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The contours of the neo-gothic building rise more than about 330 ft above the river Moselle on an outstanding hill. The silhouette of the towering hill seems to continue in the building which is topped by the slate roof of the massive keep. As for its structure, Cochem Castle belongs to the category of castles protected by height that had to be protected all around. Romanesque fragments found in the well indicate a reinforcement of the castle around 1056.
Around this time or a bit earlier the core of the Romanesque square keep (17ft by 17ft) was built, its walls being up to 12ft thick. At the same time, the keep was also made higher. In the first half of the 14th century, archbishop Balduin of Trier connected the castle and the town by massive walls. Furthermore a chain was installed below the castle to form a removable toll barrier across the river.