Burg Eltz


Location: Wierschem, Rhineland- Palatinate   Map

Bus: to Wierschem

Open: Apr- Oct daily


Description of Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz or Eltz Castle is a hilltop castle from the 12th century. It is located in the valley of the Elz, which separates the Maifeld from the Eifel, south of the village on the district of Wierschem in Rhineland-Palatinate at 129 m above sea level. NHN. The building is one of the most famous castles in Germany. Like the Bürresheim Castle and the Lissingen Castle, it is one of those fortifications in the Eifel that could never be conquered by force.


Founding in the High Middle Ages
The castle in the valley of the Elzbach (also: Elz) was probably built at the beginning of the 12th century on a trade route between the Moselle region and the fertile Maifeld. The name Eltz was first mentioned in 1157 in a deed of gift from Frederick I Barbarossa, in which “Rudolfus de Elze” appears as a witness. The late Romanesque keep Platt-Eltz and remains of the Romanesque house have been preserved.

The Elz flows around the castle on three sides and rises on an elliptical rock head up to 70 meters high. The builders based the layout on the shape of the rock formation. This resulted in the sometimes unusual floor plans of the individual rooms.

The first tribal division of the Lords of Eltz took place before 1268 under the brothers Elias, Wilhelm and Theoderich, with the castle and the property belonging to it being divided between the three brothers.

Eltz-Kempenich called "Eltz from the golden lion"
Eltz-Rübenach called "Eltz of the silver lion"
Eltz-Rodendorf called "Eltz of the Buffalo Horns"

The names of the main lines come from the wives by marriage who came from Kempenich Castle, Rübenach and Rodendorf (today Château-Rouge, Moselle department, Lorraine). All families then remained at the castle in a community of heirs; Eltz Castle was henceforth a Ganerbeburg, on which the parts of the castle bear the names of the partial lines.

With the purchase of Baron von Eltz-Rübenach's share (silver lion), the family castle became the sole property of the main line of counts and nobles from and to Eltz, called Faust von Stromberg (Eltz-Kempenich; golden lion).

Connection to Münstermaifeld
There was a connection with Münstermaifeld over the centuries. The Eltz gentlemen were active in the administration of the city throughout the late Middle Ages. Eltz graves are located in the former collegiate church Münstermaifeld. The epitaphs of the couple Cuno von Eltz and Ella von Esch, two basalt relief plates, the marble grave of Nikolaus von Eltz and his wife Maria von Hoort and a marble monument for their son Johann Wilhelm Antonius Bertramus Herr zu Eltz, Canon of Trier, are particularly artistic . The sons of von Eltz were canons in the Münstermaifeld monastery for centuries. Lothar von Eltz, who was elected the rightful “Praepositus” in the chapter on “Monster Meynfelt” in 1267, became known through a dispute with the Pope that lasted for many decades. Elias von Eltz (1331–1347) was one of the most energetic pen sprays in Münstermaifeld.

Conflict with Baldwin of Trier
In the years 1331–1336 there were the only serious armed conflicts over the castle. During the Eltz feud, the Eltz lords, together with other free imperial knights, opposed the territorial policy of Archbishop and Elector Baldwin of Trier. For the siege and a possible capture of Eltz Castle by catapult fire, the Archbishop of Trier had the Trutzeltz siege castle built on a rocky promontory on the slope above the castle, which today has only a few ruins. The besieged could hold out for two years, but then had to give up. The free imperial knights had to renounce their imperial freedom. Baldwin reappointed Johann burgrave, but as his subjects and no longer as a free knight.

Early modern age
The name Eltz-Rodendorf goes back to the marriage of Hans Adolf zu Eltz with Katharine von Brandscheid zu Rodendorf in 1563. In addition, through marriage he acquired the rule of Rodendorf in the Lothringer Amt Busendorf (today: Bouzonville).

Between 1490 and 1540, the later so-called Rodendorfer houses were built on Eltz Castle. The courtyard front of the houses opens up with a vaulted porch resting on three pillars. Next to her is a Madonna mosaic from the 19th century that is inlaid in the outer wall.

Jakob III, born in 1510. von Eltz was one of the most important electors in the history of the Archdiocese of Trier. Jakob zu Eltz became canon in 1525, capitular in 1535 and dean of Trier in 1547. He was also rector of the University of Trier from 1564. In 1567 he was elected Archbishop of Trier in Koblenz.

