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.
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.
- 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.
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.