Grevenburg castle was built in 1350 by Count Johann III of Sponheim-Starkenburg and replaced Castle Starkenburg as the residence of the Rear County of Sponheim. With the extinction of the ruling male line of the Rhenish branch of the House of Sponheim in 1437 the castle became seat of the bailiff of the new Counts to Sponheim.
In 1680 it was conquered by Louis XIV of France and was extended, together with the fort of Mont Royal in the horshoe bend of the Mosel north of the town of Traben-Trarbach as a part of the fortifications. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), in 1702 it was taken by the French under Taillardin and in 1704 on the express orders of the commanding officer John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough it was overpowered by Friedrich das Wehrschloss. The badly damaged castle was then occupied by the Dutch. In 1730 it was repaired by the Electorate of Trier for the defence of Koblenz and the Rhine river. In the War of the Polish Succession it was taken after three weeks' siege for the fourth and last time by the French who destroyed it in July 1734. The castle was blown up, huge chunks of it have plunged into the valley beneath.
Of the castle, although only the western wall of the former keep remains, the foundations are largely intact.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.