The Kempenich houses were built between 1604 and 1661. With their architectural composition and their structured half-timbering, they complete the overall impression of the inner courtyard. A well was built under the mighty stair tower to supply the entire castle with water.


The construction work was intensified and brought to a close by Hans Jakob zu Eltz and his wife Anna Elisabeth von Metzenhausen. On July 15, 1624, Hans Jakob zu Eltz was entrusted with the office of Trier Hereditary Marshal. He was the supreme command and leadership of the Trier knighthood.

In the period from 1665 to 1743 the Eltz family in the Kurstaat Mainz achieved their greatest influence. Philipp Karl von Eltz, born in 1665, entered the German-Hungarian college in Rome in 1686. After the death of the Elector of Mainz, Philipp Karl was elected as his successor. He was thus spiritual leader and the most powerful church prince north of the Alps.

Time from the Palatinate War of Succession to French rule
In the Palatinate War of Succession from 1688 to 1689, most of the Rhenish castles were destroyed. Since Hans Anton zu Eltz-Üttingen was a high-ranking officer in the French army, he was able to save Eltz Castle from destruction.

Count Hugo Philipp zu Eltz (1742-1818) was treated as an emigrant during the French rule on the Rhine from 1794 to 1814. His possessions on the Rhine and near Trier were confiscated. Eltz Castle and the associated goods were subordinate to the commandant's office in Koblenz.

When it later turned out that Count Hugo Philipp had not emigrated but stayed in Mainz, he came back to use his property and pensions in 1797. He became the sole owner of the castle in 1815 through the purchase of the Rübenach house and the property of the Barons von Eltz-Rübenach.

Restoration of the castle in the 19th century
In the 19th century, Count Karl zu Eltz was very committed to the restoration of his castle. In the period from 1845 to 1888, the sum of 184,000 marks was invested in the extensive construction work. According to today's purchasing power, this corresponds to around 15 million euros. He proceeded carefully and took the existing architecture into account.

Fire of 1920
On September 20, 1920, a fire broke out in the southern part of the Kempenich house and spread to other parts of the building. In particular, the chapel building and the archive above, the furnishings of the Kempenich house and the ten upper rooms of the Rodendorf house were destroyed. Reconstruction work (chapel and house Rodendorf) and restorations in house Kempenich were finished in 1930.

Securing and renovation (2009 to 2012)
Extensive safety and restoration work took place between 2009 and 2012. Among other things, the vault of the flag hall was endangered because of the diverging walls, and the front building of the Kempenicher house was statically secured. In addition to these static repairs, almost all slate roofs were renewed. In the roof structures, structural problems were resolved and wood pests were combated. Inside, the heating and sanitary facilities, windows and fire alarm systems were renewed and the historic plaster, the half-timbered facades and a spiral staircase were restored. The renovation cost a total of around 4.4 million euros. The measures were funded, among other things, by a grant from the Federal Government's economic stimulus package II with 2 million euros. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the German Foundation for Monument Protection and the owners made further funds available.

Award for Gräflich Eltz’sche castellany (2014 and 2015)
In 2014, the Oskar Patzelt Foundation recognized the 850-year-old company as a finalist in the Grand Prize for Medium-Sized Enterprises, and in 2015 it was named a winner. A quote from the laudation: "The company never aimed at maximizing profit or short-term luxury for the respective owners, but rather at the long-term preservation of the castle and the Eltz lands. This has been achieved over the centuries thanks to the commitment to sustainability and limitation to what is necessary and the always close to the region. "

The castle has been owned by the family of the same name for more than 800 years. Your current owner, Karl Graf and Edler Herr von und zu Eltz-Kempenich, called Faust von Stromberg, lives in Frankfurt am Main and on the Eltzer Hof in Eltville am Rhein. He took on the task of keeping the castle open to the public, securing its substance and passing it on to the 34th generation.

The castle has been in the sole ownership of the Eltz-Kempenich line (line of the golden lion) since 1815. The ownership shares were bequeathed to the sons (if available) (male fiefs). Here the respective ancestors of today's (Kempenicher) line.

