European Culture Route Fortified Monuments - FORTE CULTURA®


Major Fortress Coblenz Germany

Prussian major fortification system on junction of Moselle and Rhine

Gate to world heritage with interesting culture, architecture, history and nature



In 1815 Coblenz became the capitol of the Prussian Rhenish province and King Frederic William III. ordered to extend the fortifications of this location. At the junction of Moselle and Rhine one of the biggest fortification systems of Europe was developed, consisting of the city fortification Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein and 5 large systems with many forts, trenches and flèches.

Today some of the impressive fortifications are still preserved and belong to the UNESCO world heritage “Upper Middle Rhine Valley” since 2002.

Young and old will be offered interesting experiences and events in the historic walls. Discover the fort Konstantin and the fortress Kaiser Franz with FORTE CULTURA. Float with the cable car over the Rhine and conquer the famous fortress Ehrenbreitstein.

Experience World

Fortress Ehrenbreitstein

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Surely not only because of the beautiful view was Ehrenbreitstein colonised 5000 years ago. Strategic thoughts and the hub of the waterways Rhine and Moselle were another reason for sure.

The first fortifications manifested already 1000 before Christ and were developed over centuries to the mighty fortress Ehrenbreitstein by Celts, Germanic, Romans, bishops, electors and finally the Prussians.

Today the main reason for visits is the great and diverse experience offer in the unique fortification and the fantastic view. These include the State Museum and many exhibitions, concerts and events as the Horizons world music festival in July 2017. Tired fortification visitors get back their strength in the restaurant “Casino” and can stay overnight in the youth hostel Coblenz.

Fort (Feste) Kaiser Franz

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On the Petersberg in today’s Coblenz area Lützel, the fortress Kaiser Franz was located as part of the large fortification Coblenz. It was built in 1822 to secure the Moselle bridge and was already 100 years later razed and partly blown up.

In the preserved and partly accessible remainings you can find among others a war bakery with the last preserved fortress oven of Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein. The association Fortress Kaiser Franz e.V. offers guided tours and information events on a regular basis.

Fort Asterstein

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As southern outpost of Ehrenbreitstein the fort was supposed to secure Ehrenbreitstein and Coblenz including the Rhine bridge.

The preserved reduit with its extravagantly designed court façade is very impressive and a highlight of the fortress Coblenz. During evening events the fort shines in a special light for visitors.

Fort Kostantin

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The fortress Grand Prince Konstantin was built on the Beatusberg, a former location of the Carthusian monastery from 1820. It was part of the systems fortress Kaiser Alexander within the fortress Coblenz. Besides fortress Ehrenbreitstein it is the only almost completely preserved fort in the system.

Thanks to the funding association Pro Konstantin e.V. there is today a diverse culture program and guided tours for young and old. Also the Rhenish Carnival museum Coblenz can be found in the kehl caponier.

Fortress Kaiser Alexander

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Originally the system fortress Kaiser Alexander was three times as big as the fortress Ehrenbreitstein. It included two batteries, one entrenchment, the fortress Großfürst Konstantin and the name giving main work fortress Kaiser Alexander.

The fortress was the south-west cornerstone of the city Coblenz and an important rampart during World War I. Today the worth seeing Lion gate with two monumental Greifen relief of cast iron.

Neuendorf Flèche

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The Neuendorf flèche was built in 1825 in Coblenz-Lützel as part of the fortification system fortress Kaiser Franz. After the raze of the over ground fortification elements in 1910, the underground walkways can be visited today.

Take special tours and discover the function and history of this military building with the funding association Neuendorfer Flèche – part of the Prussian large fortification Koblenz- e.V. As the Neuendorf flèche is located in the military area of the Rhine barracks.

Work Klausenberg (Rheinburg)

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East of Ehrenbreitstein the work Klausenberg was built from 1827 to 1833, also called Klausenbergturm. The caponier was equipped with cannon loopholes and a gun emplacement under the roof.

In 1898, after the omission of the military use, colonel Wilhelm von Böttcher from Bremen bought the object and built the splendid castle like villa Rheinburg which is a private property until today.

Tour Offers and Information

Ehrenbreitstein: Guided Tours & Living History

Discover interesting history in the fortress under the motto “tours and living history”, look over the shoulder of a gunsmith or solve thrilling criminal case on the “criminal-riddle-tour”.

