Editor: Eifelverein, local Bad Münstereifel, branch status: 6/2016
Concept: Heinz Zanger
Photos: Almut Kossmann, Jürgen Küppers, Heinz Zanger
English: Elizabeth New 28.02.2017
Information for the user:
The city wall trail plan overleaf includes information as to the steepness of the main route and the adjacent footpaths. This enables disabled people to select an individual route. The total length of the trail – inside, outside and over accessible ramparts – is about 2.2 kms and can easily be managed in an hour. Please note that winter services are not available for all sections of the trail. In addition to the “Eifel view”, other particularly good photo vantage points are included. Access to the city wall is possible both from outside and inside the town and is well signposted.
Settlement began in Münstereifel with the foundation of a monastery by the Benedictine abbey of Prüm in the first half of the 9th century. The monastery experienced a rapid increase in prosperity as a popular place of pilgrimage from 844 on following the acquisition of the relics of Saints Chrysanthus and Daria.
At the end of the 13th and the first half of the 14th century, the entire settlement „Moenstere in der Eyffelen“ was secured as a valley stronghold against the Archdiocese of Cologne by building a wall around it.
According to Renard, „Pictures of Rhineland cities, page 116“, Bad Münstereifel is considered to be „the clearest and best preserved, admittedly the only example of the systematic bricking up of a complete valley section” (in Germany). The fortress forming part of the circular wall was first mentioned in a document in 1317. Originally as the seat of the Lords of Jülich – Bergheim, later on as country castle used by the dukes of Jülich as the official residence for the bailiff and steward. The castle was destroyed in 1689 by troops of the French king Louis XIV. With its 4 city gates and a total of 20 corner bulwarks, wall towers and secured Erft culverts, the city wall, 1.6 metres in length, counts as the best preserved in North-Rhine Westphalia.
The fact that the city wall still exists today is due not only to the large amount of restoration work carried out in the 20th and 21st centuries but mainly to its original construction. Apart from the gates and towers, the complete wall was built on foundation arches, or “foundation casemates”. This technology, with which the Romans were already familiar, prevents breakages caused by fluctuations in temperature. The exterior brickwork was reinforced all round by connected walkway arches. It can be assumed that most of the quarrystone used for the brickwork came from the material dug out when building the city moat. For particular building components, such as the archways for the city gates, the culverts and corner reinforcements, stones from the area around Bad Münstereifel were used. The same is true for the lime, which was burnt in Iversheim from Roman times right up until the 20th century.