Bargello Museum in Florence

Bargello Museum
View of Bargello Museum in Italy
Photo by: ejrrjs, Creative Commons

The Bargello Museum is located in Florence, Italy and it was first opened in the year 1865 and once served as a prison. The Bargello Museum contains an Italian collection of pieces ranging from the time period between 14th to the 17th century. The Bargello Palace was first constructed as a residence to the mayor of Italy in 1261 and from the 13th century to 1502, it kept that same function. The Bargello Museum is now known as Florence oldest building. The plan of the Bargello Museum building was later a model for the construction of Palazzo Vecchio (an old town hall in Florence).

History
The Bargello is a word derived from the Latin word Bargillus, which means castle. During the time of middle ages in Italy, the name was given to the building because of an officer who was in brought from Florence, to help to mainta in peace in the city at a time of violence. He was successful in doing his job and his status was similar to that of a police chief ad his office was give the name Bargello. Because of this, the building served as a police station and later was converted into prison. In the year 1780, Peter Leopold put an end to the prison, but the building remained as Florentine police headquarters until 1859. After the end of Leopold II's rule, the Tuscany governor decided that the Bargello building to be converted into a Museum.

Attractions
The Bargello Museum has been restored many times and it still stands as a great example of a building with a beautiful courtyard. The Bargello Museum has a Michelangelo masterpiece structure, St. George's tabernacle and several other Della Robbia family works. The Bargello Museum also has a great collection of ivory, silver and ancient coins.

Traveling to the Bargello Museum
Traveling to the Bargello Museum is very easy because it is located at the heart of Florence. The museum opens at 8:15 am and closes at 1:50 pm. The museum remains closed on 2nd and 4th Mondays, the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month and on the days of Christmas and New Years. The entry fee into the Bargello Museum is 4 Euros. You should visit this Museum because it has the great collection from the ancient past, just try an get there at last 15 minutes before it opens, it can get crowded very quickly.

April 5, 2009 at 3:48 am | 12 comments

Agrigento and Its Ruins in Sicily

Valley of the Temples
Valley of the Temples at Agrigento in Sicily, Italy
Photo by: Sirio, Creative Commons

Agrigento is a  city located in southwest Sicily, Italy. Agrigento is the capital city of the Agrigento Province. It is located near the top of Mediterranean Sea. The city is famous for the ancient museums, Roman ruins and several other archaeological structures. The city is a major tourist attraction and an agricultural market. Altough, in Italy, Agrigento's per capita is the lowest. Agrigento is also called Acragas (Greek) and Kerkent (Arabic). Agrigento means “Valley of the temples”.

Attractions
One of the main features of Agrigento is its agriculture. The people have adapted different styles in cultivation here. The world’s best strawberries are available here. Apart from its agriculture, the major attraction of Agrigento lies in its ruins.

Important Ruins

Valley of the Temples: Includes 7 ancient building remains. The 7 buildings include: Temple of Juno, Temple of Concordia, Temple of Heracles, Temple of Zeus Olympic, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Vulcan, and Temple of Asclepius

Castle of Poggio Diana: this castle was built in the 13th century and is home to thirty separate tombs.

Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus: this temple was never fully constructed,  but remained in ruins. This temple is one of the most significant Greek temples.

The fallen Atlas: the fallen Atlas is a part the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Atlas fell during the time of its construction. Over the years, many people thought of restoring the Atlas, but because of its poor condition, it was left as “fallen”.

History
Agrigento  was founded around 580 BC. The city was first called Akragas (which means unclear) by the Greek people. The Romans and Carthaginians ruled Agrigento during the 3rd century. The Romans ruled during the period 262 BC and Carthaginians in the period 255 BC. Agrigento was prosperous during the Roman rule. After the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, the people there were granted Roman citizenship. During  World War II, Agrigento was severely damaged,  including some extensive damages done to the historical buildings and ruins located there.

Traveling to Agrigento
Traveling to Agrigento is very easy because the city is connected to other cities by all major  means of transportation.

By bus:  there are several buses from the nearby towns and villages.
By train: from the Piazza station its about five minutes walk.
By air:  there are several flights from Palermo and Catania airports.

Any trip to the ruins located here would be very culturally and historically enlightening.

April 5, 2009 at 2:57 am | 11 comments

Bergamo in Lombard

Bergamo
Bergamo's view of the Upper City in Italy
Photo by: Lucifero4, Creative Commons

Bergamo is located in Lombard, Italy and is located 40 km northeast of Milan.

The Celts (people from central Europe) founded Bergamo about two thousand years ago. Bergamo is separated into two parts, and these parts of the town are joined by cable cars and roadways. The upper city is very congested and during the weekends and their are several traffic restrictions. UNESCO listed Bergamo on the World Heritage List as an important historical town of Italy.

History
Bergamo upper city is enclosed with Venetian style walls, that were constructed in the 17th century. Bergamo upper city is a great tourist destination and includes several places of interest such as a Citadel (Fort) built in 14th century by Visconti and the church of Saint Maria, that was constructed in 1137 and was completed in the 15th century. The interior designs of the church were changed during 16th and 17th centuries. The San Michele church built in 12th century, contains frescos (technique used in painting) that depict the wealth of the time of 12th to 16th centuries, including many Lorenzo Lotto paintings. There is also a castle, that was began in 1331 by William, priest of John of Bohemia and that was later completed by Azzone Visconti.

Highlights of Bergamo
Bergamo is a place of many sports, but particularly football. In fact the Serie A, Atlanta football team is from Bergamo. It is also a hometown for Bergamo Lions, the American football team. Also, it is the hometown of Costantino Rocca, who was only Italian who played in the Ryder Cup (Golf).

The Bergamo was a Roman municipality during the period of 49BC, and had nearly 10,000 people at that time. The Bergamo is famous for music. The famous musicians Gaetano Donizetti, Antonio Lolli, Gianluigi Trovesi were all born in Bergamo.

Traveling to Bergamo
Traveling from Milan is the best way to reach Bergamo. It takes about a one hour drive to get from Milan to Bergamo.

