Monday, October 3, 2022

Cochem, Germany

Cochem is a Moselle River cruise port and town in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state (Cochem-Zell district) with population around 5,000. On cruise shore excursions/roundtrip bus tours from Cochem can be visited Schlagkamp-Desoye Weinmuseum (family-owned wine museum) for a guided walk and wine tasting.

Among the town’s landmarks are Reichsburg Cochem (12th-century imperial castle), Winneburg Castle’s ruins (13th-century), Pestkapelle St Roch’s (17th-century chapel), Sehler Dom St Antonius Abbas (15th-century cathedral), Chapel at the Three Crosses (17th-century), Cochemer Krampen (24-km winding section of Moselle River).

Cochem’s economy is largely based on winegrowing and tourism. Most visited tourist attractions include Freizeitzentrum Cochem (leisure center), Wild- und Freizeitpark Klotten (Wilderness and Leisure Park), Ediger-Eller (golf resort).

A short train or car ride outside of Frankfurt lies the Rhineland region famous for its picturesque German villages and Riesling wines. I wanted to take a quick weekend trip from Frankfurt to check it out. I had no idea which town to visit for good wine tasting and by the Gods, I just happened to pick the most picturesque town called Cochem which was the halfway meeting point between myself (in Frankfurt) and friends I was meeting (from Luxembourg). There was no other reason for choosing Cochem but it turned out to be a good decision.

Cochem is a charming little city situated in a curving valley on the Mosel River and known for its stunning hilltop castle surrounded with views on the forested valley below, steep vineyards and rolling meadows. The Reichsburg Cochem truly is an incredible castle to visit. In fact, it may be in my top 10 castles that I’ve ever visited in Germany,

I thought the small town of Cochem was charming enough in its own to deserve a separate blog post just devoted to the narrow alleyways, half timbered houses, historical market place, medieval Churches, walls and city gates. The city has ancient roots, with the earliest mention in 866. Cochem has had a prominent history within the Eifel and Hunsrück regions as well as Germany, France and Europe as well.

HISTORY OF COCHEM

The history of the Cochem Castle dates back to the mid 11th century, but the actual castle in the town of Cochem along the Mossel River today is much younger. This castle, like many castles in Germany, saw many kings and invaders through the many troubled centuries.

Most estimate that the castle was originally built for the palatinate count Ezzo around the year 1,000 AD. For the following centuries, the castle was disputed between palatine counts until King Konrad III took control of the Cochem Castle bringing it to the imperial status which it kept until 1294 where the castle was pawned by King Adolf of Nassau.

The next major event in the Reichsburg Cochem Castle was the 1688 occupation by King Louis XIV, and then subsequently burned and blown up the following year in 1689.

The castle laid in ruin for almost 200-years when a Berlin businessman named Louis Ravené bought the site and castle ruins in 1868. During this period in Germany, it was common for the wealthy to purchase ruins and turn them into summer homes.

Coincidentally this project started the same year that Neuschwanstein Castle was brought back from ruins by King Ludwig II. Ravené used the ruins as a base and reconstructed the Cochem Castle in a Neo-Gothic style.

The reconstruction of Cochem Castle was completed in 1890 after Ravené’s death by his son, but would not stay with the family for long. The family was forced to sell the castle to the Prussian Government and it was then used as a Nazi law school during the war. After the war, the castle was given to the newly formed state of Rhinelander-Palatinate and then sold to the city of Cochem in 1978 who still own and operate the castle.

WHAT TO DO IN COCHEM

Upon arrival, it was early in the morning and few people were out. The town is small with narrow, colorful and perfectly maintained cobblestone streets adorned with gift shops, cafes, restaurants, and everything else you’d need. The streets all lead to the central market place bustling with historic German style buildings and impressive fountains. All of this culminates with the magnificent Reichsburg castle at the top of the hill which can be viewed from far away. This is Cochem’s claim to fame and is a must stop for visitors of the region.

There is one bridge in the town that crosses the Mosel river. The other side of town has more hotels and provides a great view of Cochem town. I think the best picture opportunities are actually from the bridge as you can see by these amazing shots I took of this oh so picturesque German village.

10 facts about Cochem, Germany

  1. Cochem is located on the Moselle river.
  2. It is famous for its wine, vineyards, and scenery.
  3. There’s a castle called the “Reichsburg Castle”.
  4. The castle dates back to the 11th century.
  5. The Reichsburg Castle was destroyed by the French in 1689.
  6. Cochem’s Castle is 300 feet above the Moselle river.
  7. If you climb to the castle, you get a stunning view of the town and the Moselle Valley.
  8. Dogs are allowed on the guided tour.
  9. The castle guided tour costs 7€ (adults).
  10. The castle is closed during Christmas.

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