On arrival in Koblenz take advantage of a guided tour of this historic city, lapped by the waters of two of Europe’s most beautiful rivers. Or visit a local winery for a guided tour and tasting of its fine wines. You also have the option of a guided cycling tour of this fascinating city. We decided on the walking tour.
Sleep in, have a late breakfast and a lazy morning as we continue on the Moselle to Koblenz. Feels a bit frigid on the sun deck, but for the moment we have a bit of sun. We arrived around noon, just after we lost the sun! But lots of time for a leisurely lunch before the walking tour at 2:00 pm. Thankfully no bus trip for this tour – started right off the ship. Got caught in the rain without an umbrella, again! Wow, will I never learn! It just poured and while my coat is water resistant it is not water proof! Made me wish I’d gone on the wine tour. Happy when the tour was over the rain stopped before the end and a little blue sky peeked out between the clouds. Weary and damp I was glad to get back, ready for a hot shower, dry clothes and a drink! After dinner we went to the lounge for drinks and a bit of music.
Koblenz is a 2,000-year-old city located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine. A Roman town founded in 9 BC, it became the Frankish royal seat in the 6th century. In 1018 it was given to the archbishops of Trier by the Holy Roman emperor Henry II and in 1214 it was chartered. A large scale equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I was raised at the confluence in 1897. The statue was destroyed in WWII along with much of Koblenz. Although Koblenz was rebuilt with many of the historic buildings restored it was not until 1993 that the statue was reconstructed. That was because the original monument was imbued with Imperialist iconography that was meant to rouse German nationalistic fervour.
The Altes Kaufhaus, a medieval building located on the Florinsmarkt in the old town of Koblenz was built from 1419 to 1425 in the late Gothic style. It underwent a Baroque renovation in 1724. Burned in an air raid in 1944, it was reconstructed from 1961 to 1965. It housed the Middle Rhine Museum from 1965 to 2013.
Spitals Andun became famous because on his birthday he would walk through the city with cardboard boxes and cigarette packs under his arms. His hat beautifully decorated with ribbons and flowers seizing the day. Everyone knew him and especially the young shouted at him in acknowledgment so that his birthday turned out to be a festive event.
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress – A fortress has existed, 118 metres above the right bank of the Rhine, since the 11th century. Throughout the centuries it has been besieged, destroyed and swapped between the French and the Archbishop Electors of Trier, princes of Saxony and finally the Prussians. It was blown up by the French in 1801 to prevent the Prussians having a fortress across from the French territory on the left bank. The Prussians completed the current fortress in 1828 – it is the second largest in Europe.
Jesuitenplatz Located in the middle of Koblenz’s Altstadt it is named for the Jesuit order, which was in Koblenz for almost 200 years until it was expelled in 1773. On the south border of the square, the Baroque former Jesuit college, built at the end of the 17th century, has become Koblenz’s town hall. In the southeastern corner is the Jesuit church from the 1610s with its Renaissance doorway.
Willi-Hörter-Platz Through a passageway in the former Jesuit college is the town hall’s courtyard. Here is a much-loved fountain – the Schängelbrunnen, showing a boy spitting water at irregular bursts into the basin that was designed by the sculptor Carl Burger in 1940.
The Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) has been a religious site for 1,600 years, going back to when the Roman Emperor Valentinian was converted by Christians. The Franks established a church here in the 5th C in what had been Roman buildings. It was built on the highest point of the city and from the late middle ages to the French Revolution, was the main parish church in Koblenz. It was repeatedly rebuilt and expanded through the centuries using the original foundations. Severely damaged in a 1944 air raid with reconstruction began in 1955.
Hygiea – Built in 1903 for the chemist/pharmacist Fritz Oetelshofen, in the Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) style. Hygiea is the ancient Greek goddess of clean living and preventative health, and daughter to the god of medicine, Asklepios and is also the patron for apothecaries.
Görresplatz Square Fountain – The fountain with its approx. 10-metre high column shows scenes from the history of Koblenz in ten three-dimensional scenes that are stacked on top of each other. The historic pillar was a gift from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate for the 2,000 year anniversary of the city of Koblenz in 1992.