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My First Trip Abroad

Berlin, Magdeburg, Weimar

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Views of Magdeburg

Views of Magdeburg


Magdeburg Cathedral is one of the biggest city sights

Magdeburg Cathedral is one of the biggest city sights

I have memories of my stay in Germany in the "good old times". In 1981, when I was a student of the foreign languages college in Horlivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, I was selected to be a member of a Soviet group of students, who had a German language seminar in Magdeburg.

A view of the Cathedral (Dom)

A view of the Cathedral (Dom)

It was my first trip abroad in my life that made me happy, of course, for a long time. Magdeburg was a county center at that time. Now the city is the capital of Sachsen-Anhalt, one of the country's sixteen federal provinces. The city must have changed a lot! However, the main sites in the city center have remained as they were. I am sure they have been restored and renovated to make the city look still more beautiful.

Architectural details

Architectural details

We, the thirty members of the Soviet students' group, stayed in Magdeburg for about a month. We studied German at Erich Weinert Pedagogical College and stayed at a dormitory at its campus. It was in August and September, a fine season and a good opportunity to browse the city's central streets and to visit its architectural gems: the Cathedral, the Liebfrauenkirche (the Church of Our Dear Lady), the City Park called Rotehorn located on the opposite bank of the Elbe. I enjoyed browsing Marx Street, Otto von Guericke Street, Pieck Avenue and Friendship Promenade in the city. The city park attracts the visitors by its promenade, sculptures, City Hall and a good view of the cathedral and the church.

Magdeburger Dom (Cathedral

Magdeburger Dom (Cathedral

The cathedral sculpture of a great knight

The cathedral sculpture of a great knight

Of all the monuments of the city I was deeply impressed by is the Knight of Magdeburg, a bronze replica of the stone original that is kept in the city history museum. The monument belongs to the oldest knight images in Germany. It represents a splendid figure of a horseman with a lady on each of his sides. The idea of the monument remained obscure for a long time. One of the interpretations says the monument embodies the idea of spiritual and secular character of emperor's power.

Magdeburg Botanical Gardens

Magdeburg Botanical Gardens

Visiting the Exotic Plants Exhibition at the Botanical Gardens

Visiting the Exotic Plants Exhibition at the Botanical Gardens

I also visited the Botanical Gardens and was impressed by the collections.

Movies in Magdeburg

Movies in Magdeburg

Since I was an ardent cinemagoer, I also visited several city cinemas and could improve my listening comprehension skills by seeing several films in German, which was not possible at home at that time. Now I would have understood much more of their content I am sure!

My favourite postcard from Magdeburg

My favourite postcard from Magdeburg

As a matter of fact, I could travel around the city quite freely either on foot or by tram just using the city map and without having to ask the way! We also paid a visit to the Harz, a highland region to the south of Magdeburg and, of course, Dresden. Therefore, the hosts carefully planned our weekends and we could explore quite a lot during our stay there. Besides, everybody, even students who used to study Russian, spoke only German with us for us to practise it.

Our visit to Salzwedel

Our visit to Salzwedel

I still have a picture album with autographs of our teachers presented to the members of the Soviet group that was received in the best traditions of the inviolable Soviet-German friendship. So much time has passed! I wish I could visit this city again and I wonder if I will find my way there.

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Emperor Otto and his wife inside the cathedral

Cathedral columns

Cathedral columns

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

After that first trip to Germany, I went there again and again and have visited it ten times all in all, among them six times as an interpreter

The main street, Magdeburg

The main street, Magdeburg

Who could have thought! I was privileged to travel to Berlin in August 1981, when I was a college student. I was selected for a language development course by my college. We, a group of Soviet students, arrived to Berlin by a direct train from Moscow and stayed overnight in Berlin at "Unter den Linden" hotel - the central one in the capital. I was honored to study at the Pedagogical Institute in Magdeburg for a month. Our group consisted of more than forty college students who studied German. They were from all over the Soviet Union.

