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Tourist Guide Of Germany 4
Alanguie at the edge of the Elbe, Dresden seems frozen in time. Its eternal silhouette evokes the baroque hours of an enlightened eighteenth century, where all is harmony and sweetness of life. Behind the walls, the castle of Auguste le Fort radiates a thousand treasures; steamboats slide on the calm Elbe wave and lead to the heart of the vineyards; in the opera house built by Semper, performances worthy of the greatest Western cities are given. At first glance, nothing can suggest that Dresden has suffered so much. Burned in 1685, burned to ashes by the bombs of the Allies in 1945, rebuilt stone by stone and then enclosed to the east of the Iron Curtain, Dresden bears the marks of a tormented German history. The fall of the East German communist regime in 1989 brought the Dresden into a world where everything is consumed and everything is changing at the speed of lightning. The transition is painful for the Saxons, whose soul cherishes calm and continuity. But Dresden is today resolutely modern. With a renowned technology university and a global competitiveness cluster, Silicon Saxony, the city has boosted its industrial potential from a long tradition. The countless museums of the city will seduce both aesthetes and science lovers. After the Fall of the Wall, the alternative scene of Dresden finally gave free rein to his creativity; the Neustadt, on the north bank of the Elbe, is a testament to this dynamism with its decorated courtyards, crafts, cafes and unbridled nightlife. In the heart of the Elbe Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dresden is also the starting point for escapades in a luxuriant nature with surprising landscapes, close to the Czech border …
The prestigious spa town of Baden-Baden (including Baden in Baden, so “baths in Baden”), is one of the most charming stages in the whole country of Baden. The thriving city of baths, which attracts jet-setters on vacation and wealthy pensioners from all over the world, is far more than its reputation in Germany, a city for millionaires in search of romance. For indeed, the thermal infrastructures are prestigious and luxurious, as is its famous casino, and certainly we come across astonishing couples dressed by tailors of another century and driving improbable car models, but not only prices that it displays remain accessible to ordinary mortals, and Baden-Baden is at the antipodes of a city of new rich people. Verdant, nestled in its valley at the foot of the foothills of the Black Forest and climbing on its beautiful hills, spared from any utilitarian urbanism – endowed with a craggy and intimate old town as well as large neoclassical alleys – it counts quality establishments and stores. Elegance prevails everywhere, but also the sweetness of life. Enjoying a warm and humid microclimate, with its hot springs that in some places allow it to grow tropical vegetation, Baden-Baden looks like small paradises, and the wealth it cultivates does not seem to want to become arrogant or megalomaniac. A real charming town on the edge of the Black Forest.
If the region was inhabited by man for more than 10 000 years, Baden-Baden enters the history only with the arrival of the Romans towards 70 BC, under the name of Aquae – which comes from the thermal springs already used by the latter, at the location of the current market places and the Romans.
It is actually at the end of the eighteenth century that the city will take off and reach the fame that we know today. In 1838, the Frenchman Edouard Bénazet took the direction of the casino and will make Baden-Baden the summer capital of Europe. All the great people of this world stayed there during the 19th century. A beloved city by Napoleon III, it also welcomed Bismarck, Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander of Russia and William of Prussia who narrowly escaped an attack. Many artists such as Dostoevsky, Wagner and Brahms also came to enjoy the benefits of baths and an exceptionally mild climate. More recently, Baden-Baden made itself known to the French when it received the visit of their President of the Republic, somewhat destabilized by the riots of May agitated … Today, this spa remains the most chic of Germany, combining modernity and nostalgia of the old times where the crowned heads frequented it. Baden-Baden still derives most of its economic potential from its renown and tourism.
Germany’s second-largest city, Europe’s third-largest port, Hamburg the prosperous is both a vibrant metropolis and one of the 16 Länder that make up the German Federal Republic. Its prestigious past can be read as one travels through the city, a mosaic of Belle Epoque bourgeois architecture and urbanism peculiar to industrial port areas, blossoming from its bustling historic center. The tourist guide of Hamburg offers you to discover the many facets of this northern city that is reminiscent of London or Amsterdam, to sail the magnificent banks of the Alster Park to the docks bordering the river. Elbe and its fish market, taking you snogging in the largest red light district in Europe where pints of beer are served day and night, but also to the many Hamburg museums of excellent quality as the Museum of Fine Arts -Arts. Both merchant and artist, bourgeois and avant-garde, maritime and depraved, Hamburg has many surprises to visit, gradually revealing its pride and singularity while distilling a contagious energy. Willkommen in Hamburg!
