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Eltz Castle: a journey that lasts for 850 years




Eltz Castle is located in Germany. This is one of the most beautiful ancient castles that have survived to this day. It towers up in the forest, on a 70-meter cliff, which is washed by a small river on three sides.

Eltz Castle
Castle panorama. Photo: linesinthesand / flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It was presumably built in the 11th century to protect the trade route from the Moselle to the Eifel.

Eltz Castle
View of the castle from the slope of a nearby mountain. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/35979516443/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle. Photo: Isaac Wedin, https://www.flickr.com/photos/izik/2987674824/ (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

At the beginning of the 12th century, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa presented the castle to his vassal Rudolf von Eltz, whose descendants, already in the 33rd generation, still own it to this day. In the 13th century, the castle was divided between three brothers who became the ancestors of the three branches of the Eltz family. Just think, for several centuries three families lived peacefully in, albeit a large, but one house. It’s not a secret that it often happens, even today, that the closest relatives, having lived together for some time, become bitter enemies.

From the 15th to the 17th century, the castle was rebuilt. Each family built something different. First, the Rübenach houses, then the Rodendorf houses, and later the Kempenich houses were erected. In total, the castle has eight towers, along the perimeter it is fortified with a powerful wall.

Eltz Castle
Castle courtyard. Photo: Matt Hurdle, https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthurdle/13887998112/ (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle. Photo: Dan, https://www.flickr.com/photos/twiga_swala/33745545625/ (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)
Eltz Castle
View of the Castle from above. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36741105036/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36741099536/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Staircase to the Castle. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/35953936064/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Castle walls. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36618314992/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Castle Gate. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36649417061/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
A door inside. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36618306012/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Castle walls. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36649394721/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Castle walls. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/35953923644/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
View of the Castle from below. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36649439171/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
A door inside. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36649405541/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)

Throughout its existence, Eltz Castle participated in hostilities only once. It was besieged for 5 years by the troops of the Archbishop of Trier, who won that conflict.

Eltz Castle
A door with coat of arms above it. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/36788336225/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Eltz Castle
Castle wall. Photo: Tyler Brenot, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/35953894134/ (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)

At the beginning of the 19th century, Hugo Kempenich became the sole owner of the castle. In 1845, he started a large-scale restoration of Eltz, thanks to which the appearance of the castle that we see today has been preserved.

Eltz Castle
View from the courtyard of the Castle. Photo: Matt Hurdle, https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthurdle/13911108575/ (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
Eltz Castle
View from the courtyard of the Castle. Photo: Sergei Gussev, https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeigussev/19341508863/ (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

The current owner of the Eltz Castle does not live in it. But he allowed the visits for tourists. All the raised money goes to maintaining Eltz in excellent condition and preserving it for the descendants of the family.

Eltz Castle
Bird’s eye view of the Castle. Photo: Wolkenkratzer, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Eltz Castle
Bird’s eye view of the Castle. Photo: Holger Weinandt (CC-BY-SA-3.0), Wikimedia

Preview: linesinthesand, https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8731402918/ (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

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