HISTORY OF COCHEM CASTLE
It is generally assumed that Cochem Castle was built around the year 1000 by the palatinate count Ezzo, son and successor to palatinate count Hermann Pusilius. The castle was first mentioned in a document in 1051 when Richeza, Ezzo's oldest daughter and former Queen of Poland, gave the castle to her nephew palatine count Henry I. Even when Ezzo's family ceased to be palatinate counts, Cochem remained connected to the title of the palatinate counts. Years later, in 1151, king Konrad III put an end to a dispute concerning the succession by occupying the castle with troupes. Like this, he finally took control of the castle, which became an imperial fiefdom. Thus, Cochem became an imperial castle in the time when the Staufer dynasty reigned in Germany. From this time on, imperial ministers - with the title of "Lord of the castle" - were installed to administer the castle and the surrounding properties.
In 1294, king Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle and the city of Cochem as well as the surrounding imperial property of about 50 villages to Boemund I of Trier in order to pay for his coronation as German emperor. But neither Adolf nor his successor, King Albrecht I of Austria could redeem the pledge. For this reason the archbishops of Trier kept Cochem as a hereditary fiefdom until 1794. Under the reign of Archbishop Balduin (1307-1354) the old castle was enlarged and fortified. From 1419, the Lords of the castle were replaced by local magistrates.
When the troupes of King Louis XIV (called Sun King) invaded the Rhine and the Moselle area in the war of succession of the Palatinate, Cochem castle, too, was occupied in 1688. After the town had been completely occupied by French troupes in March 1689, the castle was set on fire, undermined and blown up on May 19th of 1689.
The French Sun King’s troops almost completely destroyed the town of Cochem. The castle remained in ruins until 1868, when a Berlin business- man, Mr. Louis Ravené, bought the castle grounds and the ruins. Shortly after his purchase he began to rebuild Cochem Castle incorporating the remains of the late Gothic buildings into the main castle structure.
The entire structure was rebuilt in the then popular Neo-Gothic architectural style. This style corresponded to the romantic ideals in vogue in Germany in the 19th century. The trend at the time throughout Germany was for nobility or other wealthy persons to purchase and refurbish castle ruins as family summer residences. The Ravené family followed this trend and used the castle as a family summer residence.
Today the castle is still well-equipped with Renaissance and Baroque furniture, which was carefully collected by the Ravené family. Since 1978 the castle has been owned by the town of Cochem and is run by "Reichsburg Cochem Ltd." Cochem Castle, situated on an outstanding hill more than 100 metres above the river Moselle, is a popular tourist attraction.