Heidelberg, Germany

Heildelberg Castle Ruins is the landmark of Heidelberg.  It is one of the most important Renaissance structure north of the Alps.  It was built as a castle in the twelve hundreds.  After several natural and man-made destructions, the rebuilding and expansion resulted in a three castle structure and through several changes of ownership it fell in ruins.  Its position on the hillside is one of the reasons why it’s beauty charmed the romantics of the time.

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The view from Heidelberg Castle terrace of the Old Town, the Old Bridge(Karl Theodor Bridge), and the Church of Holy Spirit.
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Heidelberg Castle Ruins from Old Stone Bridge

Some scenes from the castle ruins.

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Heidelberg Castle Ruin did not become a tourist attraction until the 19th century when the town is connected to the railroad system.  The American writer, Mark Twain got his inspiration for Huckleberry Finn here as well as “A Tramp Abroad”.The banks of Neckar River that inspired Mark Twain for his Huckleberry Finn

The banks of Neckar river

Heidelberg is a university town.  Heidelberg University founded in the 14th century, the oldest institution of higher education in Germany.  Students, from the university, make up a quarter of its population.  They bring in the vibrant vitality. innovation spirit, and idealistic vision which is unique to this town.  Heidelberg’s attraction is this unique blend of the old and the new.  Photos below show a variety of the old and the new.

 

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Food anyone?

 

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Wurzburg, Germany

Würzburg,  a city in Germany’s Bavaria region.  It is the center of Franconian wine country.  Therefore is the home of many winery, wine cellars, and bars.  The Franconian wine stores in distinctive round flat bottles ( bocksbeutel).  Memorable wine tasting at the Staatlicher Hofkeler Würzburg, the former Prince Bishop’s Cellar.

Würzburg Residence was the palace of Prince Bishops.  Its construction was intended to be comparable to the Palace of Versailles or the Schonbrunn Palace.  It is one of the masterpieces of Baroque/Rococo style architecture.  Although most of it was destroyed or damaged by World War II, the grand staircase, the Imperial Hall, and the chapel still stand.  After much restoration and reconstruction work was done from 1945 to 1987 to its present form.  The Residence, and its Court Garden and Square are listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The front of the Würzburg Residence and the courtyard’s Franconian Fountain.
The Back of the Residence leading into the Court Garden
A view of the Court Garden

Among the busy shopping center is the Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrucke) built 1473-1543.  The pedestrian bridge is aligned with statues of saints.

The oldest stone bridge in the city and quite busy too.  Würzburg Cathedral in the back
St. Mary’s Chapel (the Marienkapelle )built 1377-1479 near the Marketplace

 

market square of Würzburg surrounded by beautiful buildings

And lastly the landmark of Würzburg, the Marienberg Fortress which stands on the west bank of the Main River.  It originally was a fort built in ancient times but became a fortress and home of the Prince-Bishop.  It was severally damaged in the Second World War and since rebuild in 1990.  Now it houses two museums.  From where it stands, one can see the whole city of Würzburg.

The Marienberg Fortress from the Old Main Bridge. Surrounding the fortress are the famous Franconian vineyards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg city would always be associated with the Nazi Party in our recent history.  Nuremberg is where the Nazi Party took to power and Nuremberg is where it stood trial for its war crimes for the world to see.

Beyond its infamous recent history.  Nuremberg has a glorious past as the center of the Holy Roman Empire, build around the banks of River Pegnitz.  The vibrant trade brought excellent artisans and craftsmen thus established itself as the cradle of the German Renaissance.

Nuremberg Castle: Heathen’s Tower on the right and Sinwell Tower on the left. notice the fortified medieval sandstone walls

 

 

St Sebaldus Church, a medieval church has been a Lutheran parish since the Reformation.
Frauenkirche of Gothic style architecture stands in front of the main market. Most notable is the church clock which would strike at mid-day. At which time the figurines of trumpeters and drummer and electors of the city would encircle the figure of the Holy Roman Emperor.  In front would be the marketplace which would be especially active around Christmas time.  Aside from normal wares, there will be the famous gingerbread cookies (Lebkuchen).
The Gothic style Schoner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain) spire stands 62 feet tall n the center of an octagonal pool enclosed by an ornated Renaissance grill. It is said that your wish would come true if you turn the golden ring on the grill three times
Chain bridge of Nuremberg. Chain bridge ( Kettensteg) of Nuremberg, footbridge to cross the Pegnitz River. First built-in 1824, the oldest chain bridge on the European continent, It was recently fortified and re-opened in 2010.