My Berlin map

My Berlin map

This is how I saw downtown Berlin for the first time. I was very impressed. It was the first "Western" capital I saw at that time! We were taken to the famous Alexander Square (Alexanderplatz) about which we had only read in our textbooks. When I was there, I merely stood in front of "Weltzeituhr" (the World Time Clock) pondering about the immense world we live in. Our visit to Treptower Park to the Soviet War Memorial was very impressive too.

My Magdeburg postcard

My Magdeburg postcard

It was a pleasure to see the clean streets, smiley people and splendid architecture. We, a group of students from the Soviet Union, were lucky enough to have a tour of "Alex" - the TV tower that is 365 m high and sit in the "Telecafe" there.

Classical Magdeburg Postcard

Classical Magdeburg Postcard

It was great to revisit Berlin again on my way home by train to Kiev in May 2002! I could see the Spree and the avenues and buildings, the famous Alex - the TV tower. We left for Kiev from Lichtenberg Station.

The medieval courtyard in Weimar

The medieval courtyard in Weimar

During my study trip to Germany, when I was a student, I had the privilege of visiting Weimar. Our group of students was taken there for a weekend trip during our stay in Magdeburg where we attended a month-long course of German at the local university.

Downtown Weimar

Downtown Weimar

A 19th century travel writer once described Weimar as one of the most walkable towns in Europe. Indeed, once you are in Weimar, you can visit the majority if its famous sites for they are all within a walking distance. If you stand in Market Square, it is a matter of minutes to get to the Goethehaus in Frauenplan, the Wittumspalais, the German National Theater, Herder Church with the altar by Cranach and finally the relaxing park on the banks of the River Ilm with Goethe's Garden House that is attractively located in the park.

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Wittumspalais

Wittumspalais


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There is also Liszt House, Schiller House, the Castle and lots of other attract ting places in the city. The city is famous because the greatest German writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his friend Friedrich Schiller used to live and to work here. There are museums dedicated to their creative activities and located in the houses where they used to live. Both writers were buried in this city. You can visit Goethe- und Schiller-Gruft, the place where they were buried.

The National German Theater

The National German Theater


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Visiting Weimar, you can also see the National German Theater with the monument to Goethe and Schiller in front of it. The monument to Goethe and Schiller was created by Ernst Rietschel and dedicated in 1857. Goethe's summer cottage. The inscription on the plaque at the pedestal reads, “To the great poets' pair from the German people“.
There are lots of flowers at the foot of the monument. I enjoyed visiting this theater! My friends and I were very impressed by both its exterior and the interior. No doubt that visiting this theatre is a must for any visitor of Weimar.

There is the world famous Weimar Art Collection, one of the largest picture galleries in Germany, that contains an extensive collection of the works of Lucas Cranach.

I think there is still a lot to see in this city and hope to make another trip there. The city has a lot to offer to those who are fond of architecture: visits to the Ilm Park, to different castles: the Green Castle, the Red Castle, and the Yellow Castle. The City Museum in "Bertuchhaus", a classicism building, is also an attracting destination. The former Prince's House is the home of Franz Liszt College of Music now.

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Elephant Hotel is a medieval hotel located in the very center. It is famous for its old traditions and is proud of its world-famous guests who used to stay there: Lucas Cranach, Johann Senastian Bach, Franz Liszt, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Mann and others. The hotel has all modern conveniences and is itself a piece of the city history. It was a privilege for our students' group to stay overnight there. The hotel has a unique historical atmosphere, "Elephantenkeller" Restaurant. I liked the proximity to all the main sites of the city. This hotel has been famous for centuries as the central city. Thomas Mann made this hotel famous in his novel "Lotte in Weimar".

