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:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.