Archbishop Arnold II von Isenburg of Treves founded the castle of Stolzenfels in the mid-13th century. It is here, to the south of Coblence opposite the mouth of the River Lahn, that the archbishoprics of Treves, Mainz and Cologne and the Palatinate met. The castles of Stolzenfels and Lahneck are visible reminders of this confluence of rivalries.
Stolzenfels was extended during the second half of the 14th century by the Archbishops Kuno and Werner von Falkenstein. It was destroyed in 1689 during the Palatinate War of Succession.
The city of Coblence, which, thanks to Napoleon, became the owner of Stolzenfels, presented the ruin to the Prussian crown prince and later king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, in 1823. At the express wish of the prince, the castle was rebuilt from 1835 on the foundations of the earlier castle utilising what remained of the ruin.
Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed a palace in the English Tudor style with the roof almost entirely replaced by crenellations running all the way around the building. The palace was nevertheless equipped with all the household comforts of the 19th century.
The oldest part of the medieval castle was the pentagonal keep, built around 1250, with its protective curtain wall. A second residential tower was constructed around 1370, followed shortly afterwards by the great hall on the north side making for an impressive view when seen from the river. More recent restoration work has seen the reconstruction of the residential apartments at the rear, the chapel and the monumental southern gateway.
The interiors are beautifully decorated with furnishings from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Most remarkable is the double-naved, vaulted knights’ hall, modelled on the ‘great refectory’ of Marienburg Castle in East Prussia, with its important collection of historic armour and weapons as well as one of the earliest collections of old German ceramics. The small knights’ hall in the former residential tower from the 14th century contains wall paintings depicting knightly virtues.