The essential places of HAMBURG
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS OF HAMBURG
The Hamburg Museum of Fine Arts, housed in a huge central red brick building typical of North German Neoclassicism, is one of the largest art museums in the country. It actually consists of three buildings. It is one of the most rewarding visits to the Hanseatic city. It contains treasures of painting and sculpture from the fifteenth to the present day, a complete and rare panorama of artistic history. This is the strength of the museum, bringing together as many artistic epochs in one place. It offers an exciting and chronological journey through the different artistic movements and also showcases the artistic production of the city. It is a very educational museum that allows to understand perfectly the links between each movement, the reversals between each era.
It would be easy to have a day to see all the works of this superb museum. If you have the time, simply follow the chronology and the excellent scenography of the museum, extremely well done, which will take you through the ages, from religious art to contemporary art. Otherwise, here is a small summary of what you should not miss during your visit. Whatever happens, always respect the chronological order.
We will begin with the Hall of Old Masters, devoted to religious imagery where we can contemplate the altarpieces and triptychs of St. Peter’s Church in Hamburg. A little further on, do not miss the room devoted to German Romanticism, where we stop for a moment before the famous masterpieces of Caspar David Friedrich (The Traveler over the sea of clouds or The Sea of Ice). The museum also offers a beautiful expressionist collection, a very important artistic movement in Germany. The hall dedicated to Impressionism is very beautiful and continent some masterpieces. French visitors and fans of Impressionism will no doubt be thrilled by Edouard Manet’s famous Nana and Monet’s paintings (like the Waterloo Bridge), Renoir, Degas and Cézanne.
Modern art is incredibly well represented with a collection of works by Max Liebermann, Franz Marc, Edvard Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paul Klee, whose superb goldfish wriggles under the roof of this must-see museum. We will also see Calder mobiles and sculptures by Giacometti. Also stop before the simultaneous Windows on the city of Delaunay or the works of Kandinsky or Fernand Léger. We end this part by a room on surrealism with paintings by Magritte, Ernst, Desnos or Dali. We then go through the basements in the Cube, a recent building built in 1997 to house contemporary art. Even the architecture of the building agrees with the exhibited works, superb union of the place and its contents! There are major artists such as Gerhard Richter, Bruce Nauman, Georg Baselitz or Rosemarie Trockel. In this part, art comes out of the paintings and takes the form of conceptual installations. This is the deconstruction, the end point of this walk through the centuries.
If you have time, the museum still has an astonishing peculiarity, a 9-room gallery called “Transparent Museum” that allows for a better understanding of the work of curators and to realize the whole process that took place before the we can discover these works. Among other things, we discover how to make collections, how to distinguish a fake with the concrete case of a Chirico painting or how to present the works in theaters.
In a few hours, we went through artistic history, from the religious art of the altarpieces to the contemporary art of neon lights in the same museum. This allows a real direct comparison of the evolution of styles and especially to question these eternal questions: what is art? What is beauty? Must have!
Information and schedules on HAMBURGER KUNSTHALLE – MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS OF HAMBURG
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10h to 18h, until 21h on Thursday. Normal price: 14 €, reduced: 8 €. Entry on Thursday between 17:30 and 21h: 8 €. Up to 17 years, free admission.
Member’s review for HAMBURGER KUNSTHALLE – MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS OF HAMBURG
Beautiful collection, very beautiful paintings by Nolde among other expressionists. Almost impossible to see everything in one go!
Superb building, very interesting. Museum price a bit high
Museum to see, a price may be excessive, but a well located cafe in the lobby.
CATHEDRAL OF COLOGNE
Itcan be seen from almost every point of the city center and its suburbs: the magnificent cathedral of Cologne hovers over the roofs and chimneys of the city. It is not only used as a point of orientation, it is also the pride of the people of Cologne. The gigantic tower of the cathedral dominates the panorama of the city since its completion in 1880. Today still, the cathedral is still the second highest building of Cologne after the telecommunications tower. The cathedral is 145 m long and the transverse nave is 86 m. In comparison, a football field measures “only” 100 meters by 70 meters. The total area of the cathedral is nearly 8,000 square meters and can accommodate more than 20,000 people.
The first stone of the Gothic cathedral was laid on August 15, 1248 on the occasion of the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The old cathedral was no longer important enough to house the mortal remains of the three Magi, which Archbishop Rainald von Dassel brought back to the city in 1164, since the conquest of Milan. These relics have made the cathedral one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Europe. At the beginning of the 16th century, construction was halted, partly for lack of money, partly for lack of interest. At this point, the choir, the lower part of the south tower with its belfry as well as the long nave and the transverse nave were completed up to the lower arches. The north tower was almost totally non-existent. For more than 300 years, the panorama of the city was dominated by a huge construction crane near the southern tower still incomplete. At the turn of the nineteenth century, supporters of the German Romantic movement awoke public interest in the completion of the cathedral thanks to their enthusiasm for the Middle Ages. The pursuit, and completion, of the building was a subject of national interest to the Germans. In 1842, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV laid the foundation stone for further construction work. The cathedral was completed in 1880, in accordance with the plan of the Middle Ages, in record time of only 38 years. Cologne Cathedral, although badly damaged, survived the Second World War despite prolonged bombing. Today, the greatest threats to the cathedral are weather and environmental influences. More than 80 stonemasons, glaziers, roofers and other specialists are constantly working on the maintenance and restoration of the building.
