History - DIE BASTEI

The present building, formerly part of the Cologne fortifications from the Middle Ages, overhangs a curve of the river Rhine. This corner tower protruding from the original river bank wall, was a strategic location well into the 20th century: As a bastion and lookout plateau to ward off the enemy coming from the Rhine.

From 1921, the Cologne architect, Wilhelm Riphahn became involved with the structure, which was in the meantime no longer in use. His idea to establish a restaurant initially faced considerable resistance from the town council. After presentation and approval of his architectural ideas (constructed expressionism), construction work started in 1924. On October 22nd, of the same year, the old facility was ceremonially opened intended as a Rhine restaurant.

Known as a “Caponniere” (a Caponniere is a defensive platform overlooking a fortification ditch, from where difficult to see sections can be secured), following a naming competition in 1924, the new ensemble was renamed “Die Bastei” (as a derivative of a bastion), and for some considerable time was considered to be “the most elegant restaurant” of the Rhineland.

The restaurant closed at the start of World War 2, and in 1943 bombs destroyed the building. Reconstruction took place during the 50’s according to old plans and under the same architects, and the restaurant was reopened on December 5th 1958 in the presence of the Lord Mayor Theo Burauen with his guest Konstantin Prinz von und zu Lichtenstein.