Admission: 1,10 €
Guided tour: you can take the guided tour but you don´t have to. Tours are held at every full hour
Café/Restaurant: there are two restaurants, one is beautifully located at the balustrade on the "Exerzierplatz"
Information: various. Small booklet 2,50 €, detailed one 5,00 €
Souvenirs: large, well assorted shop at the entrance
Location: on the right bank of the Rhine in Koblenz ca 65 km from Rüdes-
Approach: you park right in front of the fortress, or go up in the chair-lift (nice thing for anyone feeling comfortable in chair-lifts...). From the foot of the hill bearing the fortress sufficient signs are put up along the way, but if you unfortunatly have been stranded on the left side of Koblenz (where the centre and the "real" city is) you will look in vain for any sign saying "to the fortress". In that case follow the direction "Montabaur". This will lead you eventually to a fingerpost to Festung Ehrenbreitstein
Festung Ehrenbreitstein is not a castle in a broad sense and doesn´t have anything to do with the middle ages. Originally there had been a castle lo- cated at this place but it was blown to pieces in 1801.
But as the location was suitable for the defence of Koblenz, a Prussian mili- tary fortress was built at the same place, and this is what you see.
Therefore I originally hadn´t any intention to visit the site, but my statistici- an´s heart...well you know.
And yet, I was deeply impressed. The fortress is huge and in very good preserved condition. The dimensions, the strict geometrical partitioning, the high walls to the left and right are captivating.
The guided tour costs an additional fee, I didn´t take it for once, ´cause details of Prussian war-strategy isn´t really my cup of tea. But anytime I met the group on my way through the castle I learned some interesting things. Surely no waste of time.
I was satisfied strolling through the site and feeling bizarre. Can anyone remember the computer-game "Hexen" of 6-7 years ago? Stupid bang and shoot stuff á la "Doom" and "Quake", but we played it day and night back then and were completely absorbed in the atmosphere of the game. ( You know, you sit in university and the surroundings are pixeled, you walk down a corridor in real life and you watch out for escape routes, have a close look on the doors on both sides cause monsters could emerge from them anytime, and you are worried ´cause you´ve only got two lives left...
Anyway, on one level you go through a abandoned fortress waiting for your cruel enemies and that level looked exactly like Festung Ehrenbreit- stein, the strict layout of the walls, the deep lawns, the shadows (did they already have shadows back then???) and the complete absence of real life.)
I was like in a parallel-universe which was just slightly shifted so as to notice the difference and I caught myself thinking, why, I already rounded this corner and I didn´t have enough ammunition for my bazooka and was running low on health... Like I said, bizarre.
But even anyone never having gone through this essential experience is not likely to escape the atmosphere of Festung Ehrenbreitstein.
The café on the large square has a beautiful terrace shaded by trees and a grand view of the two-coloured junction of the Rhine and the Moselle (no one knows why, but they flow side-by-side until the reach Köln before they blend.) The personal was of experienced, tourist-dismissing indifference.
Résumé: Anyone being only interested in (pseudo-) medieval castles or fortresses can skip Ehrenbreitstein. If you are flexible and like venturing on something different you most certainly will have an impressive experi- ence. If you like to drink your coffee in imposing surroundings you really should not miss the fortress. If you like going in a chair-seat you´ll find the perfect reason there. Highly recommendable Historic Games at Ehrenbreitstein
History: In the 10th century the castle Ehrenbreitsein was built at this location, coming later into the possession of the archbishopric of Trier. Over the following centuries the castle was expanded and fortified until it became a baroque fortress during the 17th and 18th century. In 1799 the French finally captured the fortress after a one and a half year´s siege and blew it up in 1801.
When the Rhineland became part of the Prussian kingdom in 1815, Friedrich Wilhelm III. decreed the restoration of Festung Ehrenbreitstein. The fortress escaped its dismantling after the first world war due to its outstanding historical and artistic significance as one of the most impressive fortresses of the 19th century. It now belongs to the land Rheinland-Pfalz.