Burg Eltz Castle, Germany – evolving through a millenium

Burg Eltz is located on a hilltop near the city of Koblenz and oversees the river Mosel and the neighbouring lands of Elzbachtal as if coming from an artwork of a painter. The same family line has been living there for more than 850 years. Opposite to what happened to the other castles in the area this castle was never pillaged or destroyed and offers a really authentic picture almost a millenium old – sign of a really well led diplomacy.

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Burg Etlz is not a building coming out of a fantasy tale which is the case with  Neuschwanstein, but more the kind of castle that has served its purpose while developing through the ages. Its strategic placement next to both rivers Eltz and Mosel offered good trading possibilities during the middle ages.

Layout

castle-eltz-57338_1280Its eight towers are stapled in a really unique way and combined with the rest smaller “fachwerk” towers it suddenly gets really hard to tell where does a section of the castle start and another one end. The fact that the castle has been left intact allowed a full palette of architectural influences through the centuries – Romanticism, Gothic, Renaissance and early Baroque have blended together and remained until today. I can assure you though, the restrooms are designed in a more 21th century-ish way.

History

After the first “von Eltz” got the castle as a gift in the 12th century it has then been shared amongst his ancestors in a pretty uncommon for those times way. They were living together and were following rules they agreed upon and put in the castle’s journals. Different families used different towers to live in and only certain areas were shared, such as the courtyard, the well, the chapel and the conference hall. This serves as another proof that working in team instead of trying to obtain and split can get you a long way. I also think that maybe building a castle at those times was not that easy task to complete, so families decided to stick together and maintain what they had.

Castle tour and hikes

You can visit the castle in summer and get the chance to take some guided tours and check what has been collected through the centuries in the museum. Actually this is the only way get to see rooms inside the castle and (surprise!) you are not allowed to take any pictures while inside. During the tour of Burg Eltz Castle you get to see various rooms, animal trophies, and a medieval refrigerator that is basically just a hole cut inside the cold stone but still managed to preserve food longer. There is also a food hanging from the ceiling so that rodents and other pests are not able to reach it.

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Since Burg Eltz is isolated at a hill top there is some walking included. So prepare to get those legs moving and enjoy a 15 minute walk from the parking lot (or an hour walk from the town of Moselkern) inside the forest with fresh air and birds singing all around you.

Conclusion

The Eltz castle is a great destination given the fact it is in direct proximity to the infamous Rhine river and all the other castles you could see as well. This one however, will be the highlight. Have you been to Burg Eltz? Share your experiences in the comments.

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