The Brandenburg Gate, located on Pariser Platz in Berlin-Mitte, is one of the most important architectural monuments in Germany’s capital, not only as a symbol of German division and German unity. When visiting Berlin on a study trip, a visit to this Prussian and German history since the end of the 18th century should be part of the program like hardly any other building symbolizing the world-famous gate.
Origin of a national monument
The 26 m high and almost 66 m wide sandstone building, flanked by two gatehouses, with six 11 m deep columns supporting a crosspiece decorated in relief, was inaugurated in 1791 (architect: Carl Gotthard Langhans). The building, kept in the style of early classicism, was commissioned by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia in memory of King Friedrich II, the old Fritz. In 1793 the gate was crowned by the Quadriga created by Johann Gottfried Schadow.
The scene of important political developments
The Brandenburg Gate, which in its simplicity is reminiscent of Greek temples and originally also served as a tax control point, has often been the background for events symbolizing central historical facts in its more than 200-year history. The deportation of the Quadriga by Napoleonic troops after Prussia’s defeat against France (1806) and the triumphant return after Napoleon’s fall in 1814 were of national importance. Victory and defeated troops of the five wars between 1864 and 1945 marched through the gate. Revolutionaries posted machine guns here in 1918 and Hitler’s last battle was fought here in 1945. After the division of Germany, the gate on which the GDR flag waved stood directly on the death strip of the Berlin Wall.
Gatehouse of contemplation
In the northern gatehouse, in the middle of the epicenter of the lively capital, visitors are given an unusual opportunity to calmly let the impression of the place sink in in a meditation room.
Cologne’s cathedral district
Cologne is one of the most popular cities in Germany for tourists traveling and the cathedral is its main attraction. The cathedral district is therefore the starting point for most tourist activities such as study trips in the large city on the Rhine.
The actual city district
Basically there is no “Domviertel” in Cologne: The cathedral is located in the “Innenstadt” district and in the “Altstadt-Nord” district. The area is known colloquially as the “Domviertel”.
The Altstadt-Nord district is considered to be the origin of the city of Cologne, as it already existed before 50 AD, when Cologne was founded and given a name by the occupiers from Rome at the time.
Sights in the old town quarter
The main buildings of the public administration of Cologne can be found in the district of Altstadt-Nord: The town hall and the cathedral as the seat of secular and spiritual power in bygone times.
There are also numerous Romanesque churches and the historic armory. The head office of the famous “4711 Kölnisch Wasser” brand is also located in the Altstadt-Nord district.
The secular buildings of our time are, for example, the main train station or the buildings that house the large shopping centers.
The former headquarters of the Gestapo, which today houses parts of the tax office, bears witness to the city’s past in the darkest hours of German history.
Old and restored
Hardly any other major German city was destroyed from the air to the same extent as Cologne in the course of the Second World War: the first “1000 bomber attack” took place here as early as 1942. By the end of the war in 1945, the city was virtually razed to the ground; famous is a photo in which only the cathedral protrudes from a landscape of ruins.
Many of the historic walls in the cathedral district are therefore artistic restorations of past buildings such as the 4711 main building.
They testify to the high art of the restorers as well as the unbroken will to live in the metropolis on the Rhine, which is absolutely worth seeing.
The Dresden Zwinger is located in the state of Saxony and is one of the most important and impressive buildings of the late baroque and is therefore an absolute must on the list of sights for visitors to the city. Originally the Zwinger served as a fairground for various courtly events. Nowadays the Elbe sandstone building is mainly used for exhibitions.
The special features of the Dresden Zwinger
The Zwinger inspires with the crown gate and the gilded hood, its courtyards, which are surrounded by arched galleries, with the splendid and richly decorated pavilions and the nymph bath. The imposing structure thus represents an impressive total work of art that invites you to take an interesting tour. The magnificent Crown Gate is a symbol of Dresden and symbolizes the dignity of “August the Strong” as the Polish king. The nymph bath is also one of the most beautiful baroque fountains and is decorated with many decorative sculptures. The carillon pavilion is another special feature. It is a charming glockenspiel made of Meissen porcelain. The Wall Pavilion and the French Pavilion are also worth a visit.
The museums in the Dresden Zwinger
The Zwinger houses various valuable collections, for example the world-famous Old Masters Picture Gallery, which, with around 750 masterpieces from the 15th to 18th centuries, is one of the world’s most renowned collections of paintings. Probably the most famous
The exhibit is Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, one of the most famous paintings from the Italian Renaissance. Over half a million people visit the gallery every year. The exhibits are maintained by the State Art Collections in order to present them to the public. Further highlights are the porcelain collection, the mathematical-physical salon, the armory and exhibitions at the zoological museum.
The impressive sandstone backdrop of the Dresden Zwinger contains real treasures with the world-famous collections, for example the “Old Masters” picture gallery, the nymph bath, the glockenspiel etc. All of this makes the Zwinger so impressive and fascinates several million visitors who travel to the city every year to pay a visit to the attraction.