Top Historic Sights in Bonn, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Bonn

Bonn Minster

The Bonn Minster (Bonner Münster) is one of Germany"s oldest churches, having been built between the 11th and 13th centuries. At one point the church served as the cathedral for the Archbishopric of Cologne. Castra Bonnensia was a fortress on the site of current Bonn built by the Romans in the 1st century AD. It survived the breakup of the Roman Empire as a civilian settlement, and in the 9th century it became t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bonn, Germany

Electoral Palace

The Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss) in Bonn is the former residential palace of the Prince-Electors of Cologne. Since 1818, it has been the University of Bonn"s main building in the city center, home to the University administration and the faculty of humanities and theology. The palace was built by Enrico Zuccalli for the prince-elector Joseph Clemens of Bavaria from 1697 to 1705. The Hofgarte ...
Founded: 1697-1705 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Beethoven House

The Beethoven House in Bonn is a memorial site, museum and cultural institution serving various purposes. Founded in 1889 by the Beethoven-Haus association, it studies the life and work of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The centrepiece of the Beethoven-Haus is Beethoven"s birthplace at Bonngasse 20. This building houses the museum. The neighbouring buildings (Bonngasse 18 and 24 to 26) accommodate a research cent ...
Founded: 1889 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Poppelsdorf Palace

The design of a new structure to replace the old ruined castle of Poppelsdorf commenced in 1715 at the request of the owner, Joseph Clemens, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, who engaged the French architect Robert de Cotte. Clemens wanted a maison de plaisance that would be near his remodeled Bonn Palace one-half mile to the north. There was to be a canal between the two, following the example of the Palace of Versail ...
Founded: 1715-1746 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Godesburg Castle

Godesburg castle was built in the early 13th century on the Godesberg, a hill of volcanic origin, it was largely destroyed following a siege in 1583 at the start of the Cologne War. The site has a controversial history. First mentioned in documents from the early 8th century, there was supposedly an old cult site and its name derived from the old Germanic Wotansberg, Woudensberg, or Gotansberg. The fortress founda ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bonn, Germany

Schaumburg Palace

Palais Schaumburg served as the primary official seat of the German Federal Chancellery and the primary official residence of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 until 1999.  The late neoclassical palais was built between 1858 and 1860 for the cloth manufacturer Wilhelm Loeschigk. Bought by Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe, it was enlarged during the following years. In 1939 the German arm ...
Founded: 1858-1860 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Kommende Ramersdorf Castle

Kommende Ramersdorf was established in 1230 as one of the over 300 commanderies of the Teutonic Knights following the crusades. The Georgian chapel , which had been preserved, was built between 1220 and 1230. In the 13th and 14th centuries the commanders of the Ramersdorf were mostly Rhenish nobles, ministerial and urban patricians. After a fire in 1842, the entire complex was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style. Tod ...
Founded: 1842 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Doppelkirche Schwarzrheindorf

The Doppelkirche Schwarzrheindorf was once part of a Benedictine nunnery located at Schwarzrheindorf, now part of Bonn. The 'double church' has an upper church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a lower church dedicated to Pope Clement I. The church was probably built as a private chapel for Arnold of Wied, provost of Limburg Cathedral, Cologne Cathedral and the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maa ...
Founded: 1151 | Location: Bonn, Germany

Lede Castle

Burg Lede in Bonn-Vilich, the oldest part of Bonn, is a real gem. The origins of the site goes back to the 14th century. Von Loë family still lives in the castle. The personal atmosphere of the castle with its salons, the library, the castle kitchen and the small courtyard create an unusual ambiance for events ranging from weddings, official business events to a private cookery course with friends. A limited number of re ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bonn, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.

In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.

In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.