Historic sites in Germany

If you’re looking to discover historic sites in Germany, you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below.

Home of the ancient Germanic tribes, impinged on by the Romans, centre of the Holy Roman Empire and the focal point of 20th century conflict, this is a nation with a diverse history, reflected in the historic sites of Germany today.

There’s a fantastic selection of historic sites in Germany and you can plan some great trips by browsing our selection. Once you’ve explored the historic sites in Germany you can use our itinerary planner tool to chart out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook.

Our database of German historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. So, if you know of other historic sites in Germany, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.


Top German Destinations: Historic Sites in Berlin | Historic Sites in Trier | Castles in Germany

Germany: Editor's Picks

Photo by Historvius

1. Brandenburg Gate

Few historic sites in Germany have such political, social and symbolic importance as the Romanesque gateway known as the Brandenburg Gate. Today, among other things, it is seen as a symbol of German reunification.

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The Brandenburg Gate is a famous landmark in Berlin built between 1788 and 1791 which once served as a city gateway. Commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia it stood in the entrance to boulevard Unter den Linden, which led to the city palace.

The Brandenburg Gate was designed by Karl Gotthard Langhans and built in a Romanesque style similar to the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, with six Doric columns on each side.

Whilst King Frederick William II intended the Brandenburg Gate to be a symbol of peace, different peoples have attached numerous meanings to it throughout its history. The Nazis adopted the Brandenburg Gate as a symbol of their party during their reign in the 1930's and 1940's and it was also a potent reminder of the Cold War when it fell into the no-man’s land within the Berlin Wall. During this time, the Brandenburg Gate formed a focal point of many politically charged rallies and speeches, including visits by American Presidents John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

A more positive symbolic attachment was formed in 1990, when, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, many viewed the Brandenburg Gate as emblematic of German reunification. Today, visitors from around the world come to see the Brandenburg Gate and its ornate carvings, including its dramatic depiction of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, driving a horse drawn chariot. The Brandenburg Gate features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Germany.

Photo by BurgTender (cc)

2. Imperial Baths of Trier

Amongst the largest Ancient Roman baths outside of Rome, the Imperial Baths of Trier are some of the best preserved Roman historic sites in Germany. They provide a startling reminder of the diverse nature of German history.

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The Imperial Baths of Trier, known in German as Kaiserthermen, are the beautifully preserved ruins of a Roman public bath complex constructed in the fourth century AD.

Considered to be the largest Roman baths outside of Rome, the remains of the Imperial Baths of Trier are centrally located within the city and are a fantastic site, with many of their walls standing and even the option to explore their underground tunnels.

Trier was a Roman city initially established in around 15 BC and called Augusta Treverorum. By the late third century AD, when Diocletian divided the Empire and created the Tetrachy, Trier was such a flourishing and important city that it was known as the “Second Rome”. At this time, Constantius Chlorus became the emperor of the West Roman Empire and moved to Trier with his son, Constantine the Great.

From 306 onwards, Constantine began a mass development of the city, of which the Imperial Baths of Tier were a part. This seriously impressive ancient site features as one of our top ten visitor attractions in Germany.

Photo by siyublog (cc)

3. Berlin Wall

Built within just a day, the Berlin Wall surrounded East Berlin, separating it from West Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Today, its remains are amongst the most iconic of all the historic sites in Germany.

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The Berlin Wall was an 87 mile long concrete barrier between East and West Berlin, a symbol of the Cold War and an embodiment of the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’ between eastern and western Europe.

Originally just a barbed wire fence erected within 24 hours on 13 August 1961, a more robust, concrete version of the Berlin Wall was built on 15 August 1961.

The origins of the Berlin Wall can be found following World War II, when what remained of Nazi Germany was divided between the Allied Powers, being the Americans, British, French and the Soviet Union. Berlin, which sat in the Soviet sector, was similarly divided between the four nations.

However, when differences arose between the Soviet Union and the other three countries as to their approach to reconstructing Germany, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin declared the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and in August 1961, erected first a barbed wire barrier and then a concrete barrier, closing the border between east and west Berlin to stop Berliners from the east escaping to the other Allied controlled areas of the city.

