Saturday, 7 June 2014

Coblenz (Koblenz)

Coblenz is located at the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle, to which its original Latin name refers. It is also the northern end of the Rhine Gorge and draws many tourists to visit the nearby castles and the legendary Lorelei Rock. Like many border cities it has been repeatedly fought over.

The most prominent fortification in Coblenz itself is Ehrenbreitstein on the east bank of the Rhine opposite the confluence on the west. The current fortress is 19th century and it is possible to visit it by cable car from the city. The immense flat interior of the fort also provides Coblenz with a grand venue for open air exhibitions.

The gathering place for tourists on the west bank is the narrow strip of land to the south of the confluence. This is known as Deutsches Eck (German Corner) and features an enormous equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. The statue was destroyed in the Second World War and only certain recovered pieces are incorporated into the modern restored version.

The most prominent of the city's churches is the Basilica of St Castor, a Romanesque structure completed in 1208. In front of the basilica is a fountain dedicated to Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and two years later re-dedicated by the city's Russian occupiers.

The Electoral Palace is a baroque building, now a museum, featuring a view  across the Rhine.