EHRENBREITSTEIN, a town of Germany, in the Prussian Rhine province, on the right bank of the Rhine, facing Coblenz, with which it is connected by a railway bridge and a bridge of boats, on the main line of railway Frankfort-on-Main-Cologne. Pop. (including the garrison) 5300. It has an Evangelical and two Roman Catholic churches, a Capuchin monastery, tanneries, soap-works and a considerable trade in wine. Above the town, facing the mouth of the Mosel, on a rock 400 ft. high, lies the magnificent fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, considered practically impregnable. The sides towards the Rhine and the south and south-east are precipitous, and on the south side, on which is the winding approach, strongly defended. The central fort or citadel is flanked by a double line of works with three tiers of casemate batteries. The works towards the north and north-east end in a separate outlying fort. The whole forms a part of the system of fortifications which surround Coblenz.
The site of the castle is said to have been occupied by a Roman fort built in the time of the emperor Julian. In the rith century the castle was held by a noble named Erembert, from whom it is said to have derived its name. In the 12th century it came into the possession of Archbishop Hillin (de Fallemagne) of Trier, who strengthened the defences in 1153. These were again extended by Archbishop Henry II. (de Fénétrange) in 1286, and by Archbishop John II. of Baden in 1481. In 1631 it was surrendered by the archbishop elector Philip Christopher von Soetern to the French, but was recovered by the Imperialists in 1637 and given to the archbishop elector of Cologne. It was restored to the elector of Trier in 1650, but was not strongly fortified until 1672. In 1688 the French bombarded it in vain, but in 1759 they took it and held it till 1762. It was again blockaded in 1795, 1796 and 1797, in vain; but in 1799 they starved it into surrender, and at the peace of Lunéville in 1801 blew it up before evacuating it. At the second peace of Paris the French paid 15,000,000 francs to the Prussian government for its restoration, and from 1816 to 1826 the fortress was reconstructed by General E. L. Aster (1778-1855).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)