Monschau is a small resort town in the Eifel region of western Germany, located in the district Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia.
The town is located in the hills of the North Eifel, within the Hohes Venn – Eifel Nature Park in the narrow valley of the Rur river. The historic town center has many preserved half-timbered houses and narrow streets have remained nearly unchanged for 300 years, making the town a popular tourist attraction nowadays. An open-air, classical music festival is staged annually at Burg Monschau. Historically the main industry of the town were cloth-mills.
On the heights above the city is the castle Monschau, which dates back to the 13th century — in 1198 the first mention of Monschau was made. Starting in 1433 the castle was used as a seat of the dukes of Jülich. In 1543 Emperor Charles Vbesieged it as part of the Geldern Feud, captured it and plundered the town. However the castle stayed with Jülich until 1609, then it became part of Palatinate-Neuburg.
In 1795 the French captured the area, and under the name Montjoie made it the capital of a canton of the Roer département. After the area became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815, Monschau became the capital of a district, the Kreis Montjoie. During World War I some people argued that Monschau (or “Montjoie” as it was still called then) should be annexed to Belgium since it was historically a Walloon area that had been Germanized by the Prussians. In 1918 William II, German Emperor, changed the name to Monschau. In 1972 the town was enlarged with the previous independent municipalities Höfen, Imgenbroich, Kalterherberg, Konzen, Mützenich and Rohren.