Blankenheim Castle was built around 1115 by Gerhard I and became the family seat of the House of Blankenheim. The lords of Blankenheim were elevated to the countship in 1380.
The site has been remodelled on numerous occasions. In the course of time the medieval defensive site was converted into a Baroque schloss with a Baroque garden and an orangery. Its end came in September 1794, when French troops marched into Blankenheim. Countess Augusta of Manderscheid-Blankenheim and her family fled to Bohemia.
For a long time the castle remained uninhabited until, in 1894, Prussia started work on safety measures. In 1926 it was taken over by the German Gymnastics Club and, in 1936, the site was acquired by the German Youth Hostel Association. They converted the castle into a youth hostel.
In 1996 the wildlife park tunnel was rediscovered. It is a noteworthy water supply gallery. Although the River Ahr flows nearby, the castle depended on rainwater. As a result, Count Dietrich III of Manderscheid-Blankenheim had a water supply tunnel excavated in 1469. The water from the spring In der Rhenn was thereby diverted from about a kilometre away and led to the castle.References:
The two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m in length and 109 m wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored). The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.
This new residential role continued until the late 18th century, and in 1825 through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, the change to national historical monument began. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena - a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with other Roman buildings of the city, as part of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments group.