Eltz Castle was recommended to me by an American and apparently, this is their favorite destination as the place was full of American tourists during my visit. I can understand the interest of the Americans in the Old Continent. I always recall one story that is told by Fellini in the book „I, Fellini“, by Charlotte Chandler: during one of his visits in the USA, he asked for a studio in an old building to be placed at his disposal. They immediately found one for him – in a building that was 5 years old.
Or his next statement: “I don’t want them (the Americans) to show me ancient monuments because they would take me to some petrol station for sure.”
I don’t have anything against the USA, on the contrary. But to find yourself in the narrow rooms of the treasury and the showrooms together with a bunch of noisy people (in that case – Americans) could turn out to be a very unpleasant experience (at least for people of such a sensitive nature, like me).
Rising on a 70-metre-high rock, surrounded on three sides by the Elz River, the castle of the Eltz Family dates from the 12th century.
In the 13th century, a division of the family property and the castle was carried out between three brothers. Thus, the family divided into three branches – Kempenich (the Branch of the Golden Lion), Rodendorf (the Branch of the Buffalo’s Horns), and Rübenach (the Branch of the Silver Lion).
The three families lived together and every next additional extension of the building took the name of the respective branch that has carried it out. The castle’s building history spanned 500 years and comprises all architectural styles from Romantic to Baroque. The castle ended up with 8 living towers, more than 100 rooms and 100 family members, plus the serving staff.
As said before, Eltz, Lissingen, and Bürresheim Castles are the only ones that have the enviable fame of never have been destroyed over the centuries – thanks to a clever diplomacy and the right family policy, of course.
One sole situation of war underwent the castle, namely, between 1331 and 1336 when 21 knights, including representatives of the Eltz Family, joined hands against the aggressive territory policy of Archbishop Baldwin of Luxembourg. However, they couldn’t stand his siege and lost their independence.
Images from the inner courtyard. To remind again – the photography inside is prohibited, which makes the Belgian castles far more attractive to me.
Since 1815, Eltz Castle has remained property only of Count Hugo Philipp from the Branch of the Golden Lion. And it is a property of that branch to this very day.