April 5, 2009 at 2:30 am | No comment

Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi

Basilica of St Francis
Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy
Photo by: Beyond Forgetting, Creative Commons

Assisi is a small city located in Umbria, Italy. UNESCO listed the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi as a world heritage site. Assisi city is a famous tourist destination. The nightclubs and pubs are a special attraction here and a wide variety of wine is available from them. When shopping in the Assisi streets, you will find that it has a wide collection of brands to choose from. Assisi is famous for its fish restaurants, where a wide variety of fish are available because of the good fishing at Lake Trasimene. The fish dishes that are cooked over the fire and as soups available here, are made from several species of fish and are considered a highlight of the city. The world’s best white wine and olive oil are from the area near Lake Trasimene.

History

Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis , who was born in 1182 and was the founder Franciscan order. Assisi is famous for the “Basilica di San Francesco”, which was built in the 13th century. The church contains St. Francis' relics and also some paintings describing his life. During Pope Pius II's rule (1458-1464), Assisi was under his authority. In 1997, massive earthquakes hit Assisi, causing huge damage to historical structures located there. The restoration was done quickly, in fact the Basilica di San Francesco, was reopened within a period of two years.

Major attractions

Assisi is well known for its architectural churches, which are listed below.

Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi: The UNESCO regards this church as the world heritage site.
Santa Maria Maggiore: This church is known to be Assisi’s oldest church.
San Rufino Cathedral: This church is built in a Roman style.
Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica: Contains 13th century paintings and saints tombs.

Traveling to Assisi

Assisi, being a tourist spot, is connected with all means of transport i.e., by air, water and roadways. People traveling there can choose the means of transport according to their interest.

Assisi has a great scenic beauty and a delicious selection of seafood is available there. This is a great travel destination because it is a wonderful place to find recreation and relaxation.

March 28, 2009 at 8:19 pm | 3 comments

Accademia Gallery in Florence

Michelangelo's David in the Tribuna
Michelangelo's David in the Tribuna
within Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy
Photo by: Rico Heil, Creative Commons

The Accademia Gallery is located in Florence, Italy and it is also known as “Art of Drawing” academy and was the first drawing academy in Europe. The Accademia Gallery contains one of the world’s most famous art collections and is said to be world’s oldest museum. The major attraction at the Accademia Gallery is the Statue of David, which was sculpted by Michelangelo (a famous Italian poet, architect and painter).

History
The gallery was built in 1561 by Cosimo I (the founder of the Medici Empire). The galleries architecture was designed by Giorgio Vasari, (a famous Italian architect and painter), Agnolo Bronzino (an Italian painter), and by Bartolommeo Ammaannati (a sculptor and architect from Florence). The academy meetings were held in Santissima Annunziata church. A rule was established that the Accademia members should only be male, but later Artemisia Gentileschi became the first woman who got the membership and invited by the Accademia indicating the growing respect toward women.

The Accademia gallery collections

The important pictures on display here mostly belong to 14th and 15th centuries and mostly include works of Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto. Michelangelo’s the statue of David, as stated before, is located here along with the unfinished statue of Saint Mathew. Another major attraction at the Accademia Gallery is the Pieta Statue (Mary holding the dead body of Jesus Christ).

The Gallery also contains the writings of several Russian emperors, who belong to Habsburg Lorraine Dynasty. These collections are displayed on the gallery steps. There are a large number of structures kept in the 11 rooms of the gallery. They are listed below

•Tribuna Del David
•Sala del Colosso
•Galleria dei Prigioni
•Sala degli Orcagna
•Sala del Gotico Internazionale
•Sala di Lorenzo Monaco
•Sala del Tardo Trecento
•Sala di Giovanni da Milano
•Salone dell Ottocento
•Sala dei Giotteschi
•Sala del Duecento e del primo Trecento

Traveling to the Accademia Gallery

Traveling to the Accademia Gallery is very easy. Florence is very well connected to other places by every means of transport. You can even arange to go on tours organized by several travel agencies.

The gallery opens at 8:15 am and closes at 6:50 pm, but it remains closed on Mondays. The entry fee is somewhere between 6 to 50 Euros. Visiting the Accademia Gallery would be a highly rewarding experience  because it is a place where different traditions and cultures from different countries can be seen.

March 28, 2009 at 6:58 pm | No comment

Neue Pinakothek in Munich

Neue Pinakothek
Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Germany
Photo from: Allie_Caulfield, Creative Commons

The Neue Pinakothek, situated in Munich, Germany,  is a fine arts museum which mainly highlights the European art works from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Neue Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne museums are a division of Munich’s “Kunstareal”.

The Bavarian Emperor Ludwig I founded the museum in the year 1853. The first building was constructed by August von Voit and Friedrich von Gartner, and was later destroyed during the time of World War II. Any remaining ruins of the building were destroyed completely in 1949. The present Neue Pinakothek building was built by Alexander Freiherr von Branca, a German architect, and in 1981 the building was finally opened.

The Neue Pinakothek museum is under the administration of Bavarian State Picture Collection ad there are currently about 3,000 classic European paintings dispayed there.

The collections display the international paintings of Francisco de Goya portraying him as a doctor; Don Jose Queralto, Jacques-Louis David, Johann Friedrich August Tischbein paintings of Nicolas Chatelain and Anton Graff’s paintings of Heinrich XIII.

English paintings
The English paintings contained in the collections are from the United Kingdom, these collections are the known as the masterworks which include the paintings of

• Thomas Gainsborough painting displaying the shepherds and the flocks
• John Constable
• David Wilkie
• Henry Raeburn
• George Romney
• William Hogarth
• J. M. W. Turner
• Thomas Lawrence
• Joshua Reynolds
• Richard Wilson

German paintings
The German paintings display the work of Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow, Friedrich Overbeck, Peter von Hess, Heinrich Maria von Hess and Peter von Cornelius.

Sculptures
The sculptures belonging to the 19th century are the works of Pablo Picasso, Antonio Canova, Rudolph Schadow, Aristide Maillol, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Max Klinger and Auguste Rodin.

