Monschau Castle, locally known as Burg Monschau, lies in the town with the same name, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Germany.
The town of Monschau, situated in a small valley of the Rur river, has two fortifications; Monschau Castle and the Haller. The first is a proper castle, mainly built in the 14th century, on one side of the valley. The latter is probably a tower house from the 13th century on the other side of the valley. Although earlier the Haller was considered to be just a watchtower for the castle, it is now believed to be an older fortification and independent of the castle.
When Monschau Castle was exactly built is unknown. Although there was mention of a 'castrum' in Monschau in 1217, this might also relate to the Haller. What is known, is that Monschau Castle was strengthened in the middle of the 14th century for the Counts of Jülich and equipped with curtain walls and ramparts.
In 1543 the castle was besieged by the troops of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. After they had taken it, it was plundered together with the town.
In 1794 French revolutionary troops invaded the region. The castle was confiscated and became French national property. In the beginning of the 19th century it was sold at an auction to a private buyer who had the roofs removed in 1836 and 1837 in order to avoid building tax. After that the castle fell to ruin. The early 20th century had the castle consolidated and partly repaired by the government of the Prussian Rhine Province. After WW I the castle became a youth hostel.
In 1971 Monschau Castle was wrapped, together with the Haller, for an environmental art project by the artist Christo.
At present Monschau Castle is a youth hostel. Its exterior can freely be visited. Its interior only as a guest of the hostel. A very nice castle, although I rather dislike the big steel frame in its courtyard, which is used as a roof for when the castle is a venue for the annual classical open air summer concerts.