Friday, June 01, 2007

Koblenz and the German Corner

Fifteen years ago, in 1992, Koblenz celebrated it's 2,000th anniversary. The city, located at the confluence of two of Germany's most important rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle, slowly formed around a Roman military outpost established there in 9 BCE. Roman remains abound around town including remnants of a bridge across the Rhine built in the first century CE.
The name Koblenz (Coblence during it's French ownership) appears to have been derived from the Latin word Confluentes, meaning confluence. With a current population in excess of 110,000, Koblenz has a hill, a castle, an old town and everything that goes along with these, to give it a "full card" for tourists. The "new" town is adjacent to the old town but is, in most respects, quite separate. It is a significant commercial and industrial force in the region exporting wine, as well as a wide range of manufactured products from pianos to paper and brakes to barges. In addition to being a major river port, Koblenz, quite naturally, has a large railroad terminal supporting the movement of goods.
The German Corner refers to the wedge shaped
spit of land formed where the two rivers meet. The entire area was given to the Deutscherrenhaus Teutonic Knights organization in the 14th century. It is dominated nowadays, at the apex, by a huge equestrian statue of Wilhelm I. Wilhelm I is somewhat credited with consolidating the various German monarchies and principalities into a more robust Federation, of which he was the Emperor, in the late 19th century. It was his grandson, Emperor (or Kaiser) Wilhelm II, who organized the statue and, later on of course, with his questionable grip on reality, was party to the missteps and blunders leading to WWI. The statue was wrecked by US ordnance near the end of WWII and rebuilt from public funds some years later despite French urgings to have it removed altogether.
German cuisine was still alive and well as the accompanying advertisement shows. This actually looks much better than the meal that was served up at the campsite restaurant under the guise of authentic German fare.

Looking across the German Corner to the gorge wall, the Ehrenbreitstein Castle complex can be seen. The current fortifications were built by the Prussians in the early 19th century

Emperor Wilhelm I mounted high on the Eck

St Castor's Basilica built in the 13th century but dating all the way back to 836 CE

St Castor's actually has four towers - quite unusual

Interior of St Castor

Interior to Altar

Former offices of the Prussian Regional Government of the Rhine Province, built around 1905

Novel "flat" fountain in one of the four Old Town squares

Theater and Obelisk

Jesuit Square

Most of the Jesuit Church was lost in 1944, during WWII.
This wing remains

Notice the huge stained glass windows at the end of the Jesuit Church

Part of the Deutscherrenhaus complex operated under the auspices of the Teutonic Knights, this building, on the Deutsch Eck, is now the Ludwig Museum

A busy downtown (Old Town) street

Another downtown view

More of the colorful and attractive shopping area

Alte Burg, or Old Castle, built in the 13th century by the Trier Electors for defense against uppity citizens who wanted some rights of their own

Basilica of Our Beloved Lady

Triple-naved St Florins Church

A (curious) tourist attraction in Koblenz is the Spitting Boy. One is exhorted to stand in the damp area at the front left of the picture for a photograph only to be drenched by a pint of water randomly spitting out of the boys mouth. What fun

Obviously, though, this looms large with the fun-loving Germans since even the manhole covers around town advertize the delight

This unlikely looking pair are the central character of a local nursery rhyme. Too bad we missed that, eh?

Marian crossing the Moselle on the way to new adventures

The campground is right across the Moselle from the German Corner.
A $1.00 ferry dumps one at the Wilhelm I statue

At last, under the thumb!

Weight gain? What weight gain?

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