The mass of stone seems to go almost weightlessly up to 43m high canopy-style arches. The narrow main nave leading to the choir is accompanied by two lateral naves. In the north side aisle, light shines through five spectacular glass bays, from the last years of Cologne’s glass painting (1507-1509). In 2007, a new lighting concept was created in the south nave of the cathedral by Gerhard Richter, an artist living in Cologne, keeping the codes of the master builders of the Middle Ages.
In the background is the great choir with the ambulatory choir, one of the most beautiful sanctuaries of the western world. The 104 stalls make it the largest in Germany. The paintings of the choir were added around 1340. Above you will see the older sculptures on the pillars of the choir of Jesus, Mary and the 12 apostles. In addition to the worship of the Magi, the full circle of bay windows on the upper floor of the central nave represents 48 additional royal figures. Behind the main altar, the sanctuary of the three kings rises. The relics of Gaspard, Melchior and Balthazar, the patrons of the city of Cologne, rest here alongside the relics of Saints Felix and Nabor and St Gregory of Spoleto. This impressive work of medieval gold craftsmanship surpasses all other shrines in the western world in terms of size and grandeur. On the way to the ambulatory choir, you go under the organ loft. Gero’s crucifix hangs in the chapel and is the largest remaining sculpture of Christ crucified on this side of the Alps. The oldest window of the cathedral (dating from around 1260) is still in its original position in the chapel of the Axis (chapel of the three kings). It shows scenes of the New and Old Testament in two parallel rows. Another great work of art is in the choir of the chapel of Mary. It is a triptych painted by Stefan Lochner for the chapel of the Town Hall, which represents the saints of the city, namely the three holy kings, St. Ursula and St. Gerona and their companions martyrs.
The treasure of the cathedral
In the medieval sacristan crypt, the cathedral’s treasury houses a rich collection of church treasures dating back to the fourth century. The treasure works are in gold, silver, bronze and ivory and include holy relics, liturgical objects, textiles, archbishop’s insignia, medieval sculptures and burials of Franconia.
The south tower
The platform of the south tower of Cologne Cathedral offers an impressive view of a height of about 100 m. To enjoy the view of the city and the Rhine, you must first climb the 533 steps. Weather permitting, it is possible to see as far as the Siebengebirge hills. The ascent of the steps leads visitors past the bell. Among the eight bells of the cathedral, the bell Saint-Pierre is the largest church bell in the world, it weighs 24 tons.
There are several ways to discover the cathedral: from the forecourt, in the light of day, one will be struck by the dark and wide facade whose towers seem to really want to touch the sky. Or in the evening, arriving in Cologne, leaving the station. It is seen with a green light … It is difficult to describe the strangeness that emerges from the monument, due to both its almost incongruous location and the effect caused by the green reflections on the stone black. The jewel of Cologne is undoubtedly its cathedral. 157 m high, it is today classified in the cultural heritage of humanity. Cologne Cathedral is still a witness to the strength and persistence of the Christian faith in Europe.
Information and times about KÖLN DOM – CATHEDRAL OF COLOGNE
Open every day from November to April from 6h to 19h30, from May to October until 21h. No visits during Masses. Treasury open every day from 10h to 18h, entry 4 €, reduced price 2 €. South tower: 3 €.
Member Reviews for KÖLN DOM – COLOGNE CATHEDRAL
Beautiful cathedral, visible from all corners of the city. Forecourt and portal of great beauty. The interior is beautiful. You can reach by stairs (533 steps) to the highest tower of the church. From there, we have a 360 view of the city … it’s a shame that there is a fence all around that partially obstructs our view.
To see imperatively during a trip to Cologne! This is the first thing you see coming out of the station, impossible to miss. To do for the most motivated and sporty of you: the climb to the top of the tower (on foot!) To admire the magnificent panorama over the city
Cathedral impressive, assaulted by tourists. The dome is accessible for a panorama of the city, but do not expect a sensational view since everything is closed by a fence at the top, but at least we have evacuated the few extra pounds and we will have felt all smells of others on the stairs.
Do it anyway because the spiral staircase is an experience in itself.