Today, the Neue Pinakothek is an impressive place to visit. The museum has become a famous spot, which attracts people from all over the world. The museum opens at 10am and closes at 6pm except on Wednesdays where the museum stays open until 8pm and on Tuesdays, which is a holiday. The entry fee is about 4 Euros for adults and 9 Euros on special exhibits.

March 27, 2009 at 11:34 am | No comment

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle
View of the Heidelberg Castle, Old Bridge & Neckar River.
Photo from: MK Media Productions, Creative Commons

The Heidelberg Castle, located in Germany, is a famous ruin and the signpost for Heidelberg. It was built in the year 1214 in a Gothic and Renaissance style, and was expanded into two new castles. A large part of the castle was destroyed by lighting strikes in the years 1537 and 1764.

Prince Ruprecht III was the first person who made the castle as a royal residence and added several structures to it including the outer walls, ground floors of the castle and the outlines in the upper level that are built with stone.  He also added an imperial building known as “Fountain Hall” across from the castle. These two buildings were raised up under the reigns of Frederick IV and Ottheinrich. Today, these two buildings are considered as best buildings in terms of German architecture.

The West-side of the castle, built by Frederick V, is known as the “English Building”. The castle and gardens were devastated during the time of 30 Years War, however it was restored by Prince Karl Ludwig to just later be destroyed by the French Army. Prince Karl Theodore tried campaigning for the restoration of the building, but it never happened.

In the year 1764 a bolt of lightening hit the castle and the castle was severely damaged, and later the castle was changed to a quarry. The stones from the ruins of the castle were later used in building the houses in Heidelberg. However this process was stopped by Charles de Graimberg, who tried to preserve the ruins of the castle and who added King’s Hall to the castle in the year 1934.

Today, the King’s Hall is used for many events such as parties, stage performances, dinners and several other events. The Heidelberg Castle Festival, which is held every summer, is also held in the castle courtyard, where musicals and theater shows are held.

The castle opens at 8 am and closes at 5pm. The entry fee is about 3 Euros for adults and 1.5 Euros for children.

Traveling to Heidelberg Castle

Frankfurt Airport operates daily service to Heidelberg. Frequent train services are available from Mannheim. In addition, there are number public bus services.

March 27, 2009 at 11:15 am | No comment

Town of Goslar in Saxony

Goslar is a town located in lower Saxony, Germany, and is the managerial center for the Goslar district. Goslar is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Goslar  is located at the foot of the Harz Mountains at a height of 763 meters. The lowest point is at about 175 meters and it is located close to the Oker River. The soil at the Goslar is mostly fertile, agriculture is the main source and sugar plants are the major crop.

Goslar
Panorama view of the town of Goslar taken from the market church in Saxony, Germany
Photo from: wikipedia, Creative Commons

History

Goslar  has its history from the Neolithic period. Henry I, the Salian Emperor, founded Goslar in the 10th century following the detection of silver deposits in the Rammelsberg mines. The wealth discovered was what brought the Emperor to Goslar.

The Goslar Medieval Imperial Palace built in the 11th century and served as a residence for various German Emperors including Henry III.

Attractions

The Odeon Theater is Goslar town’s major theater. The theater is maintained by volunteers and often hosts cultural events and comedy shows.

Museums

The Goslar town has several museums including the following

• Goslar Museum
• The Town Hall Gothic Museum
• Museum and Visitor’s Mine Rammelsberg,
• The Mediaeval Imperial Palace Museum
• Monks’ House, Museum for Contemporary and Modern Arts
• Zwinger Tower and Dungeon, Museum for Late Mediaeval History

Sports

Football (soccer) is the major sport, but motor sports, rock climbing, biking and swimming are also popular sports here.

Events

The Goslar Festival is held in the month of July.
The Old Town Festival is celebrated in the month of September.

Traveling

The nearest airport is the Brunswick-Wolfsburg Airport which is located 24 miles from Goslar.
The Hanover and Brunswick train services are available frequently.
Brunswick regional transport provides frequent bus services from the central railway station.

March 27, 2009 at 11:02 am | 13 comments

Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria

Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Some of the Buildings at Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Photo from: mike warren, Creative Commons

The Garmisch-Partenkirchen, located in Bavaria (south Germany), is a market place and organizational center to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district. It also shares a border with Austria. Garmisch is famous for the winter sports held at the Bavarian Alps. The town was formed in the year 1935 as a unification of Garmisch and Partenkirchen villages. The Garmisch and Partenkirchen village mayors were forced, by Adolf Hitler, to combine both the villages as a part of Winter Olympic Games that were held in the year 1936. From that time on both of the villages were united.

The Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the location of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. The traditional ski jumping was held on the New Year’s Day of that year. In addition, various Ski jumping’s were also held here at the Kandahar Way. The Alpine World Ski Championships, that took place in the year 1978, were also held here. They are to be held there in 2011 as well.

There are several educational institutions located in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen villages, namely the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. This institution serves as a conference center for all the governments in the world and the institution is maintained by the funds which are given from all over the world. There is also a recreation center for the American Armed Forces which serves NATO and U.S. families. In the current days, the U.S. troops still provide security and support to the Edelweiss recreation center.

Important Facts

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the hometown of the famous German writer Michael Ende and the famous German Composer Richard Strauss.

In the present days Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a famous tourist spot for snowboarding, hiking and skiing. The 2018 Olympic Games are to be held here as well.

Traveling to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The easiest way to reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen is by train, where a Frankfurt to Munich train service is available frequently.

There are also several bus and taxi services available, which can cost about 20 Euros.

March 27, 2009 at 12:50 am | 18 comments

Dresden Frauenkirche

Dresden Frauenkirche
Center View of the Dresden Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany
Photo from: wikipedia, Creative Commons

The Dresden Frauenkirche, also known as the “Church of Our Lady”, is located in Dresden, Germany.

The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Protestant cathedral that was built by Fredrick August I. The church was designed by George Bahr, a German architect, who died before the construction of the church. In the year1736, Gottfried Silbermann, an organ maker constructed a three manual organ for the church. On November 25th, 1736,  the organ was presented to the church.

