Sunday, 29 July 2012

Koblenz

Koblenz derives its name from the Latin for confluence. It sits strategically at the meeting of the Rhine and the Moselle rivers.
The statue above is of Wilhelm 1, but is a very significant symbol of reunification for the German people. 
Known as German Corner, it is possible to see the confluence of the two rivers. The Moselle is the blue one. The edge of the statue of Wilhelm 1 is just visible on the left hand side.
A cable car took us up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
via wikipedia
No time to visit the fortress, instead we wandered amongst some beautiful, delicately coloured herbaceous borders.
Koblenz suffered considerable damage during the war, but most of the buildings have been rebuilt in their original style.
Basilica of St. Kastor
The Romanesque church of St. Kastor was built between 817 and 836 by Hetto, the Archbishop of Trier with the support of Emperor Louis the Pious.
Charlemagne had 18 children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. Nonetheless, he only had four legitimate grandsons, the four sons of his fourth son Louis. When it came to dividing up his empire only three of the four grandsons were still alive. Despite having so many children, the claimants to his inheritance were few. The three grandsons shared out his empire amongst themselves in this church.
In 1499 these two star vaults were erected in the nave and above the altar replacing the Romanesque roof.
The exquisitely ornamented early baroque sandstone pulpit dates from 1625. The wooded vessel is formed by four sides of a hexagon; on its sides are free standing figures of the Good Shepard and four of the Early Fathers of the Church.
St. Kastor's was damaged by a British air raid in 1944, and in 1945 the outer walls were damaged by artillery. The stone material including the vault remained largely intact. In 1948 enough money was raised for its reconstruction and a 25 year renovation began.

36 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    Another post which has served to remind us of our own visit to this very splendid German city some thirty years ago. At the time we were most impressed to stand at the point where the two rivers merge and, judging from your excellent picture, it remains today as impressive a sight as it was then.

    As with your Aachen post, we are beginning to think that we should revisit Germany for it really is a country with so much history and so much to offer the traveller.

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    1. Dear Jane and Lance - I am pleased that you have been reminded of your previous visit, and that you might now even reconsider returning.
      We enjoyed so much of what we saw during the week, and we were surprised at how much history and wonderful architecture there was.

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  2. Thanks again for sharing all this with us Rosemary. Koblenz looks like a very colourful city. It's amazing how you can see the two rivers coming together right in the middle of it.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. There are lots of wonderful places to visit in that area, and reasonably close together. Every city we visited fulfilled and far exceeded our expectations.
      It is wonderful to see the two rivers merging so distinctively.

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  3. What are those red things in the star vaults--they look just like a child's building set.

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    1. Dear Parnassus - that gave me a laugh - you are right it does rather resemble a building set my grandson had. I had not seen it that way myself, but now of course every time I look at it that is what I see.
      The stone vaulting has been painted a rusty red, I think, with the same pot of paint as the pulpit. Perhaps somebody with a rather zealous hand!!!

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  4. Very good pictures, I visited Koblenz last year but I did different things. Maybe I should go back.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. It is so difficult when you visit a place for a short time. We did see some wonderful street statuary in Koblenz which I am sure you did too.

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  5. I'm so glad those buildings were restored to their former glory after being destroyed. The picture of the two rivers joining is my favourite.
    Sarah x

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    1. The picture of the rivers is remarkable - they are distinctly separate and yet together too.

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  6. Thank you for showing me this interesting town!

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    1. Lots to see and do in that area of Germany Lise - thanks for your comment.

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  7. Rosemary - That is so "cool looking" where the two rivers meet! What a sight. Almost looks unreal. Is the Rhine very muddy in person? Fabulous photos, as usual. Thanks so much for sharing.
    xo,
    Loi

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    1. Loi - the different colour in water only became apparent from the cable car. The Rhine of course has already travelled a long way from the mountains of Switzerland into Lake Constance and on until it reaches this stage - the longest river in Europe. No doubt some of the heavy rain they had been experiencing earlier in the summer had a bearing on the colouration.

