Fort Asterstein

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Fort Asterstein, aerial photo (2016)
Fort Asterstein, aerial view from the west with partial view of the fortress park (May 2020)
The entrance to the preserved reduit of Fort Asterstein
Gate to the ramparts of Fort Asterstein
Inner courtyard of the redoubt
The Reduit and the gate to the ramparts viewed from the south
The Pfaffendorfer Höhe system on the right bank of the Rhine with Fort Asterstein (center)

The Fort Asterstein was part of the Prussian fortress Koblenz and belonged to the system Pfaffendorfer height . Of the fort , which was built in the 1820s and partially razed in the 1920s, the reduit in today's Koblenz district of Asterstein , for which it was named, has been completely preserved.


Fort Asterstein was built as the main work of the Pfaffendorfer Höhe system, as was the neighboring Ehrenbreitstein fortress in the New Prussian manner . The construction time of this building on the right side of the Rhine falls between 1819 and 1826. It remains unclear for a long time whether the existing French earthworks from the time of the siege of the baroque fortress Ehrenbreitstein will be restored or will serve as the basis for a new building. Ultimately, the decision was made in favor of a completely new building. The fort was given its name in 1847 in honor of the Prussian general Ernst Ludwig von Aster , who, among other things, did his job as inspector of the Prussian fortresses in the Rhineland during the construction of the Koblenz fortress. The fort was first occupied with troops in 1830.

The following engineer officers were involved in the construction of the fort in the construction phase until around 1823:

  • Johann Heinrich Koeppe (n) (* around 1789; † November 25, 1873), joined the Prussian engineering corps as a geographer in 1815, in Koblenz from 1820–1823, most recently major and field engineer in Schweidnitz , retired in 1848 as lieutenant colonel.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm von Kummer (* around 1794 in Berlin; † May 6, 1824 in Danzig ), 1814 second lieutenant in the engineer corps, 1818–1820 in Koblenz, most recently captain.

With other works on the Asterstein such as Fort Rheinhell , the Glockenberg plant and the Bienhornschanze , which were built in the course of the 19th century, the fort secured the cities of Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein against fire and formed a southern outpost of the Ehrenbreitstein fortress.

The fort underwent the most decisive renovation in 1865, when the wall in the northeast was extended and a second front was built. In connection with this, the wall was given traverses to cover it against lateral fire. In addition, the left flank tower, which attracted enemy fire, was laid down in 1875 and replaced by a low earthwork. The fort was used as a Prussian barracks until 1918 , after which French occupation troops used the facility until 1929.

Only the reduit , the gate (the southwestern casemate of which was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1943 ), a part of the left flank of the wall and the left of the fort Asterstein are due to the deconsolidation carried out in 1927, in execution of Article 180 of the Versailles Treaty , and later changes Flanking work (earthwork; executed as a flank tower until 1871). The right flank tower was removed in 1938. The outer works have almost completely disappeared.

From 1941 the Reduit was used to produce a newspaper (until 1945 the National Socialist National Gazette and 1945–1951 the Rhein-Zeitung ). After that, the fort was inhabited by Koblenz families until 1971 and was finally left to decay in the following years after the stairs and wooden ceilings inside were destroyed to prevent illegal resettlement. When a cemetery was set up in the immediate vicinity, remnants of the outer wall were leveled. From 1996 to 2011 the "Initiative Fort Asterstein eV" was involved in cooperation with the city of Koblenz for the development, maintenance and restoration of the facility. In 2010 one took place pressing the vault.

On October 19, 2019, the city of Koblenz opened the first construction phase of the "fortress park" at Fort Asterstein. The horticultural design with fixed paths, information steles and information boards serves to improve the development and experience of the fort and also includes the memorial for the fallen soldiers of the VIII Army Corps in the German War of 1866 on the edge of the Asterstein. In the park and at the monument there are visual connections to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress and the city of Koblenz to the Grand Duke Konstantin Fort and the Emperor Franz's fortress . The following construction phases are planned in the future as follows: Panorama path along the parapet wall (Astersteiner balcony), eastern park extension (relocation of the sports field), renovation of the redoubt with inner courtyard and surroundings and, if necessary, the integration of the cemetery area.


Fort Asterstein was built according to the polygonal system, the wall of which was oriented to the south with two obtuse angles. Quarry stone made of slate and greywacke was used as building material, red sandstone for edges and architectural elements . The fort consisted of a front and two flanks , after a renovation in 1865 it consisted of two fronts and two flanks. The trench was preceded by a covered path with a counter mine system underneath . For trench defense there was a trench weir on the trench floor in front of the front as well as positions in the trench walls, each of which was connected underground with the reduit. A separate gate building led into the courtyard behind the wall. Ramps ran from the courtyard to the gun emplacements, which were covered to the front and, after 1870 , were given traverses as lateral cover . Ammunition rooms were built underground.

The two-storey casemated reduit was located at the rear of the fort. It consists of a round building on the basis of a three-quarter circle (290 °) and two traditors adjoining the throat on a rectangular floor plan, which served to secure the throat. The front of the redoubt shows artillery and rifle slots. On the earth-covered roof there were more gun emplacements behind a parapet wall. The throat of the redoubt was secured by the moat running around the entire fort and supplemented by a ditch of the redoubt and a drawbridge . The throat wall is deliberately kept low so that in the event that the enemy had occupied the fort, the guns on the eastern front of the Ehrenbreitstein fortress could work into the fort.

