The Monschau Castle presumably originated at the beginning of the 13th century. In the middle of the 14th century, the complex was extended and enclosed by a mighty circular wall and embattlements. This nearly impregnable fortress of the powerful Jülich Counts was besieged with heavy artillery by Emperor Charles V in 1543 and was ultimately overtaken; the town was looted. The castle was only repaired to extend the fortifications of the lower castle.
The French seized the castle as national property and sold it. Nevertheless, the private owners could not maintain the extensive complex. In 1836-37, they allowed the roofs to be removed in order to be released from the building tax. Thus, the castle quickly fell into ruin. It was only at the turn of the century that the province sought to offer to halt the decline. The castle was protected, repaired and renewed.
A youth hostel was settled in the west wing after the First World War. Thus, the Monschau Castle has survived as a lively and inviting “Youth Castle”. Christo had even packaged tiny replicas in 1971 and it is a spectacular highlight in Monschau when the castle and town are illuminated.
In summer, the inner courtyard of the castle is the atmospheric scenery for the “Monschau Festival”. Then the presentations of well-known artists and famous orchestras transform the castle into true mecca for music fans.
There is still a youth hostel in the castle. Alas, this is why the inside of the building cannot be visited. But even still, a visit to the inner courtyard and the dreamlike view of the city are worthwhile!