Siem Reap and Angkor of Cambodia (II)(吴哥窟-柬埔寨)

Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world.  It occupies an area approximately 402 acres. This temple was built by King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Kingdom in the early 12th century dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu.  Later, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, it was transformed into a Buddhist temple.  

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Approaching Angkor Wat Temple Area, one can feel the grandness of this place just like during the 12th century.
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Inside the main temple is even more spectacular. The four towers of each corner and the highest center tower (43 meters high) represents Mt. Meru which is believed to be the center of the universe by Buddhism and Hinduism. Cambodians are very proud of this temple building which even found a place on the Cambodian flag.
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Entrances to the temple grounds. The main entrance was for the royals and the side entrances were for the animals and entourages
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This used to be the library.
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This used to be the bathing area before entering the temple.
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Carvings of Aspara dancers on the walls and decorative roofs surround the temple buildings
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The walls of the corridor depicting battle stories
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The top of the towers was the actual place where the praying practice occurs. The King needs to climb all the way to the top on hands and knees. Only the one with the handrails and re-enforced steps were opened for tourist.

Another temple in the area of Angkor is Banteay Srei.  This temple was first built in the 10th century by not of the royals but by the king’s counselor a scholar and philanthropist.  The temple used to be in the center of a Khmer village.  Therefore it is of the same size and height as the other Khmer dwellings.  The temple was dedicated to the Hindu God, “Shiva”.20180216_143456

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The temple was mainly built of red sandstones with elaborate decorative cravings as well as many cravings of devatas. So its modern name became Banteay Srei, meaning “Citadel of Women or Beauty”.

The temple not just suffered from natural erosion but also from looting and pilfering for its beautiful pieces. Attempts were being made to restore with as many of the original pieces as possible and made replicas of many pieces of artworks so that the original may be put in the National Museum for safekeeping.

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close view of the temple and elaborate decorative cravings

Note:  In Cambodia, one can survive on fruits.  They are not just healthy and delicious.  They are also pleasing to the eyes.

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Koblenz, Germany

Koblenz came from the Latin words which mean the convergence of two rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle.   Because of its strategic position on a major waterway, it was in a prime location to collect tolls and levy taxes on goods that were on the merchant ships passing by.  For this reason only, Koblenz had different occupants throughout its history.  With this, of course, came the largest fortress built between 1817 and 1828 and it is the best-preserved fortress in Europe on the Unesco World Heritage List of 2002. Ehrenbreitstein Fortress located on the hilltop east of the Rhine across from Koblenz.  It overlooks the old town of Koblenz and at the same time monitor the waterways of Rhine and Moselle.

The Fortress Ehrenbreitstein on the hilltop. and The Dikasterialgebaude at the foot of the hill, built in the mid 18th century in baroque castle style. Now it is used for offices.

The grounds of the fortress now houses several museums, exhibition halls, pubs, and a youth hostel.

View from the fort Ehrenbreitstein and the cable car ride.

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The German Corner (Deutsche Eck) at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle

This Statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I is a reconstruction of the old one which was destroyed during World War II.  This is his memorial in honor of his Unification of Germany after three years of war. The original one was erected in 1897 and this replacement was erected in 1993.  This has been a part of UNESCO world heritage “Upper Middle Rhine Valley” site since 2002

The Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) built-in the 5th century on the highest point in the town of Koblenz on a Roman foundation.  Since that time it had been rebuilt and expanded on its original foundation.  For a time from late middle age to the French Revolution, it served as the church of Koblenz.

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A walk around in the old town.

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Some other interesting tidbits about Koblenz.

Schangel a symbol of Koblenz. on a manhole cover. It is a child born in the period when Koblenz was in allegiance with France or the German-France child. Designed in 1940 dedicated to the poet, Josef Cornelius who wrote the lyrics to the anthem of Koblenz
The Schangelbrunn fountain stands in Willi-HorterPlatz. It will pit out water at odd intervals to spray at the passer-bys.
Old Kauf und Danzhaus stands in St. Florin’s Market. It housed the Middle Rhine Museum until 2012. The head below the clock will roll its eyes to the beat of the pendulum and sticks out its tongue every 1/2 hour. It is a reminder of robber baron Lutter von Kobern”s execution in 1536
The New Koblenzer beer brewery. Koblenzer was first brewed in 1689 in the Historic center of Koblenz. But it has become a part of a brewery conglomerate.

 

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?

 

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.