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.

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Address

Oberer Weg 1, Cochem, Germany
See all sites in Cochem

Details

Founded: 1100
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Wouter V (2 months ago)
Really nice tour of 1hr. Great views and interesting history. Kids (+3) will love the hidden stairways, the deep well and the treasure room.
Jolien Somers (2 months ago)
Lovely city to walk around. You can find enough restaurants here. On top of the hill you have the Cochem castle. It gives you a nice panoramic view over the river. We didn't go inside the castle, because the tickets were too expensive.
Marcelo Ferreto Bispo (3 months ago)
Very nice place but very poor tour. The river views from the terrace inside the castle is the best in town, be sure to use the few minutes the tour passes through it to admire the view and take pictures! The tour is in German only, and you receive a piece of paper in several different languages to understand the tour if you’re a non German speaker. Few rooms to visit, but still a very beautiful castle!
Hendrik Lieffering (3 months ago)
A beautiful ancient castle along the river "Mosel" À rich history that is well explained by tour guides in major European languages. It is overlooking the town "Cochem", with a beautiful old city centre, nice shops and restaurants as well as various "Wine estates" along the riverbanks. Ample hotel accommodation. A great place for both a day trip, as well as a vacation destination. Enjoy it!
Doyel De Sarkar (3 months ago)
Nice castle on the river bank Moselle.. Very old castle.. The good thing is that there is only guided tour available which is informative.. But the guide will speak in german.. But they have print outs in different languages..
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