“As the vine flourishes, and the grape empurples close up to the very walls and muzzles of cannoned Ehrenbreitstein; so do the sweetest joys of life grow in the very jaws of its perils.”
So did American author Herman Melville of “Moby Dick” fame write about the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, or Festung Ehrenbreitstein. This fortress was a favorite of another preeminent writer, the famous British poet, Lord Byron. He described the fortress as “a tower of victory” where “Peace destroy’d what War could never blight.”
How could one structure inspire two pillars of English (and American) literature? Let’s read on to find out more. :-)
About The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress And Its History
The very beginnings of Ehrenbreitstein can be traced back to ancient foundations from the year 1000 B.C.! Two thousand years later, in 1000 A.D., a castle was constructed here by Ehrenbert. The fortress would gain significance several hundred years later in 1657 as the guardian of the Holy Tunic, a robe that legend says was worn by Jesus Christ before his death on the cross. This relic was held at Ehrenbreitstein until 1794.
The strategic placement of the fortress was well-known for centuries. In 1794, the city of Koblenz came under attack by Napoleon’s forces. Four years later, the French began a series of sieges on the fortress. They were only successful after the fourth try, when the inhabitants of the castle could no longer cope with the starvation. Later, the fortress was dismantled, only to be built up again with the expulsion of the French occupiers.
With its strategic location near Koblenz and the Rhine River, the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein again became a stronghold for keeping back any future invaders. By World War I, it was again being used as a military headquarters, and was almost destroyed following the peace treaty, which commanded Germany to disarm. However, an American general recognized the historic importance of the fortress and it was spared from destruction.
World War II brought surprisingly little violence, and at this time Ehrenbreitstein was used for the peaceful purpose of safeguarding important artifacts and papers.
These days, it serves many uses as a youth hostel, museum, restaurant and, of course, touristic highlight.
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress Highlights And Features
Koblenz National Museum
One of the most interesting parts of your journey to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is a visit to its National Museum. Here you can learn about many different parts about life in the fortress. There are always new exhibits, some of which included a showcase of old typewriters, as well as historical photos.
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress Location And Opening Hours
Festung Ehrenbreitstein can be found opposite the city of Koblenz on a high mountain top (as a matter of fact, Ehrenbreitstein is also the name of the district around the fortress).
The street address for navi users is simply Festung Ehrenbreitstein in 56077 Koblenz.
With its lofty location, Ehrenbreitstein is not the easiest place to reach. Some buses and large vehicles may not be able to manage the steep climb up the mountain. Be aware of this if you try to drive your car all the way to the top!
The B42 highway and the local train station are located conveniently close to the foot of Ehrenbreitstein mountain.
The best — and newest — way to reach the summit is via cable car! The cable car just opened in mid-2010 and provides eighteen gondolas that allow you to take in the magnificent scenery of the UNESCO-rated Upper Middle Rhine Valley as you climb to the fortress!
Festung Ehrenbreitstein Opening Hours
This impressive fortress is open for visitors all year round. Guided tours generally run from 10:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m.