The construction of the dome was completed in the year 1760. It was about 96 meters high and was named “Stone Bell”. The Dome is often compared to St Peters Basilica, in Rome. The dome was hit by 100 cannonballs by the Prussian army during the time of Seven Years War, but in despite of attacks on the church like this one, it still survived.

On February 13th, 1945, the Anglo-American forces bombed Dresden Frauenkirche with almost 650,000 bombs, and the church lasted for two days under such strong attacks. The temperature caused by bombings reached upwards of1000 degrees which caused the dome to collapse on February 15th, taking with it the pillars and outer walls, thus destroying the entire structure of the church.

After the destruction of the church, several attempts were made to rebuild it. Gunter Blobel was the first person who took an active part in campaigning for the church’s restoration. He even donated one million dollars, which he was given with the Nobel Prize he was given for his contributions in the field of medicine.

Finally in 1994, the construction of the church began under the supervision of Eberhard Burger, who used the previous plans of the church by Georg Bahr. The church was constructed based on the pictures of the old church. The chapel was finished in 1996 and the dome was completed in the year 2000. Many pieces of the previous church’s ruins were used in the construction of the new church. Almost 8,500 stones of the previous one were taken, but only 3800 stones were used in the new building.

In addition, seven bells were added to the church in the year 2003, and Martin Luther’s bronze statue that survived the bombings was restored at the church entrance. On June 22nd of 2004, the construction was completed.

In present day, the Dresden Frauenkirche stands as a fine example in the field of construction. The Dresden Frauenkirche is also a popular tourist spot that is visited by the people from all over the world

March 27, 2009 at 12:32 am | No comment

Maulbronn & Its Monastery

Maulbronn
Maulbronn Town Square
Photo from: wikipedia, Creative Commons

Maulbronn is a city located in the Enzkreis District of south Germany that was founded in the year 1838 and raised from a settlement. Maulbronn was built as a residence for the Neckar Community that belonged to the Wurtteremberg Kingdom. Maulbronn became an official city and served as an organizational center until 1938.

Maulbronn is famous for its “Maulbronn Abbey” monastery, which was included in the novel “Beneath the Wheel” by Hermann Hesse and was listed among the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.

The Maulbronn Abbey was built by the monks who were passing through the valley following a mule in search of pure water. The mule was able to show the way to the monks. The monks then built the Maulbronn Abbey as a tribute to the mule.

Maulbronn Abbey was founded in the year 1147, with the support of Eugenius III, who was the first Cistercian Pope. The Maulbronn Abbey was built in the Gothic and Romanesque style and was sanctified in 1178 by the bishop Arnold. The chapel, auditorium, south cloister, hall and mill were added to the church in the 13th century and following this, the north, east and west cloisters were added during the 14th century.

Today, Maulbronn Abbey is a great tourist spot which is visited by the people from all over the World. Maulbronn Abbey opens at 9.00 am and closes at 5.00 pm in between March to October and in between November to April the Maulbronn Abbey opens at 9.30 am and closes at 5.00 pm.

March 27, 2009 at 12:23 am | No comment

Deutsches Museum in Munich

Deutsches Museum
Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany
Photo from: wikipedia, Creative Commons

The Deutsches Museum is located in Munich, Germany and is the world’s largest Museum in terms of science and technology. Every year 1.3 million people visit the museum and 28,000 new projects from 50 different fields in science and technology are exhibited.

On June 28th, in the year 1903, the museum was founded by Oskar von Miller, a German Engineer, at the German Engineers Association meeting. Munich City presented Coal Island for the museum. The exhibit collections came from the  Bavarian Academy in Munich City. The temporary exhibits were opened in the museum on November 12th in the year 1906.  The next day the foundation for the Deutsches Museum was created.

The museum was officially opened on May 2nd in 1925, on Oskar von Miller 70th birthday. From that day on, the museum contained the important documents of the library. During the World War II, the museum building was severely damaged and about 20% of all other museums were destroyed. The museum was restored in 1945.

Around the year 1950, the museum’s attention to science and technology diminished and such exhibits were reduced in number. In the year 1969, this changed with the Apollo 8 space shell exhibit titled  “Man and Space”. Because of this exhibit, technology was again given importance at the museum.

In present day, the Deutsches Museum contains a collection of airplanes including German planes from 1950 through 1960 and Russian and Vietnamese fighter planes. It also contains a workshop, which is dedicated to the airplanes. In 1995, a new branch of the Deutsches Museum was opened in Boon City, Germany that displayed German science and technology. There were also a number of exhibits belonging to different fields, which are listed below:

• Aerospace
• Agriculture
• Amateur Radio
• Astronautics
• Astronomy
• Bridge Building
• Ceramics
• Chemistry
• Chronometry
• Computers
• Electrical Power
• Energy Technology
• Environment
• Glass
• History of the Deutsches Museum
• Hydraulic engineering
• Machine Components
• Machine Tools
• Marine Navigation
• Masterpieces
• Mathematical Gallery
• Mining (Historical and Modern)
• Metallurgy
• Microelectronics
• Mineral Oil and Natural Gas
• Music
• Paper
• Pharmacy
• Physics
• Power Machinery
• Printing
• Scientific Instruments
• Telecommunications
• Textile Technology
• Tunnel Construction
• Weights and Measures

The museum opens at 9.00 am and closes at 5.00 pm, but some departments of the museum stay open until 8pm. The entry fee is about 8.50 Euros for adults and 3 Euros for children.

March 27, 2009 at 12:09 am | 2 comments

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral
View of Cologne city from opposite side of Rhine river
with the Hohenzollern railway bridge to the left, the
Cologne cathedral is located at the center and the
musical dome at right with the main train station behind.
Photo from: spacejulien, Creative Commons

Cologne Cathedral is the main home of the Cologne Archbishop and it is an important testimonial to Christianity. The Cologne Cathedral was built in the Gothic style and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Peter. It is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is rich for its architecture and was described by UNESCO as an “exceptional work of human creative genius”.