In this respect, the “list of castle owners” is not complete, as the other tribal lines are missing.


Rudolf von Eltz
Elias von Eltz
Peter von Eltz (* around 1210)
Elias von Eltz (* around 1250)
Werner von Eltz (* around 1290)
Peter III von Eltz (* around 1310)
Richard II. Von Eltz (* around 1335)
Peter V. von Eltz called von Isenburg (* around 1355)
Richard III von Eltz (* around 1370; † October 4, 1423)
Johann VII. Von Eltz (* around 1410 - † December 4, 1480)
Johann VIII. Von Eltz (* around 1445; † 1508)
Johann von Eltz (* around 1460; † 1517)
Johann von Eltz (* around 1495 - † November 4, 1547)
Georg von Eltz (* around 1530; † 1562)
Johann Reichard von und zu Eltz (* May 31, 1555; † 1606)
Johann Anton, noble gentleman from and to Eltz (* 1595 - † September 2, 1671 in Koblenz)
Johann Jacob, Freiherr von und zu Eltz (born January 25, 1636)
Karl Anton Ernst Damian Henrich, Count von und zu Eltz (born May 25, 1671 in Kempenich; † July 19, 1736 in Koblenz)
Anselm Casimir Franz, count and noble lord von und zu Eltz called Faust von Stromberg (born June 27, 1709 in Koblenz, † January 25, 1778 in Mainz)
Hugo Philipp, Count von Eltz called Faust von Stromberg (born February 1, 1742 in Mainz, † November 20, 1818 in Koblenz)
Johann Philipp Jakob, Count von Eltz called Faust von Stromberg (* May 5, 1779 in Bingen or Mainz (?); † April 22, 1844)
Karl, Count von Eltz called Faust von Stromberg (born January 29, 1823 in Aschaffenburg; † May 26, 1900 in Vukovar)
Johann Jakob Peter August Johann-Nepomuk, Count von Eltz (born February 13, 1860 in Vukovar; † June 22, 1906 ibid)
Karl, Graf von Eltz (born July 17, 1896 in Eltville; † August 21, 1922)
Jakob, Graf von Eltz (born September 22, 1921 in Kleinheubach; † February 10, 2006 in Eltville)
Karl, Count von Eltz (born May 1, 1948 in Eltville)

Part of the castle can be visited in the summer months. Guided tours are offered daily between April 1st and November 1st.

The facility, which has been brought together from the family property from different centuries, presents itself to the visitor as a museum in the area open to the public. In the Rübenach house, for example, there is a collection of weapons set up in the 19th century, a salon and a bedchamber with a chapel bay window from 1531 and a four-poster bed from 1520. In the Rodendorfer house, the tour goes through a chimney room with baroque and rococo furniture, the so-called knight's hall The negotiation and ballroom of all three family lines served, a children's room with one of the last remaining, painted Renaissance beds from 1525 and one of originally three kitchens. The Kempenicher Haus is excluded from the tour.

The outstanding art treasures of the interiors include the oil painting Madonna with Child and Bunch of Grapes by Lucas Cranach the Elder, several panel paintings from the Cologne and Saxon Schools, a book picture Liber Vitae (attributed to Michael Pacher or his school) and Flemish tapestries from the 16th and 17th centuries 17th century. The furnishings in the taste of the 19th century include a striking majolica tiled stove in bright colors from 1881 (replica of the original in the Germanic Museum Nuremberg from 1540) as well as rich collections of Chinese and Delft porcelain as well as Westerwald ceramics.

The masterpieces of the art collection with over 500 exhibits from the 12th to the 19th century are exhibited in the treasury in the cellar vaults of the Rübenach house. The works of the Augsburg gold and silversmith's art include a 1.10 m high statue of the bridge saint Johannes Nepomuk by Franz Christoph Mäderl (1752), Diana on the stag (around 1600) as well as numerous ceremonial vessels and sacred objects. There is a Höchst porcelain collection, a clock collection from the 16th to 18th centuries and a small glass collection. In addition, various curiosities such as B. the ducat shit, the monster and gluttony are shown promoted by alcoholism, which served as vessels and containers. Some furnishings from Eltz Castle in Vukovar are also presented in the treasure chamber, for example a dinner service from the Augarten porcelain factory.