recognized with a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I  which was built to commemorate a German military victory in 1871:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

During World War II the statue was toppled over on its side during the conflict and eventually disappeared.  It wasn’t until 1993 that the current replica of the original statue was created:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Being located on two great rivers has made Koblenz a major port for tour boats:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

All day from my hotel window I could watch the tour boats come and go up and down the river:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Something else I could see out of my hotel window were various castles.  The largest castle I could see was the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The fortress was built around 1000 AD.  The castle stood for 800 years before it was finally destroyed by the French in 1801.  Between 1816-1832 the Prussian military rebuilt the fortress which continues to stand today as a museum:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Lying below the old fortress is the Dikasterial Building:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

This building was built between 1739-1749 and served as a governmental building.  Incredibly the building has survived in its original form despite the wars that have ravaged Europe since it was built.  Around Koblenz I could also see other small castles that now serve as family homes:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Probably the best thing I like about Koblenz is how pedestrian friendly it is.  The old downtown area has few to no vehicles allowed which makes it a pleasant place to walk around:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Considering how narrow these old streets are I could only imagine the gridlock that would happen here if cars were allowed:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The old city section of Koblenz is home to many historic buildings to include the beautiful St. Castor’s Church:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

It is regarded by many as the most beautiful building in Koblenz.  The church was first built in 836 and expanded in the 12th century:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Another historic building is the Deutschherrenhaus or Ludwig Museum which was built in 1216 by the previously mentioned Knights of the Teutonic Order:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The building served as a barracks for the knights and eventually was used as a State Archive.  During World War II much of the building was destroyed, but was rebuilt in 1953.  Today it is an art museum:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Another interesting building is the old mint known as Munzplatz.  The old mint was built in 1736 and served as the home for the Master of the Electoral Mint:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Another prominent church in Koblenz is St. Florin’s Church.  It is a Protestant Church that was first built in the 10th century and was expanded over the years.  However, during World War II it received extensive damage, but has been beautifully restored in the decades since the war:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Another large church I found in Koblenz was the Church of Our Lady:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The church was originally built in the 12th century and has had elaborate statues and carvings added to it over the centuries:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The inside of the church was open to visitors and I found it to be quite beautiful:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

On the inside of the church I found what appeared to be some really old Middle Ages era carvings:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Tucked towards the center of the old town is the old Merchant’s Hall.  The building was built in 1419 and served as an administrative business center and dance hall.  Today it is a city historical museum:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The Old Town Square today is lined with outdoor cafes, however in the Middle Ages it was used for tournaments, a meat market, and a place for executions:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

A prominent statue that could be seen in the Old Town was of Johannes Muller:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

He was born in Koblenz in 1801 as the son of shoemaker.  He would go to college in Koblenz and go on to become one of Europe’s greatest physiologists in the 1800’s.  Muller died in 1858.

One of the most impressive things I saw in Koblenz was not its old buildings, statues, or churches, but this elaborate fountain:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

This fountain is called the Historiensaule Fountain and it depicts the history of Koblenz over the years beginning with the Romans, continuing through the Crusades, the French Revolution, the Prussian Empire, and World War II:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

The bottom of the fountain represents the Roman period of the city:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

While the top of the statue shows Koblenz of today rising from the ashes of World War II:

Picture from Koblenz, Germany

Conclusion

I had a good time during my stay in Koblenz, but it is probably not on many people’s bucket lists of places to visit in Europe.  For those that do stop in Koblenz the Old City section of the town makes for a great place to explore with all of its historic buildings and statues.

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