The Berlin Wall was a matter of great controversy throughout its existence, with world leaders continually calling for it to be torn down, including John F Kennedy’s famous declaration of “Ich bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech when he implored, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!".

The fall of the Berlin Wall finally occurred on 9 November 1989 and the wall was almost completely dismantled in the days and weeks that followed.

Very few segments of the wall remain. The largest, 1.3 kilometer, section can be found at the open air East Side Gallery, although small sections are dotted throughout the city. The Berlin Wall is featured as one of our Top Tourist Attractions of Germany.

Photo by Andrey Belenko (cc)

4. Berliner Dom

Berliner Dom was the royal church of the Prussian monarchy. Built in the early twentieth century during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, it is a startlingly impressive place to visit.

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Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is an early twentieth century cathedral built during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Constructed between 1894 and 1905, ornate and crowned with an imposing dome, Berliner Dom contains the Hohenzollern royal crypt which is the final resting place of, amongst around a hundred others, Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg.

Berliner Dom is open to the public for tours and audio guides are included in the admission price. This impressive cathedral is featured as one of our Top Ten Visitor Attractions in Germany.

Photo by saturn ♄ (cc)

5. Schwerin Castle

Schwerin Castle is a picturesque palace and once the home of the dukes of Mecklenburg. The history of the site itself dates back as far as 1160, with the current incarnation of the castle being built in the 19th century.

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Schwerin Castle (Schweriner Schloss) is a picturesque palace which seemingly floats upon Schwerin Lake. Whilst it is thought that there was a fort on this location as early as the tenth century, the beginnings of Schwerin Castle date back to 1160, when Henry the Lion (Henry III) built a castle there.

This first incarnation of Schwerin Castle later became a palace of the dukes of Mecklenburg, but fell into a state of dereliction once the dukes relocated in 1765. It was only from around 1843 that Schwerin Castle began to take the form we see today. Vast renovation of the building took place, with only some of its older parts having been kept.

Taken over by the German state in 1918, Schwerin Castle would undergo yet another set of renovations in the twentieth century, following a fire.

Schwerin Castle is now both the seat of the local government and an art museum displaying pieces ranging from the ancient to the twentieth century. Some of the most important pieces at Schwerin’s museum are its seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish paintings.

Schwerin Castle features as one of our top tourist attractions in Germany.

Photo by Wyatt Wellman (cc)

6. Cologne Cathedral

One of the best known ecclesiastical historical sites in Germany, Cologne Cathedral is an iconic gothic church built over the course of six hundred years and is a World Heritage site.

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Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is a vast and impressive gothic cathedral which took over six hundred years to complete.

Located on what was previously the site of a Roman villa, thought to have dated back to the fourth century as well as several increasingly larger churches, construction of the current Cologne Cathedral began in 1248. There was already a church on the site, but when the relic known as the Three Magi was brought there, it was felt a larger church was need to accommodate the hordes of pilgrims to the site.

Due to its enormous size and elaborate nature as well as a series of interruptions including the arrival of French Revolutionaries, Cologne Cathedral was only completed in 1880.

Today, Cologne Cathedral is home to a wealth of important ecclesiastical art, the highlight of which is the Shrine of the Three Magi (or three Kings), thought to contain the skulls of the three wise men.

Despite having been bombed during World War II raids, Cologne Cathedral has survived and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, revered for being a remarkable example of a gothic cathedral. Visitors can also enter its treasury for more religious relics or climb its tower for great views of Cologne. Guided tours are available by appointment.

Cologne Cathedral features as one of our top German Visitor Attractions.

Photo by QuartierLatin1968 (cc)

7. Basilica of Constantine - Trier

One of Germnay's best - yet lesser-known - historical places, the Basilica of Constantine in Trier was the Roman Emperor’s audience hall and the biggest surviving single room from Ancient Rome.

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The Basilica of Constantine or “Konstantin Basilika” in Trier in Germany is a remnant of this city’s prominent Ancient Roman history.

Once the place where Emperor Constantine the Great would meet and greet audiences, the Basilica of Constantine was part of the development of Trier undertaken by the emperor from 306 AD. At the time, Trier, then Augusta Treverorum, was the capital of Rome’s Western Empire and the home of Constantine the Great.

