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Burg Eltz

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Rheinland, Germany.

  • Photo of Burg Eltz
  • Photo of Burg Eltz
Photo of Burg Eltz
Photo by ronlyons
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As you walk along a tree covered road, suddenly the trees open to reveal Burg Eltz crowning a hill at the bottom of a forest valley. With its tall stone walls and half-timbered turrets, this fairytale castle is all at once powerful and beautiful. Burg Eltz was not originally built as a defensive fortress but more as a fortified residence. References to the name Eltz and the castle first appear in the 12th century. Like many other German castles, Burg Eltz takes advantage of the natural landscape surrounding it. The castle is perched atop a 90 meter hill that is surrounded on three sides by the River Elzbach. In the 14th century, brothers of the Eltz family split off into three distinctive branches and divided the castle and properties. At this point Burg Eltz became a castle of joint heirs, with members from all three lines living in separate sections of the castle. The castle escaped most conflicts through the years by using clever diplomacy and family politics to settle disputes rather than warfare, thus the castle remains intact. However, Burg Eltz was involved in one conflict from 1331-1336, known as the Eltz Feud. The Eltz lords together with other free knights stood up against the Elector Baldwin of Trier. The Elector built a siege tower on the hill overlooking Burg Eltz which can still be seen today. The castle pleaded for peace when their supply lines were cut off in 1336 and the free knights of Eltz became vassals of the Elector of Trier. The castle has a guided tour that takes the visitor through the main areas of the castle. The armory displays arms and armor dating from the 15th century including lances that were used during jousting tournaments. The great hall is decorated with the coats-of-arms of the Eltz Family and a set of tournament armor from around 1500. The Treasure Chamber has an extensive collection of fine art and treasures that have been collected over the past 900 years.

Written by  Ron Lyons Jr..

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