Castle Stolzenfest is a Rhineland palace near Koblenz, situated on the site that was once a medieval stronghold, and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Originally built in the 13th century, like many other castles in the area it ruined remains were turned into a pleasure palace during the 19th century in the Gothic Revival style.
Arnold II. von Isenburg, the Prince-Bishop of Trier finished building the castle in 1259 to protect a toll station on the Rhine river. It was extended several times and some of the largest increases happened during the 14th century. During the Thirty Years’ War it was occupied by both French and Swedish troops and destroyed during the Nine Years’ War by the French. Like many other castles, the ruin was used as a quarry during the 18th century until it became the property of the city of Koblenz in 1802.
In 1823 Castle Stolzenberg was gifted to Frederick William IV of Prussia, the Prussian crown prince, after the Rhineland had become part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1822. Frederick William IV of Prussia was known to have been an admirer of the romantic castles of the Rhine. He had travelled the area in 1815 and expressed his fascination with the beauty of the region on several occasions. Following the fashion of the 19th century, he instructed Castle Stolzenfels to be restored in the Gothic Revival style, which was a common theme throughout the Romanticism. His particular inspiration was the restoration of nearby Castle Rheinstein. In 1842, Frederick William IV of Prussia, now king of Prussia, declared Castle Stolzenfels to be his summer residence and the newly renovated palace saw an elaborate inauguration ceremony, including medieval costumes and large processions. The chapel was inaugurated in 1845 during a visit by Queen Victoria and the overall work was finally completed in 1850. A number of famous professionals contributed to the building, including Friedrich August Stüler, who was later commissioned to rebuild one of the most famous German castles, Castle Hohenzollern.
After the 1918 November Revolution, the castle became property of the state and since the end of World War II is part of the German heritage conservation group. Today, the castle is open for tourists, after further renovation work that finished in 2011.
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