In the fifth century, the Basilica of Constantine was destroyed by invading Germanic forces, but now stands restored. This is partially due to the fact that it was incorporated into a seventeenth century palace and then served as an army barracks. In 1944, the Basilica of Constantine was renovated and it is now used as a church.

The Basilica of Constantine is one of this city’s many Ancient Roman sites and part of its UNESCO World Heritage listing. It is apparently the largest single Ancient Rome room to stand intact.

Be sure to look out for the optical illusion created by the window sizes of the Basilica of Constantine, which make it look even bigger than it actually is.

Photo by Robert Scarth (cc)

8. Worms Cathedral

Worms Cathedral is a 12th century church and burial site of the Salian Dynasty. It boasts a rich and diverse history stretching back through the centuries.

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Worms Cathedral (Wormser Dom) also known as the Cathedral of St Peter is a Romanesque cathedral in the German city of Worms. A sandstone structure with distinctive conical towers, Worms Cathedral was constructed in phases throughout the twelfth century and mostly completed by 1181.

In fact, the present Worms Cathedral is not the first to be built on this site, a previous, smaller version having existed as early as the seventh century and a further incarnation built in the eleventh century. This second version of Worms Cathedral was famous for being the burial site of the Salian Dynasty, a medieval German royal line of Holy Roman Emperors. This Salian crypt can still be seen at Worms Cathedral.

In 1792, when French revolutionary forces captured Worms, Worms Cathedral was used as a storage facility and stables. During World War II, the building was damaged by air raids, but survived. Worms Cathedral features as one of our Top Tourist Attractions in Germany.

Germany: Site Index

Photo by D.j.mueller (cc)

Ansbach Residenz

A former medieval castle, Ansbach Residence was remodelled in both the 16th and 18th centuries leaving a splendidly furnished state residence.

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A former medieval castle, Ansbach Residenz in Bavaria was remodelled in both the 16th and 18th centuries and is now a popular tourist attraction housing an array of Ansbach faience and porcelain.

Famous for its internal rather than external beauty, Ansbach Residenz houses the largest and most importance collection of Ansbach faience and pottery in the world, which is on display in the Gothic Hall, the only surviving building from the palace’s original medieval construction.

The palace boasts 27 beautifully decorated Rococo inspired rooms, largely attributed to Leopold Retti, including the Banqueting Hall - boasting an impressive fresco by Carlo Carlone - the Art Gallery and the Mirror Cabinet, all containing decorative work illustrating the history of the Margraves of Ansbach. The unorthodox and distinctive style of these rooms became known as ‘Ansbach Rococo’.

The foundations of Ansbach Residenz date back to 1363 when the construction of a large, moated castle began. Eventually, with the completion of the castle in 1456, Ansbach became the official residency of the Margraves of Ansbach.

It wasn’t until 1703, when Margrave William Frederic came to rule the residence that substantial changes occurred to the palace, brought about by the craftsmanship of Gabriel de Gabrieli, Karl Friedrich von Zocha and Leopold Retti.

The final stage of development began in 1726 when construction of the Ansbach Orangery began, designed by von Zocha. Located in the palace grounds but regarded as a distinctly separate building, the Orangery and parterre leading up to it boast a variety of fruit and herbs, including oranges, pistachios, strawberries and olives. The inspiration for the Orangery came from both the Louvre, where an adaptation of the colonnades can be seen, and from the Grand Trianon at Versailles.

Since its design in 1726 the Ansbach Orangery has had some modification, including monuments to the botanist Leonhart Fuchs and the poet Johann Peter Uz as well as other prominent members of Ansbach government. Yet perhaps the most interesting monument in the palace gardens is that to Kaspar Hauser, a young man murdered in there in December 1833. His birth, life, and death remain a mystery but his impact on Ansbach can still be felt by the various monuments and statues dotted around the town.

From 1792 the government located at Ansbach began to lose its power when it was incorporated into Prussian territory. In 1806 it finally became part of Bavaria, becoming the capital of Middle Franconia in 1838.

