Exploring Koblenz by foot and by cable car
Evening blog fans! We had a great day exploring Koblenz’s historical sites today, and relaxing along the shores of the River Rhine…
Relaxing by the River Rhine.
To help us recover from last night’s birthday celebrations our first stop this morning was a lovely little coffee shop in the Marktplatz (translation = central square). Once we were duly fortified with caffeine and doughnuts the day could commence (Note: Germany is great if you’re looking to pack on a few pounds by the way – there’s more doughnuts, beer, schnitzel, pretzels and sausage here than you could possibly desire!).
Koblenz’s central Marktplatz.
Fortified with caffeine, we headed out to explore the town…
The view from our cafe was quite acceptable.
Properly prepared for our day now we started our stroll through the altstadt (translation = old town) at Münzplatz (translation = Mint Place). This is one of the oldest squares in the town, and is named after the Alte Münz (translation = old mint), where Koblenz coins were minted from the 14th to 18th century. The buildings around this square are all from the 14th century and it is truly charming.
These characters were sitting the middle of the Munzplatz.
Some of the lovely old buildings around Munchplatz square.
More aimless wandering through the altstadt led us past some more lovely medieval buildings, all really well restored. And then, out of the blue, we came upon a fairly nondescript church, tucked away in the corner of a square. Going inside we were amazed at how lovely it was; later we discovered it was the 14th century Church of Our Lady, Koblenz’s main Catholic church. One of the joys of exploring a town without maps, I think, is stumbling across places like that. We were there fairly early and it was so quiet and peaceful inside the church that we were reminded why they used to describe churches as places of sanctuary.
Church of Our Lady, Koblenz.
The quiet, peaceful interior of Koblenz’s Church of Our Lady.
Continuing we found our way out of the maze of streets in the old town and headed out towards the River Moselle. On the banks of the river we came across the Alte Burg (translation = Old Castle). First built in 1185, this was the residence of the Dukes of Koblenz for centuries. Today it houses the local library and poses prettily for tourists like us.
The Old Castle of Koblenz is today the town’s public library.
Further around, along the River Moselle, is the Basilica of St Castor, the oldest church in Koblenz. First built in 836 this magnificent cathedral has been added to and extended extensively during its 1200 year history, first in 1208, then in 1498, and most recently in 1812.
Basilica of St Castor, Koblenz.
Added to and extended repeatedly during its 1200 years, this is HUGE church now.
Coming once again around the bend to the Deutsch Eck, we discovered you can actually climb up into the statue of William I that adorns the point there, so we did! The views from inside the monument were great and close up the sheer scale of it was even more intimidating. They REALLY wanted to ensure that statue could be seen by anyone and everyone coming down the river didn’t they?!
Just horsing around…
The monument is huge – this is the back of it.
We climbed up into the monument to get a better view of the surrounding township and the two rivers.
The Mosel meets the Rhine (view from inside the monument of William I).
From the Deutsch Eck we continued on along the riverbank, down the Rhine now. Here we found the station where you can catch the cable car across the Rhine and up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. This massive fortress dominates the landscape and is the most obvious reminder of Koblenz’s military history. Being at such an important cross-roads (or cross-rivers), Koblenz has been repeatedly besieged, invaded, conquered, retaken and defended. From Roman times the strategic advantages of having a fortress perched atop Mt Ehrenbreitstein were obvious and the current fort, built in 1817, sits on top of 3 or 4 former incarnations. The views across the Rhine Valley from Mt Ehrenbreitstein were great and we had a great afternoon exploring the museum that is now housed within the old fortress.
View from the fortress looking North along the Rhine…
Views south down the Rhine from Mt Ehrenbreitstein.
The current Ehrenbreitstein Fortress was built in the 19th century.
Today the fortress houses a hotel, a museum, and a couple of restaurants.
We had a great afternoon exploring the fortress!
Once back down in Koblenz we decided to whittle the afternoon away, relaxing along the riverfront with a couple of good books. A very mellow end to a very pleasant day of exploring. Having pretty much seen everything the town has to offer, we’ve decided to move on from Koblenz a day early and are going to spend tomorrow cruising down the Rhine instead. Can’t wait for that! Tell you all about it tomorrow evening…
Farewell Koblenz – tomorrow we’re off cruising down the Rhine…