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Elephantenkeller ("Elephant's Cellar") Restaurant is a very comfortable place amidst the old town in Weimar. It has a big variety of dishes and German wines. We, a group of Soviet students, were taken to this restaurant for breakfast, which was a great privilege indeed. Not everybody realized it at that time, though... I remember visiting some great places in Weimar:

  • Kirms Krackow House : this building located at 10 Jakobsstrasse was built at the beginning of the 16th century. It was dedicated as a city museum in 1917. The house and its inner yard give us an idea of the city life in the 17th and 18th centuries. You can visit Johann Herder Museum on the first floor.
  • Wittumspalais: this palace called Widow Palace in English, one of the city’s splendid palaces, dates back to the end of the 18th century.

At Wittumspalais

At Wittumspalais

It was built in baroque style and is considered to be a typical example of the dwelling architecture of the second half of the 18th century.

  • Gartenhaus am Stern : This cottage is located at Corona-Schrötter-Strasse in Ilm Park at the right bank of the Riover Ilm on the outskirts of the city.

Goethe's summer house

Goethe's summer house


Goethe's summer house

Goethe's summer house

This house was a gift of Duke Carl August to Goethe. This is where Johann Wolfgang Goethe moved in April 1776 and lived for six years. This is where he created his masterpieces such as “Wilhelm Meister”, “Iphigenie”, “Tasso”, “Wanderers Nachtlied”, “An den Mond”.

  • Am Frauenplan : This is where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived for about fifteen years (1782-1789, 1792-1832).

Goethe Museum

Goethe Museum


Goethe Museum

Goethe Museum


At Goethe Museum

At Goethe Museum

This house was another gift of Duke Carl August to Johann Goethe. The tour includes a visit of fourteen rooms that are preserved to look like in Goethe times. You can see the huge library containing about 6,500 volumes, the poet’s large geological and arts collection, the bedrooms and the drawing room.

  • Shiller’s House: The house is located downtown at 12 Schillerstrasse.

Shiller Museum

Shiller Museum


Shiller Museum

Shiller Museum

As we learnt from the museum guide, Friedrich Schiller bought this house for 4,200 Taler, which was a huge sum of money that he could only collect borrowing the money from his friends. He moved into this house on April 29, 1802 and lived there with his wife Charlotte and his four kids until his death on May 9, 1805. Take a look at the drawing room in his house where Friedrich Schiller received his guests.

  • Goethe- und Schiller Gruft (the tomb of Goethe and Schiller) : Historic Cemetery where Goether and Schiller are buried.

The tomb of Goethe and Schiller

The tomb of Goethe and Schiller


Goethe- und Schiller Gruft (the tomb of Goethe and Schiller)

Goethe- und Schiller Gruft (the tomb of Goethe and Schiller)


The tombs of Goethe and Shiller

The tombs of Goethe and Shiller

A linden alley leads you to the central point of the cemetery: a domed building in classical style where the two great poets – Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller rest in peace. Their oak coffins do not have any dates, simply their names written on them: Goethe and Schiller.

  • Buchenwald Memorial: This memorial is located outside the city, about 10 km to the north-west in Ettersberg.

Visiting Buchenwald

Visiting Buchenwald


Buchenwalk Memorial

Buchenwalk Memorial

This monument was dedicated in 1958 to honor the thousands of people who were the prisoners of this concentration camp. There were 250,000 prisoners in Buchenwald during the war, among them 56,000 were murdered here. There is also Ernst Thälmann Museum there. Ernst Thälmann was the workers' leader (not the Reich Councellor, regrettably) and he was very much revered by the German Communist government and by the Soviet Communists. There was and still is a street called after Ernst Thälmann almost in each Ukrainian and Russian city.

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We, a group of Soviet students, who studied German in this province for a month and had a weekend tour, followed the program of stay. Of course, for the sake of our Communist upbringing, we were taken to the place of the former Buchenwald concentration camp that was a museum then. I took a picture when our group was approaching the memorial.
There is an inscription at the entrance to the museum. It reads, “Eternal glory to the great son of the German people, the leader of the German working class, Ernst Thälmann, who was murdered at this place by fascists on August 18, 1944”.
You can see the famous gate with the inscription that the Nazis took as their motto, To each his own.
It was very impressive to feel all the tragedy that took place here during the war. You feel very sad how people all over the world could have allowed such atrocities and inhumane policies...
You can see sculptural composition depicting the dying prisoners of the concentration camp. The Roman figures MCMXLV (1945) are on the upper part of the tower. The sculpture was made by F.Cremer. The expressions of the prisoners' faces are different, but the idea is expressed in the old Soviet after-war slogan, “Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten!” Its another version reads, “We won't forget, we won't forgive!”

