Along the Moselle river, best known for it’s white wines, sits numerous medieval castle from Malbrouck in France to Niederburg near to Koblenz in Germany where the Moselle joins the Rhine.
We decided to head to Germany this week-end and our first stop was at the Cochem Castle.
From Trier, we decided to not take the highway but the scenic road along the Moselle. It is obviously a much longer drive but so much more interesting too. We passed some lovely little towns and wanted to stop in all of them. We also passed an incredible number of cyclists! German are very fit and cycle paths there seem perfect to enjoy the views.
We knew we had arrived in Cochem as the castle can be seen from a distance. Cochem is a town spread over both banks of the Moselle river, and is dominated by its beautiful and huge castle. Cochem seems as lovely and typical as it gets, but we headed straight to the castle as the town was packed with tourists.
The castle was first built in 1,000 A.D. but was almost completely destroyed by French king Louis XIV in 1689. Louis Ravené, a wealthy merchant from Berlin, who bought it in 1868 and reconstructed it, in a Gothic Revival style. It therefore doesn’t look like a typical medieval castle, but is still very interesting to see and visit.
The visit is a guided tour which takes you from the courtyard into:
– The dining hall, with it’s rich oak carvings, painted ceiling and a fake door.
– The Gothic room or Caminata, a room reserved for the ladies as it was heated by the fireplace. It has a beautiful ceiling with Gothic arches.
– The romanesque room, with crossed arches and 2 secret doors!
– The room above the last gate with its mermaid lamp to keep evil at bay.
– The hunters’ room with its hunting trophies.
– The knights’ hall with its impressive carved and stuccoed ceiling and eclectic decoration.
– The weapons room with it’s balcony and amazing view over the Moselle.
Each room is richly decorated and holds its surprises.
As with many other castle the visit only includes a small portion of the existing rooms. I was a bit disappointed to not get to go in the main tour.
The tour is adorned with an old mosaic representation of Saint Christopher. It measures 4m x 6m.
The Dining Hall
The dining Hall ceiling
The Knights’ Hall: The largest room of the castle
Behind the carved neo renaissance desk, the bust of M. Ravené, the rich merchant from Berlin who gave it’s life back to the castle in the 19th century
The unlucky one…
The Knights’ Hall tasteful statue on the table…
The weapons room displays those 3 armors. The one on the right was for a knight of 7 ft tall, incredibly big for that time.
This mermaid lamp is supposed to bring good luck. It’s the only thing you are allowed to touch in the castle!
Rub her belly and make a wish… who knows, it might come true!
The view from the balcony over the Moselle Valley. The castle is 100 meters above the river which was, in the middle age, the most important merchants’ route between France and Germany.
The well which is 150 meters deep
The main entrance gate
The technical bits:
The official website: http://www.burg-cochem.de
When driving along the Moselle and arriving in the town of Cochen, you can not miss the castle!
To access the castle, there are several options:
– From the town, you can walk up the hill by crossing the little medievals style street. The path is well indicated. note: Castle in German is ‘Burg’!
– You can take the shuttle bus (check the official website)
– You can drive to the upper part of the city (take the L98 road and turn left to find the K18). You will still need to walk up a bit but not as much)
The castle can only be visited with the guided tours organised. No wandering alone inside permitted. The slightly annoying thing is that tours are in German. This made it quite difficult for us. A one page summary of the visit is available in many languages but I think we still missed on a lot of the explanations.
Enjoy the visit!!
Next I’ll tell you about the Eltz Castle. A true beauty as well!!