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Basilica of St. Castor

At the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, Archbishop Hetti of Trier started constructing the church in 817.

The Romanesque house of prayer was consecrated in 836 but negotiations began with the son who was posted there in 842, Louis the Pious. This ultimately led to the division of the Franconia Empire in the Treaty of Verdun (843). The current construction was mainly created at the end of the 12th century. On 30th July 1991 Pope John Paul II made the Church of St. Castor a basilica minor.

The story about the fountain in the square in front of the basilica is amusing. The French prefect Doazan acted somewhat over-hastily in 1812 in expectation of a victorious outcome during Napoleon’s Russian campaign. Before the end of the campaign he ordered the following inscription to be carved into the classical fountain made of basalt stone with two semi-circular marble baths:

“A Napoleon le Grand, an. MDCCCXII Memorable par la Campagne contre les Riusses sous la Prefecture des Jules Doazan.”

(Engl: To Napoleon the Great. 1812 in remembrance of the Russian campaign under the prefecture of Jules Doazan).

The Russian campaign obviously ended in a devastating defeat for Napoleon.
The victorious Russian soldiers came to Koblenz as it had been left by the French. The new Russian commander proved his sense of humour, as he engraved his comment underneath Doazan’s eulogy to Napoleon on 1st January 1814; in French of course:

“Vue et approuvé par nous, le Commandant Russe de la Ville de Coblence.”

(Engl: Acknowledged and approved – the Russian Commander of the town of Koblenz)

He thereby provided a lasting memory of Napoleon’s defeat and the end of the French era in Koblenz.

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