Posted by Vic_IV 07:14 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

More Discoveries

Dresden, Wernigerode, Cologne, Lübeck

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The Crown Gate at the entrance to Zwinger

The Crown Gate at the entrance to Zwinger

During my study trip to Germany, when I was a student, I had the privilege of visiting this splendid city. Our group of students was taken there for a weekend trip during our stay in Magdeburg where we attended a month-long course of German at the local university.

Dresden, the capital of the State of Saxony, is often called "The German Florence'. It is a unique and attractive German city full of art and culture of the past centuries.

My plan of Zwinger

My plan of Zwinger

Visiting "Zwinger", a complex of pavilions, is necessary for the visitors of the city. You will enter Zwinger from Julian-Grimau Alley through Kronentor ("Crown Gate"). You will see the world famous Semper Gallery right in front of you. It occupies the left part of the Semper Building. The Historic Museum is in its right part. To your left is the Wall Pavilion and to your right is Meissner China Pavilion.

I will always remember visiting the Zwinger - a complex of pavilions including Semper Gallery – the world-famous picture gallery containing lots of pictures of Old Masters. Visiting Semper Gallery, I was very impressed by seeing Raffael's Madonna. I had seen its reproductions many times, but it was something special to see it in the original. I stood there and pondered what the great artist had conveyed to us by his masterpiece

Admiring the world famous painting

Admiring the world famous painting

We had the pleasure of experiencing the beauty of this marvellous city two times. "Altstadt" - the Old Town - is one of the starting points of all tours of Dresden [Dresden-travel-guide-374880]. There are also many new and renovated districts in the city.

During my second stay in Dresden, our group stayed at "Berg-Hotel Freital-Dresden". We stayed there for a night only, and it was $75 a day, but our travel expenses were covered by the company since we were on a business trip, thank Goodness. The hotel has a great location and nice amenities and is a quiet place with all modern conveniences in the rooms. It is only six kilometres away from the city. Address: Am Langen Rhein 15-17, 01705 Freital/Dresden.

The Feudalism Museum in the former castle, Wernigerode

The Feudalism Museum in the former castle, Wernigerode

During my first trip to Germany (the GDR at that time), when I was a student, I had a very good chance of visiting the Harz - the famous mountainous region to the south of Magdeburg.

We, a group of Soviet students of German, stayed in Magdeburg at the teacher-training college for a month to study German.

We stayed at the campus of Erich Weinert Teacher-Training College and attended classes at that college. We were also taken to the Harz Highlands for a weekend trip to see the great sites.

The medieval Rathaus - the City Council building

The medieval Rathaus - the City Council building

Wernigerode, as we were told, was famous for its medieval architecture and was often called "the city of half-timbered houses". "Fachwerkstadt" - this is how it sounds in German. Like in many German cities, Markt is the central square attracting all the visitors of the city due to its splendid medieval architecture and sightes, among them the medieval City Hall, the fountains, stores, cafes. Wernigerode is really full of those old houses and one of them is the City Hall built in the 15th century. They say this city became famous all over Germany for married couples liked to come here for a wedding ceremony in the old City Hall. Therefore, the city was also called “The Newly-Weds’ City”. We saw the famous City Hall that has always attracted lots of newlyweds from all over Germany. It is astonishing to see the well-preserved exhibits, the halls and rooms that have preserved their original look for 400 years...

Also, we had the pleasure of visiting the Feudal Museum in Wernigerode located in an old castle up the hill. It was, in fact, the first medieval castle I had ever visited.