The present cathedral was built on the site of a Roman temple from the 4th century that is known as the “old cathedral”. The “old cathedral” was completed in the year 818 and in the year 1248 it was burnt. On August 15th, that same year, the construction of the present cathedral began. Since then, several structures were added during different centuries. The eastern section of the cathedral was completed in the year 1322 under the supervision of Master Gerhard. In the 14th century the construction of the towers began under the supervision of Master Michael, but the work was halted and the south tower was incomplete until finally, in the 18th century, the towers were completed and bells were added to them.

The Cologne Cathedral stands at a height of 157.25 meters high and is Germany’s second largest and worlds third largest structure. In the 13th century the construction of the cathedral began, and took about 632 years to complete. The cathedral is about 144 meters long and the towers are about 157 meters high and 86 meters broad.

Architecture

The cathedral was built in the French Gothic Style. The windows are high, and are made of glass. The carvings on the choir and the huge stone statue of St Christopher, at the entrance of the cathedral are done in the French style.

Attractions

The architecture of the cathedral was the main attraction. The twelve bells of the cathedral, some of which are from the medieval age, are also a highlight here.

Interesting facts

It is said that the cathedral contains the bones and clothes of the Three Wise Man (the three kings from the East, who visited Jesus Christ following his birth). During the World War II the cathedral was hit by fourteen bombs, but the cathedral was not destroyed, every one believed that it was a miracle from God. In the present day, the Cathedral s a major pilgrimage place and millions of people visit the cathedral from all over the world.

The cathedral opens at 6.00 am in the morning and closes at 7.30pm in the evening, there is generally no entrance fee, but a special admission fee of 4 Euros is collected for the treasury and tower ascent sections.

Traveling to Cologne Cathedral

A number of flight services are available from the Cologne Boon Airport. Frequent train services are available from the Cologne railway station. In addition, a tram, cars and public bus services are also available.

March 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm | 7 comments

Munich Residence

Munich Residence
Munich Residence Square in Germany
Photo from: Sridhar J, Creative Commons

The Munich Residence is located in Munich, Germany and is the Bavarian monarch’s royal palace. The Munich Residence is Germany’s largest city center and one of Europe’s best decorative museums.

The building includes ten courtyards and 130 rooms that are used by the museum. The building is divided into three major parts, which are known as the Alte Residenz, the Konigsbau and Festsaalbau. In addition, there is a Curvillies Theatre in a division of Festsaalbau. A park is located on the northern side of Festsaalbau, which was built by Maximilian I. It was built in a French style and also contains a circular temple that is crowned by a Bavarian statue.

The first building of the Munich residence was constructed in the year 1385. A new castle was later built in the place of the old building as a residence to the Wittelsbach rulers. The building was built in  Baroque, Classicism, Renaissance and Rococo styles.

The palace is famous for its collections, where a number of crowns, goldsmith works, ivory work and tableware are displayed. The collections are as follows:

• Emperor Charles Prayer book belonging to 860 ca
• Emperor Arnulf altar-ciborium belonging to 890 ca
• Empress Cunigunde crown
• Emperor Henry II, cross
• Queen Gisela cross belonging to 1000 ca
• Emperor Henry crown belonging to (ca. 1270),
• English Queen’s crown belonging to (ca. 1370),
• St George statue belonging to 1599 ca
• Bavaria crown belonging to 1804
• Queen Therese and ruby jewelry and ceremonial swords
• The Bavarian Emperors emblem and orders
• Emperor Charles VII emblem

The museum also contains the coin gallery founded by Albert V, where 300,000 Bavarian state’s coins, banknotes and medals belonging to the ancient past are displayed. It is one of the most extensive collections in the world.

March 26, 2009 at 10:21 pm | No comment

Hofbrauhaus in Munich

Hofbrauhaus
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl in Munich, Germany
Photo from: Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Hofbrauhaus Hall is located in Munich, Germany. It is a brewery (beer making building) that is operated by the state administration. Hofbrauhaus is owned by the brewery, but the brewery only handles Hofbrauhaus it doesn’t operate it. The Hofbrauhaus is the second most distributed beer at Oktoberfest, which is the world’s largest “beerfest”exhibition and is held in Munich.

Hofbrauhaus has been around since the19th century. Hofbrauhaus Hall was used as a stage by the Nazi Party to announce its policies. On February 24, 1920,  Adolf Hitler declared national Socialist Party’s twenty five ideas in Hofbrauhaus Hall. Adolf Hitler also painted the Hofbrauhaus Hall, when he was a child, and that painting was exhibited to public in 2006.

Hofbrauhaus Hall consists of a beer garden, ballroom and a restaurant. The restaurants serve the Bavarian dishes which include Knuckle of pork and roast pork.  Wine and wheat beer are also served.

The Hofbrauhaus beer has other branches in Melbourne, Australia and also in several places in U.S. including Las Vegas, Newport, and Miami Beach. There is also a place in Pittsburgh which is expected to open in 2009.

Dubai’s JVV Marriott hotel has taken a license from the Hofbrauhaus and have opened a Bar and Restaurant of the Hofbrauhaus beer in their hotel.

March 26, 2009 at 9:24 pm | No comment

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich

The Nymphenburg Palace, located in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, is a decorated palace and also the Bavarian rulers summer residence.

Ferdinand Maria and Henrietta built the Nymphenburg Palace after their son’s birth in the year 1664. Agostino Barelli, an Italian architect, designed the Nymphenburg Palace. The palace was built in several years, in the year 1675 the construction of the innermost pavilion was finished.

Nymphenburg Palace
Front View of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, Germany
Photo from: Richard Bartz, Creative Commons

In the year 1701, Max Emanuel, a Bavarian emperor thought of expanding the palace. As a result, two more pavilions were built in the north and south directions of the palace by Giovanni Antonio Viscardi and Enrico Zucalli. In addition, the south block was extended, a hall was built, and an Orangerie was added to the north block. Also, an impressive circle with decorative mansions was added by Roman Emperor Charles Albert VII, Max Emanuel’s son.

In the year 1716, the front face of the central pavilion was redesigned, by Joseph Effner, in a French decorative style. The final structure of the Nymphenburg Palace was completed in the year 1741, by the King Charles Albert, who was associated with Spain and France. The palace had been a summer residence for the Bavarian rulers for a long period.