Today the Ansbach Orangery houses a café and restaurant as well as concerts and events, the largest being the ‘Rococo Festival’ which takes place annually in July.

Contributed by Ros Gammie

Photo by piotr-iłowiecki (cc)

Babelsberg Castle

Babelsberg Castle is a picturesque 19th century Gothic castle which boasts stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

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Babelsberg Castle is a picturesque 19th century Gothic castle which boasts stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The castle was built between 1833 and 1849 and was an example of 19th century neo Gothic architecture; it was the summer residence of Emperor Wilhelm I.

Another unique feature of Babelsberg are the beautiful grounds, which contain landscaped gardens, terraces, sculptures and fountains and the castle and grounds are part of the wider Babelsberg Park.

Babelsberg Castle forms part of the ‘Palaces and Parks of Potsdam’ UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo by CxOxS (cc)

Berlin Stasi Prison

The Berlin Stasi Prison was a notoriously brutal Cold War prison in East Berlin from 1951 to 1989.

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The Berlin Stasi Prison, also known as the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, was an infamous East German prison run by the East German Ministry of State Security (the Stasi) during the Cold War.

Originally a canteen, in 1945 the Berlin Stasi Prison site became a detainment camp named 'Special Camp No. 3' run by the Soviet Secret Police. Transformed into a prison in 1947, it was taken over by the Stasi, also known as the MfS, in 1951.

Following the Second World War, East Germany and East Berlin were under the occupation of Soviet Russia as the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Stasi were the official security forces of this state. The Berlin Stasi Prison in Hohenschönhausen became the remand detention centre of the Stasi, housing anyone considered to be hostile to the communist GDR. Prior to the building of the Berlin Wall, this even included West Berliners, such as the lawyer Walter Linse, who was kidnapped and taken there in 1952.

Once the Wall had been erected, many of the prisoners were attempted escapees. The Berlin Stasi Prison was notoriously brutal, with inmates being kept in tiny cells and subjected to torture to extract confessions.

The Berlin Stasi Prison was disbanded in the autumn of 1989 as the GDR began to falter. It was finally closed on 3 October 1990, when East Germany was once again united with the West. Today, the Berlin Stasi Prison is a memorial to those who were detained there and is a stark reminder of the atrocities carried out during the Cold War. Tours are offered and visitors can see a film about the prison.

Berlin’s Victory Column

Originally a symbol of Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War, Berlin’s Victory Column was designed by Heinrich Strack and today stands as a symbol for the city, boasting panoramic views over Berlin.

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The Victory Column is one of the most recognisable - and popular - tourist attractions in Berlin. It stands 67 metres tall including the sculpture at the top known as ’Golden Lizzie’. Built between 1864 and 1873, the column was designed by German architect Heinrich Strack to commemorate the Prussian victory in the 1864 Danish-Prussian War. Nearly ten years after construction had begun, Prussia had defeated Austria (the 1866 Austro-Prussian War) and the French in 1870-71. These subsequent victories were commemorated with the addition of the 8.3-metre, 35-ton bronze statue of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory.

The column is supported by a base made from polished red granite while the column itself is made up of four sandstone blocks decorated with gold-painted cannon barrels – war trophies taken from Prussia’s enemies after each victory. During WWII, Hitler arranged that the column be extended by over seven metres (giving it its existing height) and it was moved from the Platz der Republik to its current location, Berlin’s largest park, the Tiergarten. It survived the war although did undergo a little post-war renovation to restore it to its original glory.

The column has been used as an important marker in Berlin and in 2008 presidential candidate Barak Obama gave a speech to the people of Berlin at the foot of the column.

Visitors can enjoy the viewing platform at the top of the column, with stunning vistas over the city. Entry requires a ticket, and with 285 steps to the top up a steep spiral staircase, you’ll need to be fairly fit to attempt the climb but it’s worth it when you get to the top!

Photo by MikePowell (cc)

Braunfels Castle

Braunfels Castle is a beautifully picturesque medieval castle which towers above the Lahn valley. Highlights include the museum and Knight’s Hall which showcase collections of weaponry, armour, art, sculpture and medieval furniture.