My picture of Wenigerode

My picture of Wenigerode

Historical Ritterburg ("Knights' Castle"): this is the Knights' Castle that is a must for everybody coming to this city. If you take your time and go up the hill, you will enjoy the whole day of discoveries in this splendid complex of buildings. I visited this city shortly after a famous Soviet movie about Baron Münchhausen had been filmed here. Our city guides mentioned that fact to us. The famous castle on the hill was built in 1862-1883 at the site of an old knights' castle and is still called Knights' Castle. You can see it practically from every corner of the city. The castle houses many exhibitions now and is visited by lots of travelers not only from Germany, but also from many other countries. There is a very nice view of the city and its neighborhood from the castle.

Weekend relaxation at the riverbank in Cologne

Weekend relaxation at the riverbank in Cologne

Each time I went to Cologne, I used trains. I liked the huge railway station and its location in the city - right opposite the famous Dom – Cologne Cathedral. I took an ICE train from Berlin to Cologne last time and was amazed by its speed - 250 km/h. It is my land record so far.

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I was lucky to visit Cologne in 1992 for the first time. It was marvelous and very impressive! Our trip to Germany would have been incomplete if we hadn't visited Cologne. We managed to see some beautiful places downtown and, of course, visit the famous Cologne Cathedral. If you only have time to see that cathedral during your stay there, it is already a lot and great! I would visit it again and again!

At the Rhine Embankment

At the Rhine Embankment


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It was a great chance for me to see something of this magnificent city on the Rhine during my second trip to that city in May 2002. We found ourselves there on our way back from the International Folk Dance Festival in Balingen after we had stayed for several days in Altenkirchen County. We went to Altenkirchen County located not far from Cologne and thanks to that trip we had an opportunity of visiting this wonderful city.

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German Column

German Column


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Downtown Cologne

Downtown Cologne


We only had a day trip there to Cologne on Christi Himmelfahrt when the city was full of people.

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Cologne Cathedral and the modern museum

Cologne Cathedral and the modern museum


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Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

We managed to see the famous Cologne Cathedral, to walk downtown, to take an excursion train along the Rhine Embankment and to drink beer at one of the numerous bistros not far from Cathedral Square.

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St.Martin's Cathedral

St.Martin's Cathedral


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If you feel tired from walking, you can take a tourist bus from Cathedral Square. The bus will take you to the Rhein Embankment and to the Chocolate Museum and back.

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During our downtown walk in Cologne.

Exploring downtown Lübeck

Exploring downtown Lübeck

During my business trip to the north of Germany in March 1996, when we stayed in Timmendorfer Strand at the seaside, I had a chance of visiting Lübeck on weekend. We had arrived from Ukraine by Ford-Transit minibus and went to Lübeck by that bus.

UNESCO recognized Lübeck as a city with a great historical heritage. Indeed, the city is full of medieval buildings and edifices.

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Holstentor is one of the old city gates became one of the symbols of Lübeck. The city has a long history. You feel the history at every step you make. Lübeck used to be the head of the Hanseatic League.

We walked about downtown Lübeck, where I could see the medieval Gothic churches: Marienkirche dating from the 13th century. Admiring the centurie-old downtownAlso, we admired the City Hall ( Rathaus) that is famous for its exquisite staircase, woodcarving and vaulted wine cellar.

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It was pleasant to walk along the river embankment. We also dropped in at Schiffergesellschaft - the oldest restaurant in Germany dating from 1538. We drank beer at ancient tables dating back to the 16th century. It was like being at a museum. As we were told, "Seafarers' Society" (this is how its name sounds in English) is the oldest restaurant in Germany dating back to 1538. We sat at a long medieval table and I felt I was in a local lore museum. It was a privilege to drink beer at those "pirate tables", as I called them then. I must say that was the most expensive beer I had ever had in Germany!...But it was certainly worth visiting that restaurant! It was great sitting at those ancient tables and to drink beer. I took a picture of our merry company, but myself was left out. You can only see my glass of beer. Perhaps next time I will be in the picture.

