Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Eltz Castle, Moselle River, between Koblenz and Trier, Germany.

Website : www.burg-eltz.de
Eltz Castle
(German: Burg Eltz) is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle
River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. It is still owned by a branch of the
same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago. The
Rübenach and Rodendorf families' homes in the castle are open to the public,
while the Kempenich branch of the family uses the other third of the castle.
The Palace of Bürresheim (Schloss Bürresheim), the Castle of Eltz and the
Castle of Lissingen are the only castles on the left bank of the Rhine in
Rhineland-Palatinate which have never been destroyed.
The castle
is a so-called Ganerbenburg, or castle belonging to a community of joint heirs.
This is a castle divided into several parts, which belong to different families
or different branches of a family; this usually occurs when multiple owners of
one or more territories jointly build a castle to house themselves. Only a very
rich medieval European lord could afford to build a castle on his land; many of
them only owned one village, or even only a part of a village. This was an
insufficient base to afford a castle. Such lords lived in a knight's house,
which was a simple house, scarcely bigger than those of his tenants. In some
parts of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, inheritance law required
that the estate be divided between all successors. These successors, each of
whose individual inheritance was too small to build a castle of his own, could
build a castle together, where each owned one separate part for housing and all
of them together shared the defensive fortification. In the case of Eltz, the
family comprised three branches and the existing castle was enhanced with three
separate complexes of buildings.
The main
part of the castle consists of the family portions. At up to eight stories,
these eight towers reach heights of between 30 and 40 meters. They are
fortified with strong exterior walls; to the yard they present a partial
framework. About 100 members of the owners' families lived in the over 100
rooms of the castle.
a Romanesque keep, is the oldest part of the castle. In 1472 the Rübenach
house, built in the Late Gothic style, was completed. Remarkable are the
Rübenach Lower Hall, a living room, and the Rübenach bedchamber with its
opulently decorated walls.
1490 and 1540, the Rodendorf house was constructed, also in Late Gothic style.
It contains the vaulted "banner-room".
Kempenich houses were finished about 1530. Every room of this part of the
castle could be heated; in contrast, other castles might only have one or two
heated rooms. From 1965 to 1992, an engraving of Eltz Castle was used on the
German 500 Deutsche Mark note.

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