Skip to main content

Jan. 11, 2020: The History Column, Koblenz, Germany


In 2000, Koblenz celebrated its 2,000th birthday, dating itself to its founding as a Roman border fort on the Rhine—and it got this fountain as a birthday present from the state government of Rheinland-Pfalz.


In ten levels, from the fountain up, this Historiensaule, or history pillar, tells the city's history, in detailed carvings, ending at the top with a city of the future, to symbolize Koblenz's future, and its rise from the ashes of World War II.

2-P1040064The lowest level, representing 500 years of Roman rule, has Roman boatmen in a boat filled with barrels of the region's wine. Then castles representing the Franconian royal court from the 6th through 9th centuries; then a series representing Koblenz's connection to the Bishop of Trier, 10th to 12th centuries; the Crusades and slave trade in the 12th and 13th; the flowering of bourgeois artisans and traders, 13th to 16th.


Then the era of the Thirty Years' War and witchcraft trials, followed by the French Revolution (France was just across the river, then) and the Prussian epoch after the revolution and up to World War I. Just before the future city of the top is a representation of the city's destruction in 1944.


And that brings us to the history behind the history (isn't there always another story to tell?)

The column stands in Josef-Gömes-Platz, which was originally Paradeplatz, a military exercise ground. In 1884, the Prussian government renamed it for General August Karl von Goeben, a hero (to the Prussians) of the Franco-Prussian War and the victor of the Battle of Saint-Quentin.


I800px-Goeben-Denkmal_01_Koblenz_2015n 1945, Koblenz became part of the French area of occupation, and the Goeben monument, and name, quickly disappeared, first into storage, and then to a barracks used by the new German army. When that base was scheduled for closing, Goeben found a new home and a new pedestal at an army base in Koblenz. Not only the scale, but even his expression seems to have changed!


Images (7)
  • 1-P1040063
  • 2-P1040064
  • 3-P1040065
  • 4-P1040066
  • 5-P1040067
  • Goeben_Denkmal_Koblenz
  • 800px-Goeben-Denkmal_01_Koblenz_2015

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Add Comment

Comments (0)

Link copied to your clipboard.