Godesburg Castle

Bonn, Germany

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 foundation stones were laid by a vicar upon the order of Dietrich I, the Archbishop of Cologne. After Dietrich's death in 1224, his successors finished the fortress; it featured in chronicles of the 13th through 15th centuries as both a symbolic and physical embodiment of the power of the archbishop of Cologne in his many struggles for regional authority with the patricians of the imperial city of Cologne. By the late 14th century, the fortress had become the repository of the Elector's valuables and archives, and by the mid-16th century, was popularly considered the lieblingssitz, or the favorite seat (home), of the Electors.

The fortification had been originally constructed in the medieval style and in the reign of Siegfried II of Westwald (1275–1295) successfully resisted a five-week siege by Count William of Cleves. Successive archbishops continued to improve the fortifications with stronger walls and expanded moats, adding levels to the central Bergfried, which was cylindrical, not square like many medieval donjons, expanded the inner works to include a small residence, dungeons, and chapel, fortified the walls, added a curtain wall, and improved the roads. By the 1580s, it was an elaborate stone fortress, and it had been enhanced partially in the style made popular by Italian military architects.

In 1959, the ruin was rebuilt according to plans by Gottfried Böhm, to house a hotel and restaurant. Today, the restaurant is still in operation, but the hotel tract has been divided into apartments.

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Auf dem Godesberg, Bonn, Germany
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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

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