Remains of the left flank work

The casemates were, as usual in the fortress Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein , gun emplacements that were also suitable for residential purposes and then also served as barracks rooms until 1918. (Rheinisches Pionier Rgt. No. 30) The basement rooms served as storage rooms. Under the traditor on the right is the cistern that stored drinking water pumped up from the Blind Valley and, from 1866, transferred from the Riddelsorn near Arenberg . From a tour in the basement of the rotunda, mine tunnels led off under the courtyard of the fort, one of which has been exposed.

The circular floor plan of the Reduit, similar to that of the destroyed Bubenheimer Flesche , is explained by the need to be able to defend this building, which is intended as a retreat behind the fort's wall, in all directions. In terms of art history, there are vague references to revolutionary architecture, e.g. B. to a design of a round prison by August von Voit , which follows the so-called "panoptic" tendencies around 1800 for the design of buildings such as prisons, workhouses, hospitals etc., whereby Voit himself took the type of tower redoubt as a model. Of course, Fort Asterstein did not think of monitoring and locking up the soldiers in the sense of a prison. Following the principles of the army reform of 1808 , the Reduit offers an almost cheerful interior view, the design of which, with its rusticated blind arcade and smoothly plastered arched niches, echoes baroque facades such as that of the Marstall of Weißenstein Castle near Pommersfelden . The gate structure shows a round arched passage and facades with pilasters , simple Tuscan capitals , architraves and plastered rustics. Together with the two wings and the gateway, the complex had a total of 51 residential and defense casemates.

After the destruction of large parts of the rampart and moat in particular, as a result of the Versailles Treaty in 1927, only the reduit at the rear , a three-quarter circle-shaped , two-storey building with combined gun and housing casemates , as well as parts of the main gate to the ramparts and parts of the left flanking structure. The earth cover is still present on all buildings. Despite the loss of substance and years of decay, the function of the system can still be clearly seen in many details. It is the last completely preserved reduit of the Koblenz Fortress.

Monument protection

Fort Asterstein is a protected cultural monument according to the Monument Protection Act (DSchG) and entered in the list of monuments of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate . It is located in Koblenz-Asterstein in the Fort Asterstein monument zone .

Fort Asterstein has been part of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002 .

See also


The fortress park and Fort Asterstein viewed from the west
  • Manfred Böckling: Fort Asterstein. Part of the Prussian fortress Koblenz. - In: Landeskundliche Vierteljahrsblätter 43 (1997). Pp. 9-24.
  • Matthias Kellermann: The Prussian fortress Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein. On the history of the fortifications on the right bank of the Rhine , 3rd edition, Koblenz 2014. ISBN 978-3-934795-63-1 .
  • Jürgen Klee: The Prussian fortifications on the Pfaffendorfer Höhe, Fort Asterstein . - In: New research on the fortress Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein . Volume 1. Ed. Of castles, palaces, antiquities Rhineland-Palatinate and the German Society for Fortress Research. 2., revised. Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner 2005. pp. 63–88. ISBN 3-7954-1764-3
  • Hans-Rudolf Neumann: The classicist large fortress Koblenz. A bibliography ; Regensburg S. Roderer Verlag, 2001, ISBN 3-89783-274-7 , p. 95 ff., P. 356 ff.
  • Thomas Tippach (Diss.): Koblenz as a Prussian garrison and fortress city economy, infrastructure and urban development . 2000 (series: urban research, series A: representations volume 53), ISBN 3-412-08600-2
  • Klaus T. Weber (Diss.): The Prussian fortifications of Koblenz (1815-1834) . (Series: Art and Cultural Studies Research) 2003, ISBN 3-89739-340-9
  • Rüdiger Wischemann: The Koblenz Fortress. From the Roman fort and Prussia's strongest fortress to the largest garrison of the German Armed Forces , Koblenz 1978 (note: outdated in many ways, but still the best representation for an overview)
  • Ulrike Weber (edit.): Cultural monuments in Rhineland-Palatinate. Monument topography Federal Republic of Germany. Volume 3.3: City of Koblenz. Districts. Werner, Worms 2013, ISBN 978-3-88462-345-9 .
  • Matthias Kellermann: Koblenz Fortress and Ehrenbreitstein. Deconsolidation 1920-1922 - photographs by Joseph Ring. Koblenz 2018, ISBN 978-3-95638-413-4 .
  • Dirk Wolfrum: The Royal Prussian Fortress Koblenz: The Fort Asterstein. - In: Fortis, Das Magazin, 2018, Cologne: Fortis Colonia eV 2018, pp. 70–73.

Web links

Commons : Fort Asterstein  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Udo von Bonin: History of the engineer corps and the pioneers in Prussia . 2: From 1812 to the middle of the nineteenth century. Berlin 1878. Friedrich Wilhelm Hansch: History of the Royal Saxon Engineer and Pioneer Corps (Pioneer Battalion No. 12) . Dresden 1898. Klemens Mersmann: History of the Royal Prussian Guard Pioneer Battalion . 2nd Edition. Berlin 1910. Military weekly paper [years 1816–1868] . Berlin. Ranking and quarters list of the Royal Prussian Army for the year ... [1817–1868] . Berlin. Archives: Garrison military church books, 18th and 19th centuries. Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin and Secret State Archive of Prussian Cultural Heritage .
  2. General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate (ed.): Informational directory of cultural monuments - district-free city of Koblenz (PDF; 1.5 MB), Koblenz 2013

Coordinates: 50 ° 21 ′ 17.5 ″  N , 7 ° 36 ′ 55.4 ″  E