Burg Eltz, the oldest castle in Germany

Burg Eltz castle

Almost every year I take my family and friends to this amazing castle. Burg Eltz built in the 1200’s, has been owned by the same family for 34 generations. It is built on a 230 ft rock on an important Roman trade route between rich farmlands and their markets.

Located between Koblenz and Trier, the Eltz castle is surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River, a tributary on the north side of the Moselle. I have been there several times with family and friends

In 1157, the name Eltz was mentioned for the first time. In a gifted deed to Emperor Friedrich the first Barbarossa, a Rudolfus of Eltz. Rudolf lived on the Elz, as it was called first, when it was still a small castle, which was a connection between Eifel / Maifeld and Moselle.

Burg Eltz castle

From the early days of the castle (13th and 14th century) the massive fortifications on the west side was built. Before 1268, the family of Eltz and now “Free Imperial Knights”, divided the castle into three lines. In the line with the Golden Lion, the Eltz “Kempenich” family, the Silver Lion belonged to Eltz “Rübenach” family, and the Buffalo Horns to the Eltz Rodendorf family. These three families formed a hereditary and residential community, the so-called Ganerbengemeinschaft.

Burg Eltz castle

In the long, fairly peaceful history of the castle was only one military conflict, the so-called Eltzer feud. The Balduin of Luxembourg, Archbishop and Elector in Trier, began in the early 14th century to expand its territory to Koblenz. The free “Reichsritterschaft” resisted these efforts. The Knights of Eltz with several neighboring castles formed a protection and alliance against the government officials. In 1331, Balduin began to crush this uprising and built a siege fortress, the Trutz- or Baldeneltz.

In 1336, the Peace of Eltz was closed: the Eltz became the fiefdoms of the Elector of Trier, to whom the castle of Eltz was transferred in the future as a fief

About a century after the Eltz feud, a long period of intensive construction work began on BURG ELTZ. The three main Family lines built their own homes: so in 1472 the late Gothic house Rübenach was completed; the Rodendorfer houses in the north were built from 1490 to 1540. The entire castle complex was completed by the late Renaissance and early Baroque.

The Family of the Kempenich houses were built in the 17th century. Through skillful policies and wise diplomacy of the Lords of Eltz, the castle was spared destruction in the great wars of the 17th century, making it one of the few castles never destroyed in Europe

Burg Eltz has been owned by the same name for 34 generations. The current head of the family is Dr. Ing. Karl Graf von and to Eltz Kempenich and is now passed to their young son.

Burg Eltz castle

If taking the train instead of the car, get off in Teis-Karden at the Hatzenport, then the Taxi or the Castle bus (on the weekends). When in the area we drive by car, Navi or Google maps, (set it up in your hotel cause of cell reception) set it to Burg Eltz. It takes you through the countryside, nothing really exciting on the way. When we arrive, we park our car by paying the parking ward. There is trolley that takes you for two Euros each way every 10 minutes.

My recommendation is walking down the hill and that is short 15 minute stroll. You have the best views and picture opportunities going down, then take can the trolley back up the steep hill if you like.

Opening Hours. How to get there. Tips and Recommendations:

The Tickets include a museum and guided tour through the castle and cost about 20 Euro. Ask for tour times, on weekends, depending on the crowd, it starts every hour. The Ticket person has the the WIFI password, so you you can upload the pictures to your loved ones. There is a cafe at the entrance to the right (outside) with shelter, perfect place to rest and eat a snack.

I recommend doing the tour first and meet with the tour guide in the courtyard. If not enough people doing the tour, they will cancel and you have to wait for another hour, or miss it all together. Last tour is at 5.30 pm.

Reference in German: Burg Eltz Geschichte

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