Historisches Lahnstein

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The Town Wall House

The Town Wall House

Impressively small

One of the most curious buildings on the Middle Rhine is the so-called Stadtmauerhäuschen – “the little house on the town wall”. This Baroque half-timbered house is erected up against two arches of Oberlahnstein’s town wall in about 1700. Its rooms make ingenious use of the medieval defence wall’s arched niches. Offering only 42 square metres of living space on two floors, this building is one of Lahnstein’s real ‘little’ treasures.

Local legend has it that it was once the lodgings of the gatekeeper of the Viehtor or ‘cattle gate’ .This is reflected in the mural on the front of the house showing a night watchman and his song. In 1826 the house “On the Wall” is inherited by Josef Gärtner. In 1897 there is a family of eleven living here.

On the ground floor there are a kitchen and a living room, whilst the upper floor consists of two bedrooms, one for the parents and one for the children. The house also has a cellar and two attics, the upper of which is joined to the town wall’s battlement walk. At the northern end of the battlement walk there is also a balcony-like outdoor seating area, but this is destroyed in a bombing raid in November 1944.

After the last resident moves out in 1969, the Town Wall House only narrowly escapes demolition. Instead it is acquired by the town of Lahnstein. This unusual building undergoes extensive restoration as a branch of the town museum and is refurbished to look as it might have done 100 years ago. Today the house is a cultural monument and is open to visitors as part of the historical tour of the town and at special events organised by the local support group.

Next to the Town Wall House you can see one of the last remaining water pumps which were once numerous and which helped supply the town with drinking water at the beginning of the 19th century. The pump is made of cast iron with wrought iron embellishments. The cast iron trough is an early example of work from the Gründerzeit ironworks at the foot of the Ruppertsklamm gorge.