It was originally built as a customs house in 1790 and served its purpose until 1868 when it was replaced by a new facility further upriver. Since then, Alter Zoll has been used for various purposes, including an administrative centre and even a prison during World War II. Today, it serves as a popular tourist attraction and offers visitors an insight into life along the river centuries ago.
The most striking feature of Alter Zoll is its unique architecture, which combines elements of both Baroque and Neoclassical styles. The main building stands at three stories tall, with two additional wings extending out from either side. Its exterior walls are decorated with ornate carvings depicting scenes from everyday life along the Rhine, such as fishermen hauling in their catches or wine merchants selling barrels to thirsty customers.
Inside, visitors will find several rooms dedicated to different aspects of local history, including one that showcases traditional crafts like basket weaving and pottery making, while another displays old photographs taken around Bonn throughout the years. There’s also an interactive display where you can explore how taxes were collected back in those days – something that would have been very important for anyone living near this busy stretch of water.
If you’re interested in learning more about Alter Zoll’s past, there are guided tours available every Saturday afternoon between April and October (weather permitting). During these tours you’ll be able to visit all parts of the building while your guide provides interesting facts about its history as well as anecdotes about some famous people who visited here over time such as Emperor Wilhelm I who stayed here during his coronation tour through Germany back in 1871.