Posted by Vic_IV 07:28 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Discovering the Black Forest

Calw

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The hills of Calw

The hills of Calw

"Country Study Through Your Experience" - it was the name of our professional development seminar in Calw. We, a group Ukrainian educators consisting of twenty-two ladies, German teachers from different Ukrainian cities, and I, were privileged to attend that seminar in April-May 2001 on the invitation of the Ministry of Education and Cults of Baden-Württemberg. It was an "all inclusive" trip fully sponsored by the German Government. Thanks a lot, dear Education Ministry! It was very kind of you!

Half-timbered houses in Calw

Half-timbered houses in Calw

We studied German language and culture at the Teachers’ Academy of Baden-Württemberg and stayed at the teachers’ dormitory downtown. Our seminar was three weeks long, which was great! In addition, we visited the rural life museum in one of the city districts and learnt about the life that farmers led two hundred years ago. One day we had another treat from the Education Ministry: a guided tour of the Black Forest. We visited several Black Forest towns on our way and had very good impressions, in spite of the weather.

A view of Calw from the hill

A view of Calw from the hill

It was, in fact, my second visit to Calw. I was there for the first time in December 1999 during my short visit to a friend of mine, who lives in Egenhausen, Calw County. He went shopping to Calw and I joined him there.

At the river embankment

At the river embankment

The city landscape is very special. Calw lies on the River Nagold the hills of the Black Forest on different altitudes, which makes its landscape very special. The city is very tidy, well preserved and nice. I would say you could feel the harmony of its present and the past.

At the Local Lore Museum

At the Local Lore Museum

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Market Square is where you will find the famous Herman Hesse Museum (Marktplatz 30, 75365 Calw). It is near the church. You can also view a lot of medieval half-timbered houses, drop in at a number of small shops, have some coffee at a café, take a stroll to the river embankment. We stayed round the corner from all these places and went for a walk practically every day.

Der Lange and the Church

Der Lange and the Church

Der Lange - the Tall One - this is how the name of this tower would sound in English. My window in the teachers’ dormitory faced this tower and I could hear chimes of the church every day. They began at about 5 a.m., like in medieval times. I could get used to them quickly though. This old tower's address is Im Zwinger 20. It was described in 1518 as a watchtower, thieves' tower, Malefiztower (derived from the Latin 'maleficere' = to do something bad), or ”criminals' tower”. The bottom part, a stone construction, housed three prisons, situated over each other. The top floor, a half-timbered construction, was the home of one of the two guards. The “thieves”, or criminals, were punished for their wrong doing and had to endure the loud chimes of the neighboring church every day.

Central Square

Central Square

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The coat-of-arms was granted on July 11, 1961 and after the district reform again on December 10, 1973. The arms are based on the arms of the city of Calw, with the addition of a fountain in the lower part. The three mountain tops represent the three former Württemberg districts of Calw, Nagold and Neuenburg which were combined to the district Calw in 1938. The fountain represents the many spas and springs in the district. Until 1934 the (smaller) district of Calw used a seal with a natural lion on a mountain top. (From Ralf Hartemink's “International Civic Arms”).

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Exploring downtown Pforzheim

Exploring downtown Pforzheim

During my stay in Germany as a German teacher at a country study seminar my colleagues and I made a day's trip to Pforzheim to get know this city a little. The city is known as the Gateway to the Black Forest. It stands on the confluence of three rivers: the Enz, the Nagold and the Kleiner Wurm.

It was the Romans who first appreciated the favorable location of the city, settled there and gave the settlement the name of Portus - "gateway".

For the first time in Pforzheim

For the first time in Pforzheim

The city is also the birthplace of the great humanist Johannes Reuchlin. The town's long history can only be observed in the ancient castle and the monastery church of St.Michael dating back to the 13th century and a few other remnants.

Kids' fun

Kids' fun

It was interesting to walk downtown and to visit the city museum of gold. The Jewellery Museum in Reuchlin House (Leopoldplatz) includes items of jewellery from the past and samples of the products of the local gold industry.

