Business hours

11.03.-01.11.2017

guided tours:
daily from 09.00 - 17.00 o'clock

castle restaurant:
daily from 10.00 - 18.00 o'clock

Guided tour in English language daily at 12.00 and 15.00 hrs.

Events

LEGENDS AROUND THE CASTLE

The battle of the barrels

We are in Cochem castle. The year of its construction dates back to 1000 AD. The castle was a medieval structure of defence like other knights’ castles but maybe a little nobler as it housed the counts of the Palatinate along the Rhine who were related to the German Emperors, at the time when they were all called Emperor Otto. The history of the castle ranked itself seamlessly in the social fabric of its time with its intrigues and battles of power. Favourable marriages increased the powers of the powerful. But also murder and manslaughter were common, in order to assassinate disagreeable fellow men and rivals.

And so it came to pass that in 1062 Countess Mathilde of the Palatinate had the death of her husband on her conscience or for instance Count Hermann of Salm and Luxembourg, former German King, accidentally stoned to death the vigilant damsel of the castle in 1086. The counts of the Rhineland Palatinate - their territories wedged between the archdioceses of Cologne, Trier and Mainz - left the Moselle region and took up residence, from then on, in Heidelberg. The Prince of the Electorate and Archbishop of Trier used this opportunity to unite the Archdiocese Trier with Koblenz. Cochem Castle became an administration centre, the Moselle region was, on the whole, spared of various wars and the people of the Moselle were fond of saying “life is good under the rule of the hooked staff”.

It was however never entirely peaceful in the German states. The Knight Franz of Sickingen and his troupes drew in on Trier. The Prince of the Electorate called on the people of his electorate for help. From Cochem and Zell 386 armed men marched hurriedly to Trier. You have to credit them for their bravery because Knight Franz gave up the siege and withdrew. However his troupes, enraged by the lost chance of a victory, took out their anger on the Moselle villages.

One of these mobs approached Cochem. When they saw the town’s gates were barricaded they camped out on the meadow by the Endert stream and prepared themselves to storm the town. The councillors of Cochem, who had to organise the defence of the town, were in dire straits. Then one of them had an idea. They ordered everyone to roll the empty wine barrels up to the Endert town gateway and to pile them up high. As the ramshackle mob began to storm the town the next morning, they pushed over the pyramid of barrels. The barrels rumbled and tumbled down the hill straight into the ranks of the attackers. They were oppressed and crushed and withdrew. They thought, of course, in a town with so many empty wine barrels, there could hardly be any full wine barrels left to loot!

The people of Cochem still tell the tale today, over a round of drinks, about their cunning ruse back then and the victory of the battle of the barrels!

“Knipp Monday“

There is supposed to have been more than 40.000 Knights’ castles at one time in the German speaking part of Europe. They were the fortified bases of powerful people. They reported back on movements of troupes in their areas and were supposed to be able to fight small conflicts until the local lords summoned together enough troupes for a battle.

Such a surprise attack on Cochem castle was uncovered by a castle servant, who was riding along on high ground up in the village of Faid on “white Sunday” (the 1st Sunday after Easter) on his way to visiting his sweetheart. He encountered armed strangers and heard about their planned attack on Cochem castle. The servant galloped away immediately back to the castle and raised alarm. The men at the castle armed themselves ready for defence. The next morning when the mob attacked the castle they ended up beating a speedy retreat with bloody heads.

The lord of the castle was very grateful to his men for their vigilance and bravery, he gave them the day off work and declared the Monday after “white Sunday“ to be a public holiday for the people of the castle and the town for evermore.

Since then the people of Cochem make their way, with baskets full of food and jugs full of wine, to a meadow by the name of “Knipp” just above the castle where the attackers had prepared their assault that time. They eat, drink, sing and make merry and the young people make up for what the servant and his sweetheart had to go without on that day back then!

They celebrate every year since then "Knipp Monday".