 

A walkabout revealed a picturesque town as you can see below.

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of course, a walk should always end in food and enjoy the most notable Bratwurst and beer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regensburg, Germany

Regensburg is a Bavarian city on the Danube of Southeast Germany.  There were settlements here during the Stone Ages.  Around 90 AD the Romans built a fort here.  Not until the  Stone Bridge was build during 1146, Regensburg began to flourish.  The bridge connects the trade from northern Europe to Venice, and because of this Regensburg became the cultural center for southern Germany noted for its gold works and fabric.

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Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge) built between 1135 and 1146

Today, the Stone Bridge still stands with some restorations which will be completed soon.

Regensburg is the best preserved medieval city in Germany.  Its Old Town Center was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.  With its oldest pedestrian street, built by Romans, in Germany, it is easy to get around.  Here are some of the views of this Old Town which is still active and viable.

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The Town Hall Square consists of the Old Town Tower of the 13th century and the baroque style Old Town Hall and the Gothic Imperial Chambers building where the Perpetual Imperial Assembly met from 1663 to 1806. This is where the expressions “to put something on the long bench” (to postpone something) and “to sit at the green table” (to take important decisions) come from.

Goliathhaus Regensburg (‘Goliath House’ ) built around 1260 and the painting of David’s fight with Goliath was done around 1573 is both listed by UNESCO as one of the landmarks of the World Heritage City of Regensburg.
Cathedral of Regensburg dedicated to St. Peter’s is an example of the Gothic architecture in Bavaria. Its construction started in the early 11th century and approximately 600 years later it finally finished in 1872. This cathedral is the Bishop’s church and home of the Regensburger Domspatzen (“cathedral sparrows”), It is also the burial-place of many important Bishops

The valuable stain glass windows of the Regensburg Cathedral installed between  1220-1230 and 1320-1370.

stain glass of Regensburg Cathedral
Alte Kapelle (Old Chapel) or Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady is oldest catholic worship place in Bavaria. It is a fine example of the baroque style of the 18th century and one of the masterpieces of the rococo decoration
St. Emmeram Church was originally a Benedictine monastery in 739. It had a collection of books and manuscripts and in the 11th century serves as a library. Now the collection along with the treasures of the Abbey had been removed to Munich.

Last but not the least is the wonderful sausages from the restaurant specialized in different sausages.  It sells approximately 6,000 sausages daily.  Inside the restaurant only seats 35 people, but outside there are tables that can seat even more.  One would not want to pass this up.  Get a hotdog type sausage bun and eat it on the go is worth it too.

The Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg, the oldest continuous open public restaurant in the world. The original building is the office of the construction workers for the Old Stone Bridge. When the bridge was finished it turned into a restaurant frequented by dockers, sailors, and cathedral workers. It became a grill sausage restaurant when the family took over in 1806.

Passau, Germany

Passau sits on the bank of the Danube where its two tributaries, the Inn River from the south and the Ilz River from the north flow into the Danube.

The confluence of the River Inn, Ilz, and the Danube

This confluence of the rivers often causes flooding of the city from time to time and the worst was in 1501 as shown on the building wall.

Along the river bank is where the old part of the town sits. It used to be the busy merchant’s market exchange center, now it is mostly occupied by artisans.  Passau was an old Roman colony until it was granted by the Holy Roman Empire to the Prince-Bishop of Passau along with a territory that included the present-day Vienna up to Hungary with its capital in Passau.  The St. Stephen’s Cathedral here was the original mother church of the St Stephen’s Church in Vienna.  The original cathedral was destroyed by fire in the 17th century.  What we see today is the rebuilt of St. Stephen’s Cathedral of the Baroque style.