If you can allow some time for a guided tour of the city, take Minicar-Tour Pforzheim in autumn-winter season and enjoy nice views of the city with an interesting narration ($25 an hour).

In addition, you can attend a great concert in Kupferdächle. All concerts and shows begin at 8.30 p.m. Enjoy the culture stage (evenings); culture breakfast (Sundays,11 a.m.); open stage (every month, last Thursday). Directions: 31 Kallhardtstrasse. hope to make another trip to that city in the future.

Posted by Vic_IV 03:26 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

The Great Old Fortress

Hohenzollern Castle, Hechingen

overcast 15 °C
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Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle


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Germany is rich in ancient castles. I was privileged and honored to pay a visit to this castle during my trip to Germany. It was my business trip as an interpreter within the framework of the Ukrainian-German cultural exchange. We stayed in Balingen and had a bus tour to Burg Hohenzollern. Thanks, our German friends, for taking us there! I do appreciate that visit now, even much more than I did at that time.

At Hohenzollern Castle

At Hohenzollern Castle

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Visiting Hohenzollern Castle

Visiting Hohenzollern Castle

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During our tour of Hohenzollern Castle

During our tour of Hohenzollern Castle

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A great visit to Hohenzollern  Castle

A great visit to Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenstein Castle is superb

Hohenstein Castle is superb


The locals call this castle fliegende Burg (Flying Fortress). You can see it from the motorway and if the weather is foggy, you can get the impression of a flying fortress. The castle looks amazing in nighttime.
Burg Hohenzollern is located at 855 meters above sea level. This castle is Prussia’s legacy in Baden-Wuerrtemberg. You can see it by Prussia’s flag and coat-of-arms here. The castle is a complex of different buildings and sites, among them:

  • - evangelische Kapelle (the Evangelic chapel);
  • - Stammbauhalle (the original hall);
  • - Grafensaal (Count’s Hall);
  • - Blauer Salon (Blue Saloon).

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Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

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Kaiser Wilhelm II, sharing his impressions about his visit to this castle, said: „Die Aussicht von der Burg Hohenzollern ist wahrlich eine weite Reise wert“. ("The view from Burg Hohenzollern is worth a long trip indeed".) Hohenzollern Castle

My favourite postcard from Burg Hohenzollern (absolute photography ban inside the fortress

My favourite postcard from Burg Hohenzollern (absolute photography ban inside the fortress

I was an interpreter of a Ukrainian choir in 1991, when we had a tour of this catsle. Since it was only my second trip to Germany as an interpreter, I found it hard to translate the guide’s fast speech about the castle’s rich history and events. Therefore, I asked him to speak a bit slower, but to no avail. It was evident for our group that my translations were lagging behind and were too short, but the group members did not seem to mind. They were too busy admiring the interior and the exhibits and did not pay much attention at the guide’s epic story about the castle, its history and former owners. Now, it is about time I revisited this castle in a quiet setting and without having to translate, merely contemplating the interior and the exhibits.

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They call it, The Flying Fortress

They call it, The Flying Fortress

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I kept the book about Zollernalb County in my classroom. It was a splendid gift from Germany! After all my friends had seen it, I decided to take it to my school as a gift for students and teachers. There are good pictures of the castle. The book is in three languages: German, English and French: "Der Zollernalbkreis. Bilder einer Landschaft", Druck+Verlagshaus Hermann Daniel, Balingen, 1990, ISBN 3-927936-00-6.

My badge from this fortress

My badge from this fortress


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Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

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Posted by Vic_IV 03:37 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Frommern Folk Dance Ensemble

Balingen

sunny 22 °C
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At the Folk Arts Centre, Balingen

At the Folk Arts Centre, Balingen


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After our Virtual Tourist Euromeet 2017, I was happy to pay a short visit to Balingen. I had not been there for 15 years. Time flies! I had visited the folk lore center of Frommern Folk Dance Group as an interpreter two times with the past 25 years within the framework of German-Ukrainian cultural exchange.