Nymphenburg Palace Panorama
Panorama View of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, German

There is a park in the palace that premises about 490 acres. The park was built by Dominique Girard in a French style, but in the 19th century, the park was redesigned into the English style by Friedrich Ludwig Von Sckell. A long canal intersects the park, which guides from the palace towards the Deities of Greek Gods.

Today, the Nymphenburg Palace is the most famous spot in Munich.  The stone hall, with its roof and the decorations, delivers an impressive view and a majority of the rooms display the ornamental decoration in a neoclassical style.

March 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm | 2 comments

Pergamon Museum in Berlin

Pergamon Museum
The Pergamon Musem in Berlin, Germany
Photo from: Raimond Spekking, Creative Commons

The Pergamon Museum is located in Berlin, Germany, which is the best place to find religious art .The museum was designed by Ludwig Hoffmann and Alfred Messel and built in between the years 1910 to 1930.

The Pergamon Museum consists of three departments and they are Classical Antiquities, the Sculpture Wing and Islamic Arts. The major attraction at the museum is the Zeus Altar which is from about180-160 BC and it located in the department of Classical Antiquities. In addition, impressive paintings are displayed on the walls of the department which show the Olympian Gods struggle over the Titans. Some of these wall paintings took about 20 to restore.

Also, the department contains the Miletus Market Gate and a large number of other structures from the Roman and Greek cities. One such structure is a goddess statue from 575 BC, which had been buried for about 2000 years and was discovered in southern Attica. It  was well preserved and even the original paintings can be seen on the statues clothes.

A large number of collections from the ancient cities of Persia, Assyria and Babylonia are displayed in the North East Museum. The exhibits include the Ishtar Gate coming from about 580 BC and Emperor Nebuchadnezzar II’s throne from 604-562 BC. In addition, there are metal and glass objects used by the ancient primitive tribes displayed there.

The southern part of the museum, which is also known as Museum of “Islamic Art”, contains the collection of carpets, illuminated manuscripts, miniatures and wooden carvings.

March 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm | No comment

Moselle Valley

Moselle Valley
Moselle Valley in Germany
Photo from: Michael Gwyther-Jones, Creative Commons

Moselle Valley is a constituency located on the borders of south-west Germany, north-eastern France and eastern Luxembourg and Belgium.

Moselle is popularly recognized for its tourism, beautiful landscapes and white wine, which has been produced there since the 19th century. It is also known for Moselle Valley’s famous “Moselle wine”, which is produced in three different countries that are Luxembourg, France and the German Mosel region.

The Moselle is located in the western grade of the Vosges Mountains. The total length of the Moselle valley is about 545 km. The Moselle River and the castles are the main attractions in the Moselle Valley.

Castles:

Castle of Cochem
This castle was built in 11th century and destroyed in 1889 by French soldiers. The present structure of the castle was built in the 19th century.

Burg Bischofstein
Built in the 13th century, but was destroyed during the grand Alliance war and later was rebuilt for a second time. At present, the castle serves as a center for a gymnasium.

Burg Thurant
This castle was built in the 13th century and is also known as the twin towered castle.

Burg Pyrmont
Originally built in the 13th century, this castle was expanded a number of times at the period of Baroque era.

Attractions:

The Moselle River
The Moselle River passes through three different countries and different towns in them. It passes through, Koblenz Trier, Bernkastel-Kues and Cochem in Germany; Toul, Epinal, Metz, Pont-a-Mousson and Thionville in France and Remich, Gervenmacher, Schengen and Wasserbillig in Luxembourg.

March 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm | No comment

Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest München 2008 – Munich, Germany
Photo from: digital cat, Creative Commons

Oktoberfest is a festival in Munich, which is celebrated for sixteen days, every year at the ending of September. The Oktoberfest is one of Germany’s major events and the largest fair in the world. The festival is famous for the beer and wine available there.

The Oktoberfest festival was started on October 18, 1810, in honor of the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. From that year on, the festival was conducted every year, pushing the date forward for weather reasons. In the year, 1835 a procession took place, and also became a tradition that has  been repeated every year.

In between the years 1866 and 1879, the Oktoberfest festival was cancelled due to Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian War. The festival was again started in the year 1880 with 400 stalls. In the year 1892, beer was served in a glass mug for the first time.

In the 19th century, entertainment and beer were the major attractions. Oktoberfest celebrated its 100 years in 1910, where 120,000 liters of beer was consumed. In 1913 the Braurosl tent was started with 12,000 guests and is  the biggest tent up today. Since1950, the festival has become a major event and by the year 1960, the festival has turned into a worldwide major event.

Highlights of the festival

The area of the festival is about 103.49 acres, with 100,000 seating capacity even though 6.2 million people visit. About 6,940,600 liters of beer, 79,624 liters of wine, 32,047 liters of Sparkling wine, 222,725 liters of coffee and tea are consumed. In addition, a huge amount of food is also consumed where 521,872 units of chicken, 142,253 pairs of Pork sausages, 38,650 kg of fish, 58,446 units of Pork knuckles 104 units of oxen were eaten at the festival.

There are 14 major tents in the festival which are listed below:

1. Hippodrom with seating capacity of 4,200
2. Armbrustschutzenzelt capacity of 7,439
3. Hofbrau-Festzelt capacity of 10,518
4. Hacker-Festzelt capacity of 9,300
5. Schottenhamel capacity of 10,000
6. Winzerer Fahndl capacity of 10,900
7. Kafers Wiesen Schanke capacity of 2,900
8. Weinzelt capacity of 1,900
9. Lowenbrau-Festhalle capacity of 8,300
10. Braurosl capacity of 8,200
11. Augustiner-Festhalle capacity of 8,500
12. Ochsenbraterei capacity of 7,300
13. Fischer Vroni capacity of 3,395
14. Schutzen-Festhalle capacity of 4,442

Today, the festival has become a major attraction, which attracts people from all over the world including people from the U.S., Japan, Brazil, India and Australia.