Inside St Stephens’s Cathedral decorated by Giovanni Battista Carlone and frescos by Carpoforo Tencalla
The largest cathedral organ in the world with 17,774 pipes and 233 registers, all of which can be played with the five-manual general console in the gallery
Veste Oberhaus from the river
The view of the confluence of the river Danube, Inn River, and Ilz River from the Oberhause fortress

Veste Oberhause is the Oberhause fortress built 1219 by the Bishop of Passau.
It sits facing the Danube between the Ils and Inn River which puts it in a good position to monitor the goods passing by, therefore it served as a stronghold for the Prince-Bishop to collect tax for his principality.  Today it houses a museum, youth hostel, restaurant.  The ground had been used for open theater.

The Townhouse of Passau
look at the colorful buildings of Passau. It is said the color represents the goods they sell. Such as the pink is for meat products, yellow is for beers and green is for produce.

Wachau Valley, Lower Austria

Wachau Valley is along the banks of Danube River between the towns Melk and Krems of lower Austria.  This section of the Danube had settlements since the Paleolithic times.  Over the many settlements throughout history at the Wachau Valley, many castles, forts, churches, abbeys, monasteries. were built.  In addition, the rich valley had been excellent in growing grapes since the Middle Ages by Bavarian monasteries for making wine, Rieslings and its step terrace style of cultivation on steep inclines are suitable in growing Gruner Veltliner grapes.  In recognition of its landscapes of architectural and agricultural history, Wachau Valley was given UNESCO world heritage site as “Wachau Cultural Landscape”.

Traismauer, church Hl. Rupert
Krems-und-Stein-in-the-Wachau-Valley
Mauterner bridge over Danube river in Krems
Church spire. Durnstein village on the bank of Danube River with ruin above of Kuenringer Castle where Richard the lion was held for ransom.
Göttweig Monastery, and vineyards, the largest vineyard, for wine in Austria

Weissenkirchen, the largest wine producing village in the Wachau Valley Austria

Hilltops of Weissenkirche, see the vineyards on the hills
St Michael´s Church, near Weissenkirchen St Michael, is a fortified church in a village of 13 houses
Village of Willendorf on the river Danube in the Wachau region, where traces of stone-age human habitation have been found
A medieval ruin, the Fortress of Hinterhaus, overlooks the town of Spitz on the Danube River between Melk and Durnstein.
gothic bell tower of the church in spitz, Austria with tiled roof
Schloss Schoenbuehel on rock outcropping on the side of the Danube River near Melk, Austria
church St-Johann-in-the-Mauerthale, Austria (Rossatz-Arnsdorf)
Schönbühel-Aggsbach: Aggstein Castle, Wacha

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, the city of music, homes of famous composers such as Beethoven, Strauss, Mozart, Haydn, Strauss, Schubert, Schoenberg, Brahms, and others.  Vienna, also the city of dreams, home to Sigmund Freud.  Visitors like to come to the city to enjoy a dose of Vienna’s refined arts and culture which is year round.  During the winter there is the added benefit of the Alps for skiing.

Being by the Danube, early settlements were of many groups of people from the Celtics tribes to the Romans.  It became the resident city of the Hapsburg Dynasty during the Austria-Hungarian Empire and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.  In 1945, after the Second World War, Austria was split into four areas govern by Soviet Union, France, British, and the United States.  In 1955,  the Austrian State Treaty, that declared Austria would stay neutral, allowed the return of the governing power back to the Austrians.

The UNESCO area is around the Ring Road (Ringstraße) which was built during the 19th century, surrounding the historic center which consisted of buildings of various architectural style including Baroque style castle and garden.  Lining the Ringstrasse are grand buildings and monuments.  Statues are everywhere decorating the city within.

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One just could not stop taking pictures of the endless beautiful buildings.

In the center of the pedestrian path is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

A very nice restaurant with good food and service.

Very nice Cafe as well.

More beautiful buildings.  This is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.  More pictures of the city to enjoy.

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End with a touch of music from Kursalon Wien.

Kusalon Wien