Ehrenbreitstein for Kids

Whether ghostly fun, a hands on – experience area or the rallye “use your eyes!, the fortress Ehrenbreitstein has a great offer for family and kids. Even childrens’ birthdays can be celebrated in the state museum of the rock gate guard room.

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Monument and History

History

Coblenz belongs to the oldest cities in Germany. Already 800.000 years ago, Stone Age men resided there. After todays' knowledge, the location was colonized from around 9.000 before Christ and around 1.000 before Christ developed to an important craft and trading center by the Celts.

The Ehrenbreitstein was colonized from around 3.500 before Christ and already 1.000 before Christ developed to a fortified noble’s residence with ramparts and trenches. The rock was a good location to control the Moselle mouth, the river crossings and the mineral deposits in the backcountry.

When the Romans came to the Rhine, they built their Castellum apud Confluentes (“fort at the confluence”) around 27 before Christ and a bridge over Rhine and Moselle. Moreover, they built the fort Niederberg on the right side of the Rhine to protect the Germania Superior Limes. Under emperor Konstantin the late antiquity fort Confluentes was built from 306 to 337 after Christ, a 5.8 ha large fortification on the area of todays’ old city. Its walls protected the city for more than 100 years and was only stripped down in the 19th century.

Then came the 800 years of Trier bishops and electors. They bought the castle Ehrenbreitstein built in 1000 in 1020, one of the most secured castles of its time and kept the sanctuaries of the country there. The fort was further developed to fortress Ehrenbreitstein along with the improvement of war methods in the early 16th century.

Only after the Thirty Years War, which was very painful for the city, Coblenz received a bastion like fortification ring. Changing occupants and owner, among them the French, changed the functions and the look of the fortifications of Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein constantly until the 19th century. Finally after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Rhenish possessions of the Trier electoral state were transferred to the kingdom Prussia, who made Coblenz the capitol of the Rhine province and also gave the order to develop the Prussian large fortification.

One of the most important fortifications of Europe was developed and mentioned in the same breath with the fortresses in Gibraltar and Paris. Coblenz got a key location as bulwark against France between the large fortifications Cologne and the state fortification Mainz.

In 1886 after the German-French War, the fortress was classified as less important. With enactment of 1890 the slighting of the west Rhenish fortifications started, which mostly regarded the Coblenz city fortification. The east Rhenish fortifications stayed operational until World War I and were reinforced by concrete dugouts.

On 25th August 1924, law closed down the whole fortification Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein. Further defortification before and after changed the cityscape. Fortress Ehrenbreitstein was spared from this and classified as dominating the landscape and of historic meaning by the inter-allied military control commission in 1922.

Quelle: Koblenz Touristik
Quelle: Matthäus Merian
Quelle: Koblenz Touristik

Architecture

The Prussian fortification Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein was built from 1815 to 1834 and was the first defence facility of the kind large fortification of the 19th century. It consisted of:
- city fortification Coblenz with around 14 km circumference
- System Oberehrenbreitstein
- System Niederehrenbreitstein
- System Fortress Kaiser Alexander
- System Fortress Kaiser Franz
- System Pfaffendorfer Height

These again consisted of several single works, batteries, redoubts and flèches. Because of the dominant architecture, the whole facility classifies as classicistic. Since 202 the single fortification facilities are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine.

Fortification engineers:

- Officers Gustav von Rauch, Ernst Ludwig von Aster, Claudius Franz Le Bauld de Nans and Gotthilf Benjamin Keibel
- West of the Rhine: Heinrich Adolph Buschbeck, later to Luxembourg and finally to Wesel
- Johann Wilhelm Carl Roehmer (later working in Luxembourg and finally place engineer of fortress Stralsund)
- East of the Rhine: Wilhelm von Huene and Carl Schnitzler.

Quelle: Koblenz Touristik
Quelle: © DR
Quelle: © DR

Nature Experience

Fortress Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein offer very divers nature experiences besides their defensive walls. There are great views from the fortress Ehrenbreitstein or the fort Konstantin over the city Coblenz and further away.

Bike or hike along the rivers Moselle and Rhine to their confluence at the German Corner with flower yard, pier, water playground and cable car to Ehrenbreitstein.

Explore the large fortress park with viewpoints and climbing playground, which was designed in 2011 for Federal horticultural show in Coblenz at Ehrenbreistein.

Hobby ornithologists and prospective small animal explorer can find interesting life within the dark wall cracks or in hidden biotops.

Quelle: © HR
Quelle: © DR
Quelle: © DR

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