March 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm | 2 comments

Berchtesgaden in Bavaria

Berchtesgaden
The castle Katz from Patersberg and a part of the Upper Middle Rhine
Berchtesgaden with view of Mount Watzmann in the background
Photo from: wikipedia, Creative Commons

Berchtesgaden is a small town within the German Bavarian Alps, located in the south province of Berchtesgaden Land in Bavaria which is a municipality. Berchtesgaden is also close to the Austria Border an Salzburg City is only about 33km from Berchtesgaden.

Berchtesgaden is famous for its mountains. The Berchtesgaden is located between 500 and 1,100 meters in altitude in the German Alps and is bounded by the Untersberg Mountains on the northern side. To the eastern side lies Obersalzberg (place where several Nazi Relics were found) and to the southern side is  Watzmann, the third largest mountain in Germany.

Places to be visited in Berchtesgaden:

Kehlsteinhaus

Kehlsteinhaus,  known as the “Eagle’s nest” is located at a height of 1834 meters above Berchtesgaden. The Kehlsteinhaus was built marking the 50th birthday of Hitler. It has  great scenic beauty from the top, but the only way to reach it is by public transport.

Konigsee

Konigsee Lake is about 3 miles from the Berchtesgaden. Konigsee Lake is the major attraction here, and is bounded by the mountains at a height of 2000 meters above the lake level. During the Summer, boat rides along the lake and mountaineering  are special attractions.

Jenner Mountain

Jenner Mountain is located to the east of Konigsee. The best and easiest way to reach Jenner Mountain is through the cable cars, where the beauty of the Berchtesgaden valley can be viewed.

Rossfeld

Rossfeld is about 3 miles from the Berchtesgaden and is situated at a height of 1600 meters. An amazing view of the sunshine and clouds touching the mountains can be viewed there. For these reasons, Rossfeld has become a major tourist spot, and various restaurants are located there that serve the local food at a reasonable price. The only way to reach Rossfeld is through the bus.

Obersalzberg

The Obersalzberg is famous for the relics belonging to the Nazi era. The only way to reach Obersalzberg is through the cable cars.

Traveling to Berchtesgaden

Munich International Airport is the nearest airport and it is connected to places all over the world.

Berchtesgaden has a railway station and there are frequent train services from Frankfurt and Munich.

Traveling by road is also a good option. There are a number of bus services and cars are also available for rental purposes.

March 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm | 3 comments

Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich

Pinakothek der Moderne
Pinakothek der Moderne by Eduardo Chillida in Munich, Germany
Photo from: digital cat, Creative Commons

The Pinakothek der Moderne is an art museum, which is located in Munich, Germany. The Pinakothek der Moderne museum is also a part of the Neue Pinakothek and Alte Pinakothek museums.

The Pinakothek der Moderne building, designed by Stephan Braunfels, a German Architect,  was opened in the year 2002 and took about seven years to  construct. The front face of the building was built with gray and white concrete, high columns and large windows. The museum has several blocks for art, architecture and works of paper and design.

Modern Art Collections
The collections on the first floor include that of Pablo Picasso and Max Bechmann and also several other artists’ work including some from the following

• Giorgio de Chirico
• Oskar Kokoschka
• Umberto Boccioni
• Rene Magritte
• Francis Bacon
• Robert Delaunay
• Lyonel Feininger
• Salvador Dali
• Otto Dix
• Max Ernst
• Juan Gris
• Fernand Leger
• Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
• Georges Braque
• Joan Miro

Contemporary Art Collections
The Contemporary Art Collections are displayed on the first floor, which displays the works of

• Willem de Kooning
• Jasper Johns
• Robert Rauschenberg
• Robert Motherwell
• Antoni Tàpies
• Lucio Fontana
• Alberto Burri
• Cy Twombly
• Per Kirkeby
• Richard Serra
• Joseph Beuys
• George Segal
• Fred Sandback
• Martin Kippenberger
• Sigmar Polke
• Jannis Kounellis
• Georg Baselitz
• Blinky Palermo
• Henry Moore
• Donald Judd
• Gerhard Richter
• Marlene Dumas
• Jorg Immendorff
• Andy Warhol
• Franz Kline
• Marino Marini
• Hermann Nitsch
• Dan Flavin
• Mike Kelley
• Bruce Nauman
• Gunther Forg
• Rosemarie Trockel
• David Hockney
• David Salle

Works on paper collections
The museum has several Wittelsbach collections, as well as Italian, Dutch and old German drawings. There is also work from Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Albrecht Durer and Rembrandt in the museum. The German drawings from the 19th and 20th centuries include the work of David Hockney Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, and Paul Klee.

Architecture Museum
This museum was founded in the year 1868 and is one of the largest museums in Germany. The collections are displayed in the first floor, and generally display drawings, photographs, models blueprints and computer animations.

Design collection
The Neue Pinakothek museum is among the world’s leading museums and displays about 70,000 structures of graphic and industrial design.

Today, the museum is a famous spot for the locals and the tourists. It is one the most frequently visited places in Germany.

March 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm | No comment

Reichstag Building in Berlin

The Reichstag Building is located in Berlin, Germany, and was the German Empire’s first parliament building.

Reichstag Building
Reichstag Building in Berlin, Germany
Photo from: Daniel Schwen, Creative Commons

The building was opened in the year 1894, and the Reichstag presided there until 1933, which was when the building caught fire. The building was severely damaged and was in ruins until the reunification of Germany. The building was reconstructed under the supervision of Norman Foster, an internationally famous architect. The construction was completed in 1999 and named “The Bundestag” and serves as a meeting place for the German Parliament.

History:
The original building construction began in the year 1871. The parliament had been meeting in various buildings in Berlin, but there was never enough room to accomodate all of parliament. A contest was held in 1872, where 103 architects participated and submitted plans for the new building. The work was not started until 10 years after because disputes between Otto von Bismarck, Wilhelm I, and other Reichstag members as it pertains to the construction method to be used.

