The Old Town of Koblenz is a delight to stroll. There is a wonderful main square where you can choose from many restaurants and cafes to enjoy a meal, or a coffee and to people watch at the same time. There are also many lovely little shops selling not only necessities and souvenirs, but also, clothing and local crafts. I love the little alleyways which are to be found in and around the square.
With the growth of cheap low-cost flights, more and more people have discovered the delights of german Christmas markets.
The one in Koblenz has all the normal ingredients of a 100 or so wodden stalls, mulled wine in the air and nativety crib (with rabbits for some strange reason) amusements and toms of Bratwurst on the griddle.
The market is a little spread out around the old town, but the centrepiece is in the 'plan'.
A good choice, and easily walkable.
Gauklerfest (Festival of buffons)
a festival with clowns, comedy, music around the city, held in July. In 2003 it is from July 25th - 27 th. Most things are free, no entrance fee. So go to the oldtown.
At the Mosel promenade, close to Balduin bridge, you will find this beautiful little castle. Alte Burg (Old Castle) was built on the foundations of a round tower dating back to the times of the Roman empire. In late 13th century the original structure was extended by order of Archbishop Heinrich II von Finstingen. A moated castle was built which became part of the city fortifications. During the centuries that followed Alte Burg has continuously been modified and reconstructed and Renaissance and Baroque style extensions were added. The building has 2 towers facing the Mosel and a 3rd for the richly ornamented spiral staircase built in 1557. During the Nine Years’ War, troops of the French King Louis XIV besieged Koblenz and large parts of the old town, including the castle, came to harm. The structure has been damaged a 2nd time in 1794 during the intrusion of the French revolutionary troops. Between1806 and 1897 a tinware factory settled in the old walls. After the shutdown of this factory the building was sold to the municipality of Koblenz.
During WWII Alte Burg gladly suffered minor damages only and between 1960 – 1962 the castle has been renovated costly and today it’s one of the main landmarks of Koblenz again. Alte Burg houses the City Archive and the City Library and can’t be visited, unfortunately. But the whitewashed walls and the beautiful towers nevertheless are worth a photo. After all it’s the only medieval structure at the old town that has outlasted the centuries and the eventful history of Koblenz without ever being destroyed.
At the old town you can find this beautiful early 16th century building called Schöffenhaus (lay assessors’ house). It was built next to the merchant’s house between 1528-1530 by order of archbishop Richard von Greiffenclau (died 1531). During the Nine Years’ War (in 1688) the lay assessors’ house was destroyed but in 1724 it was reconstructed. Damages of WWII were remedied during 1962-1964 when the building was converted into a part of the Middle Rhine Museum.
The most beautiful feature of Schöffenhaus can be seen at the building’s rear. Standing at the Moselle promenade you can see a fabulous rectangular oriel with leaded windows, wonderfully decorated and partly gilded.
On top of the staircase tower of Schöffenhaus you can also see a cupola crowned by a brazen star. The alley way next to Schöffenhaus is named after this feature: it’s called Unter'm Stern (Under the Star).
This church at the heart of the old town looks back on a most eventful past. The 1st sacral building at this site was a chapel used by the royal Frankish court. Later the chapel was replaced by a church which, in the middle of the 10th century, gained importance by obtaining relics of St. Florin. During the centuries that followed the church has repeatedly been extended and refashioned. In 1688, during the Nine Years’s War, huge parts of the church were destroyed. At the baptistery’s vault a cannon ball can still be seen. It serves as a reminder of the war’s destruction. In early 18th century the reconstruction of St. Florin’s church finally was finished. But already in 1791 the Southern steeple was again destroyed by a stroke of lightning. The French revolutionary troops which captured Koblenz in 1794 used the church as a magazine. The church inventory was scattered and the neighbouring diocese buildings were destroyed. Napoleon even had in mind to transform the remaining buildings of St. Florin’s church into the town’s slaughterhouse. Gladly this plan wasn’t implemented as in 1815 the Prussian troops brought Koblenz under their control again. The church was re-consecrated in 1820.
In 1929/ 30 archaelogical excavations brought to light foundations of the Roman town walls beneath the Gothic apse. At the Northern steeple you can also find 2 Frankish (6th century) sarcophagi which were found at St. Florin’s gardens.
the jesuit church was built in around 1580 when the jesuits came to koblenz. this church was partly destroyed twice, once by the army of french king louis XIV and again by napoleon. pictured is it's 18th century baroque portal.
The Prince Elector Clemens Wenzeslaus seems to have had an ambivalent attitude towards the Jesuits, but he evidently found them useful and let them stay on in his bailiwick even after they had been banned elsewhere.
When I walked through this square someone was playing the spiritual "When Joshua fit the battle of Jericho" on the carillon of the Jesuit Church.
The statue is of a man named Johannes Müller (1801-1858), a native of Koblenz who became famous in the nineteenth century as a professor of physiology at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
This "Coin Square" is where the mint used to be, back in the days when they were allowed to mint their own coins for this region.
This statue is of a jolly market woman talking to a jolly police constable in some jolly earlier century of Koblenz's history. On the statue there is a plaque with a jolly verse in the local dialect, saying that the market woman is complaining to the constable about a neighbor woman whose dog has peed on her husband.
Second photo: Speaking of jolly local traditions, the manhole covers in the Old Town all show a mischievous young boy called the "Koblenzer Schaengel" who was, like so many, a child of a Koblenz mother and a French father during the times when one of the French armies occupied this area. Sometimes all the inhabitants of Koblenz are referred to as "Schängel", though that is no doubt an exaggeration. "Koblenzer Schängel" is also the name of a free weekly newspaper that has been published here since 1964.
Third photo: These paintings, dated 1911, are in a street called Paradies which leads from the Burgstraße to Münzplatz.
Fourth photo: The Marktstraße is a busy auto-free shopping street near the Münzplatz.
The town of Koblenz was bordered in history on two sides of a triangle by the rivers of the Mosel and the Rhine, and on the other by city walls. Koblenz has been fortunate in keeping it's old town in tact. Although the city walls have gone to make way for the 'new town', it is still a relative term. Really modern stuff has thankfully been banished to the outskirts of town with just a few pimples of modernity intruding into the historic core.
The compact old-town is a pleasing mixture of squares, museums, tiled roofs, cobbles and frescos that just shouts 'German stereotype'. It is almost as if it had been planned as a disney film-set with a pied piper leading the boys and girls through the streets whilst gingerbread men sing from behind wooden latticed windows.
The 'plan' inparticular, the main square is a very aesthetically pleasing place to be, none more so than during the Christmas market.
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