We've already heard about the Eltz Castle before but it's so far away from our home that we kept postponing our visit.
My husband was celebrating his birthday two weeks ago and as we were supposed to go to The Netherlands to visit his family, I planned our visit of this castle as well. It might not sound like a great birthday surprise but I combined it with lunch at a vegan hotel nearby as I knew he wanted to go there for ages. It wasn't exactly on our way to The Netherlands but it was worth two more hours in the car.
We left home at 7 AM to arrive at the hotel at lunchtime. We had delicious lunch, got to meet the chef and bought 6 bottles of local grape juice and 6 bottle of local sparkling wine.
It was raining and we were not sure if we should go to the castle or not. At the end we decided to go as we traveled so far already.
We arrived at the castle at 3 PM and had plenty of time left for our visit.
The Castle Eltz is located in the valley of the Moselle which is very interesting as most of the castles are on top of hills because it was more difficult for enemies to attack them.
We parked the car on top of the hill and took a shuttle bus to the valley as it was raining and the road looked slippery. It was a 5 minutes roller-coaster ride. The shuttle bus parked right in front of the castle.
We went inside and purchased our tickets (EUR 10 per person). The tour starts every 15 minutes and takes approximately 45 minutes. Our tour guide asked us not to take any pictures, so I will have to tell you everything about the interior and you will have no choice but to rely on my words 😊
He was a funny young guy who also told us some tips and tricks that were used in the medieval times.
If you have ever been to a castle you have noticed that the circular stairs are always built from the right side to the left side. This is not a coincidence and it appears in literally all castles (that's what he said). The reason is that if the castle was attacked, people on the castle would have an advantage during the fight on the stairs. As the enemy came from downstairs it would be difficult for him to manipulate with his sword as the stairs would be blocking him during the fight. It was assumed that everyone was right handed though.
Another interesting thing is the Rose of Silence. It's a decoration on the wall of the Knights Hall as well as on the bed in the bedroom. It symbolized the promise that the spoken word would not leave the room. The Knights Hall was used for the most important negotiations and it was important that all confidential information stays inside of the room. And the bedroom - I think you can guess...
The medieval castle Eltz was built in the 12th century and stands on a 70 m high rock. It's one of the three castles on the left bank of the river Rhine that haven't been destroyed over the centuries. The construction of the castle started in 1157 and lasted for over 500 years.
It has been owned by the Eltz family for over 850 years. The word 'Eltz' probably originates in the old German 'Els' or 'Else', which are names for the black alder, a tree that is commonly found along rivers.
There are over 100 rooms in the castle but only a few of them are accessible to the public. There are 4 main houses and we will visit the house of the Eltz-Rübenach family. Recently, there was a large maintenance of the castle and all furniture and artifacts that were found were added to this house.
The furniture that was found in the castle was put in each room to show how it might have looked in the past. But it's not the exact copy as there are no (or not enough) historical pictures showing the rooms.
The rooms are large and decorated with wood. There are decorative carpets on the walls that also have their practical function. It was difficult to warm up the castle and those carpets helped to keep the rooms warm during cold months. We saw more clever tricks to keep warm during the medieval times.
One example would be that the bed is not placed on the floor but it's build on some kind of a platform high above the floor. Do you know why? It's because the warm air goes up to the ceiling. And if this wasn't enough, the bed had some kind of doors which could be closed as well. It looked like a cubicle once closed. I would probably get claustrophobic inside 😊
There is a small chapel built in that room too. Actually, it's built outside of the room and it looks like a small tower attached to one side of the main building. Why is it like this? The chapel couldn't be built inside of the room as in the medieval times it was said that there is nothing between God and earth, so there couldn't be any part of the building above and below the chapel.
It's a pity that I couldn't take any photos but I can definitely recommend you to visit the castle Eltz if you happen to be in that part of Germany.
The tour was interesting and it didn't feel like 45 minutes. I think it's because of the tour guide who entertained us with many stories from the history of the castle.
After the tour, we didn't have much time to walk around as it was quite late and we still had to drive for about 3 hours to The Netherlands.
It was still drizzling but we wanted to walk up the hill to enjoy the views of the castle as we didn't have a chance to do so on the way down.
And it was worth it! Look at how beautiful it is!
My husband loved his birthday present and already told me about other places that he would like to visit. I guess it's in the hope of another birthday surprise 😊
Thank you for reading!