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Musical instruments workshop at the Folk Arts Centre

Musical instruments workshop at the Folk Arts Centre


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Frommern Folk Dance Group

Frommern Folk Dance Group


European Bagpipe Museum at the Folk Arts Centre

European Bagpipe Museum at the Folk Arts Centre


Exhibition at the Folk Arts Centre

Exhibition at the Folk Arts Centre


During my visit in May 2017, I was privileged to meet my good old friends at their cultural centre. The Folk Arts Centre is the result of the tremendous work and activities of my friend Manfred and the members of Frommern Folk Dance Group. The group was created in 1965 by Manfred, whom I met for the first time in Luhansk in 1989. His folk dance group visited Luhansk within the framework of the German-Ukrainian cultural exchange administered by Sputnik Travel Bureau on the Soviet side.

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Guinness World Record of folk dance groups

Guinness World Record of folk dance groups


The group belongs to the Swabian Folklore Association. Frommern Folk Dance Group raised a pretty penny to purchase the neighbouring old well-preserved house from the relatives of a diseased painter who had died in 2001. Then the enthusiastic folk dance group participants made a complete rehabilitation of the house. Now the group has two huge old houses at its disposal, and thus became one of Europe’s most capable and famous folklore groups, a genuine cultural hub of Balingen, a venue for many international festivals, local workshops and hobby groups, a museum of local folklore, a hiking hub. All the museum were created and are run by the volunteers from the Folk Arts Centre, who mostly belong to Frommern Folk Dance Group.

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Exhibition of joiners tools of the old furniture manufacturers at the Folk Arts Centre_

Exhibition of joiners tools of the old furniture manufacturers at the Folk Arts Centre_

During my May 2017 visit of Balingen, I also took a stroll on the outskirts. I saw many familiar places and visited new ones. My old friend Hans Georg took me to the 963 m high Felskopf, from where we had great views of the city. In addition, he showed me the new house of Frommern Folk Dance Group that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015.

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The church in Ebinger Street

The church in Ebinger Street


The church in Ebinger Street

The church in Ebinger Street


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A view from Felskopf

A view from Felskopf


They have their own hotel rooms for the participants of different workshops and festivals. This is where I stayed. It was great to stay in a hotel room of a 170-year-old country house. Their address is: 52-56 Ebinger Street, Haus der Volkskunst, Balingen.

The pub hall in the old building of Frommern Folk Dance Group contains a lot of souvenirs from all over the world and large paintings from old pubs with funny inscriptions:

At the pub inside the Folk Arts Centre

At the pub inside the Folk Arts Centre

“Er trinkt im allertiefsten Zuge, ein Landsknecht sauft sich nie genuge”. – “He drinks in the most difficult crusades, a hired soldier can never drink enough”.

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre_1

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre_1

«Der Eine lacht’s, der Andere verlacht’s, der Dritte betracht’s. Was macht’s?» - «The one laughs, the other forsakes it, the third considers it. How much is it?»

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre

„Gerste mit Hopfen gibt gute Tropfen“ – „Barley with hops gives good drops”.

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre

„Wo Götter thronen, ist gut wohnen“ – „Where gods dwell, is good to live”.

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre

At the café inside the Folk Arts Centre

„Herr Gott fan’s wir Fidel und haben’s gar nicht nötig“ – „Lord, we have a guitar, but have no need in it”.

„Schöpft aus dem Pokale neue Ideale“. – „Create new ideals from the cup”.

In October 2018, I was privileged to attend the 8th European Bagpipe Festival on Manfred's invitation. One or two visits are never enough when you have great friends. Fingers crossed!

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Ullrich Fountain in the main street of Balingen_1

Ullrich Fountain in the main street of Balingen_1


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The church in Balingen

The church in Balingen


A beer at Paulaner's Pub at the walls of the church

A beer at Paulaner's Pub at the walls of the church

Posted by Vic_IV 03:38 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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