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  8. Interesting article. I remember about Germany somewhat when I was there in 1959 as a child. As a preteen I had a different perspective than I (believe) would be the case now. Having come from desert conditions in Libya I was amazed at the trees and mountains. I remember the buildings as well as a castle we toured but was more amazed at the pretty girls after 3 years of seeing Arabs in clothing that covered them from head to foot (face included of course). Your photo of the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine rivers is what sparked my interest. My brother and I once took a trip (1970) and I remember when we got to where the Ohio And the Mississippi rivers blended together and there was a distinct blending of the coloration. The Ohio was green colored and the Mississippi was a very dark brown from heavy rains upstream. Here is a photo from NASA showing the rivers confluence however the colors are reversed due to rain in different regions than when I saw the rivers. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6261 Thank you for the article.

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    1. Very interesting observations, and I am pleased that it reminded you of so many different occasions connected with your earlier life. The Rhine is glacial in origin which may be responsible for some of its different colour and also it travelled through a lot of heavy rain few weeks earlier. When standing beside the river it looked perfectly clean, it wasn't until we were in the cable car that the difference became apparent.
      I shall have a look at the website you recommend.

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  9. I really love that pulpit. It looks like the sort of thing you could stare at for ages and keep seeing new bits. Your trip does seem to have been filled with some wonderful sights. J.

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    1. Dear Janice - what a surprise to us our trip was with so many memorable and unexpected sights to see. I shall need another holiday to recover from it after I have done the final post - only one to go!!! For us, Germany was a revelation, in a very good way.

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  10. My dear Rosemary
    I am impressed by the wonderful photos! Especially those that show the union of two rivers. But should not be mixed the waters and do not seem the sharply dividing line? I am surprised ...
    Have a nice week
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympic - the dividing line with the Moselle and the Rhine is surprisingly pronounced. I do not know whether that is always the case or whether it was the result of some heavy rainfall further up on the Rhine. It probably takes a few miles before it finally completely merges. From the ground it was not obvious only when we were on the cable car.

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  11. Fascinating history and architecture. It must be amazing to be able to visit such wonderful places and have a deeper appreciation of their place in history.

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    1. When thinking about Charlemagne the name conjures up someone from the mists of time, but to actually see the centre of his empire and so many of the buildings he had built really does makes it a reality.

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  12. Some wonderful scenery, architecture and history in this post, Rosemary.. I am more and more convinced I need to travel to Germany very soon!

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    1. I do not think you would be disappointed Nat - really enjoyed your Olympics portrayal, very well done.

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  13. Dear Rosemary, I was raised in East Germany when history about Germany was not taught in schools. I am learning so much from your beautiful posts. Thank you. ox, Gina

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    1. I am pleased that you are learning so much about your original homeland from these posts Gina. Their medieval history and architecture is extraordinary, and I loved finding out so much about it myself. We were lucky enough to have a wonderful guide with us who was a fountain of knowledge and knew exactly where to take us.

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  14. Dear Rosemary,

    Like your other commenters, I find the graphic meeting of those two rivers so interesting. I wonder if the merging is always so well delineated?

    The red areas of the star vaulting look very modern to me, like something Buckminster Fuller would design.

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    1. Dear Mark - I had to look Buckminster Fuller up, and it brought me to his lovely geodesic sphere - so thanks.
      Yes, I think someone with a rather heavy hand and a love of terracotta red did the painting!!!
      I am not sure if the delineation of the two rivers is always so pronounced, or whether it was because they had recently had a lot of rain. It may have washed sediment down from the mountains on the Rhine side.

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  15. Hi, Rosemary! Beautiful architectures and interesting history. Glad to know these historical assets have been reconstructed or renovated without neglect. The different colors of the two rivers is clear in your photos.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - the reconstruction has been beautifully achieved, you would not realise unless told.
      Yes, the division in the rivers is very clear, but I do not know whether it always is. It may have been caused by heavy rain conditions many miles upstream, and earlier in the summer.

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  16. Wow, what wonderful buildings … and pictures of them : ) I would love to take a cable car!!! How utterly lovely :)

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    1. Dear Marica - glad that you enjoyed the lovely architecture of Koblenz. You certainly get a good birds eye view from a cable car. The cars look a bit precarious hanging on their cables, but do hope you have an opportunity to go in one some day.

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  17. Another fascinating and informative post, Rosemary. The basilica looks truly wonderful and I did enjoy the historical background.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - I really feel I need to return to Germany again having been delighted with the wonderful architecture seen on this trip. Glad that you enjoyed the post, you are always so appreciative.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and your lovely comment Lisanne.

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