Reichstag Building
Great Panorama Perspective of Reichstag Dome in Berlin, Germany
Photo from: René Ehrhardt, Creative Commons

Again, in the year 1882, another contest was held, 189 architects participated. Finally, Paul Wallot, a Frankfurt architect stood as winner and his design was given the proper recognition. Construction began on June 9, 1884, it was completed in 1894. Several structural elements of the building were built out of glass and steel. The building was known as one of the best engineering masterpieces of that period. In 1916, the words “Dem Deutschen Volke” which means, “To the German People”, was carved on the building’s main ediface.

On February 27, 1933, the building was set on fire, and for 12 years, parliament sessions met in various places. During World War II, the building was used for party line presentations by the military. The building was repaired after the fire accident, but later the building was severely damaged by air bombings during the Battle of Berlin in 1945.

Inside Reichstag Dome
Panoram View of the inside of Reichstag Dome
Photo from: René Ehrhardt, Creative Commons

The value of restoring the building received much attention, which led to another contest. Paul Baumgarten was the eventual winner, reconstruction of the Reichstag building went on between 1961 and 1964.

German reunification took place on October 3rd, 1990, in the Reichstag building.  Parliament sessions were held on June 20, 1991 in the new building. In 1991, a dome was added to the Reichstag building. Today, people visit the Reichstag building if only to view the Soviet graffiti on the smoky walls up on the roofs.

Reichstag Dome
Reichstag Dome at Night
Photo from: lukelukeluke, Creative Commons
Reichstag Building in the Background
Autumn at Berline with Reichstag Building in the Bacground
Photo from: René Ehrhardt, Creative Commons

March 26, 2009 at 4:29 am | 4 comments

The Rhine Gorge in the Rhine Valley

Rhine Gorge
The castle Katz from Patersberg and a part of the Upper Middle Rhine
Valley with the Loreley Rock in the background
Photo from: wikipedia, Creative Commons

The Rhine Gorge is the name of the center of the Rhine Valley. It is a 65 km segment of Rhine River located in between the cities Bingen and Koblenz, in Germany. UNESCO listed the Rhino Gorge in the World Heritage List in the year 2002 for its exceptional grouping of historical, geographical, industrial and cultural reasons.

The rocks in the Rhine Gorge are said to be from the Devonian Period (416-360 million years back) and are also called the“Rhenish Facies”. The remnants of the rock structures mainly consist of slate. These rocks were folded during the Carboniferous period. Uplifting was done to the gorge recently where the walls were raised to a height of 200 meters along the river. From this area, an amazing view of the Rhine Gorge valley can be seen.

The climate at the Rhine Gorge is extraordinary because it differs from one region to another. For this reason a wide variety of species are found in this region. Agriculture is the main source here particularly, Viticulture. On the south side of the gorge, are a majority of the vineyards found in the Mitterlrhein region.

The river at the Rhine Gorge has also served as a major trading route to central Europe since the ancient times and a number of settlements were developed at the banks of the river. Several castles were built along the valley but they were destroyed during the “Thirty Years war”.

Today, the Rhino Gorge is famous for its landscapes and cruise ship which flows on the river and the Rhine in the Flames Festival which is celebrated every year and displays magnificent fireworks in the town of Sankt Goar, in the month of September and Koblenz city in the month of August.

March 26, 2009 at 3:51 am | 1 comment

Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Ansbach

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A famous street in Rothenburg called Plönlein with Koboldzellersteig and Spitalgasse

The town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the Ansbach district of the Franconia region in Bavaria, Germany and quite close to the Tauber River. Rothenburg ob der Tauber  is recognized for being a well conserved medieval town.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber  is one of the places located on the Romantic Road and is famous for preserving the remnants of the medieval period. The town is bounded by a number of walls and towers that have been guarding the town for several ages. The interior wall which was built in the 13th century still remains. This wall has steps at different ends where one can easily walk up to the top of the wall.

On the side of Tauber River there are several town halls and castle gardens dating back to the year 960. The St Peter and Paul cathedral built in the year 968,  one of the only Roman churches of this area, is also located in this part if the town.

The Ratstrinkstube building, which is located within the town, includes a clock from the year 1631. The clock rings for every hour from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm. Rathaus Hall is also located within the town. It was built in the Gothic style in 1250, and an additional Renaissance building was added to the previous building in the year 1572. This building was used as a government building in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the during the medieval times. There is a museum inside the bottom of the building which displays the history of the town.

In the present times, Rothenburg ob der Tauber has become a favorite spot for film shootings. In fact, the village was the main setting for the film “Pinocchio”, released by Walt Disney in the year 1940, and also for the main setting in the film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” which was released in1968.

March 26, 2009 at 3:42 am | 1 comment

Romantic Road between Wurzburg & Fussen

Romantic Road
Romantic Road between Wurzburg & Fussen
Photo from: iLoveButter, Creative Commons

Romantic Road is located in between Wurzburg and Fussen regions of South Germany. This region was discovered by the tourists in the year 1950 during the expansion of the Bavarian and Baden-Wurttemberg highway. Many international tourists feel that this region has German culture and scenery especially in the towns of Nordlingen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl. In addition, the famous Neuschwanstein Castle is found in this area.

Surrounding areas:
• Rottenbuch
• Tauberbischofsheim
• Wurzburg, Creglingen,
• Weikersheim
• Rothenburg ob der Tauber
• Dinkelsbuhl
• Nordlingen
• Donauworth
• Hohenfurch
• Wildsteig
• Feuchtwangen
• Wallerstein
• Kaufering
• Schongau
• Schillingsfurst
• Landsberg am Lech
• Friedberg
• Augsburg
• Rottingen
• Peiting
• Lauda-Konigshofen
• Bad Mergentheim
• Harburg

Attractions:

• The cathedrals and vineyards in Wurzburg
• Crater Museum at Nordlingen

• The Neuschwanstein Castle at Fussen

• The best quality of German food and wine

Today, the journey on the Romantic Road is a great experience because several historical sites can be seen as you travel down it. Traveling from Munich and Frankfurt is the easiest and best option. The regions of the Romantic Road are well-connected with railways. Cycle ride is the best option for local traveling though.

March 26, 2009 at 3:33 am | 1 comment

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