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Braunfels Castle is a beautifully picturesque medieval castle which towers above the Lahn valley.

Towering on the crest of a basalt rock, Braunfels Castle has been through several incarnations over the centuries. Believed to have been first built in the mid-thirteenth century, this imposing fortification was expanded and reinforced over the following 300 years. However, a devastating fire in 1679 left much of the castle in ruins and it was significantly rebuilt at that stage.

The castle we know today though can largely trace its roots back to the 19th century when it was essentially completely rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style, first by Prince Ferdinand and later by Prince George.

Visitors to Braunfels today can explore the imposing architecture as well as touring the chambers and state rooms within. Highlights include the museum and Knight’s Hall which showcase collections of weaponry, armour, art, sculpture and medieval furniture. The grounds also include significant parkland and are a popular draw.

Photo by Her Own Journey (cc)

Burg Rheinfels

Burg Rheinfels was an imposing medieval fortification, the dramatic ruins of which lie in St Goar in Germany.

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Burg Rheinfels was an imposing medieval fortification, the dramatic ruins of which lie in St Goar in Germany.

Initially built in 1245 as a sort of medieval "toll booth" levying charges on ships that sailed along the Rhine, Burg Rheinfels was hated by the citizens of the Rhineland. So much so in fact that the affected towns came together and laid siege to Burg Rheinfels for over a year. However, this vast and powerful fortress was too much for even these thousands of men and the siege was ultimately unsuccessful.

Over the next centuries, Burg Rheinfels was fortified even further. It withstood another siege - this time by the Spanish - in 1626 and the efforts of King Louis XIV’s army later that same century. Burg Rheinfels finally fell to the French in 1794 and was then slowly destroyed.

Nevertheless, what remains of Burg Rheinfels is still fascinating. Visitors can even tour its fifteenth century underground tunnels or stay in part of the castle - which is now a hotel. There is also a museum about the history of Burg Rheinfels, which includes models showing how it would once have looked.

Photo by froutes (cc)

Burgkloster

The Burgkloster was a medieval monastery turned poorhouse, court and Nazi prison.

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The Burgkloster (Castle Monastery) in Lubeck is considered to be one of the most important medieval monasteries in Germany. Established in 1229, the Burgkloster served as a monastery until the Protestant Reformation (circa sixteenth century) after which it was used as a poorhouse until the nineteenth century.

Under the Third Reich, the Burgkloster was used as a Nazi prison, bearing witness to terrible atrocities, particularly against Jews and those who formed the resistance movement.

Today, the Burgkloster is a museum of Lubeck’s history. Visitors can tour the building as well as viewing exhibits on the history of Lubeck’s Jewish community and about Lubeck’s time as an important member of the Hanseatic League. This was a medieval trade block which controlled much of the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Photo by froutes (cc)

Burgtor

The Burgtor is one of only two surviving medieval gates in Lubeck.

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The Burgtor (Castle Gate) is one of only two of Lubeck’s original four medieval gates which survive. The oldest parts of Lubeck’s Burgtor date back to the thirteenth century, whilst its tower is a later addition.

The other - and more well-known - remaining gate is known as Holstentor. The Burgtor is part of Lubeck’s UNESCO listing.

Photo by Cayambe (cc)

Celtic hillfort of Otzenhausen

The Celtic hillfort of Otzenhausen contains the remains of an ancient fortification in Germany, thought to have been constructed by the Treveri tribe.

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The Celtic hillfort of Otzenhausen contains the remains of an ancient fortification in Germany, thought to have been constructed by the Treveri tribe.

The hillfort is positioned at the edge of the Hunsrück Nature Park, and their considerable height and location gives them a dominant view of the surrounding area - going some way to demonstrate their strategic location. The fortification was likely built in the 5th or 4th century BC and remained in use until some point around the 1st century BC, when the site was abandoned for reasons unknown.

Sometimes known as the Hunnenring, it is doubtful the site had anything to do with the more famous ancient tribe of similar name, the Huns.

During excavations at the site, the foundation walls of a small Roman temple dating from the 2nd and 3rd century A.D. were discovered, indicating a continued presence in the area throughout Roman times.

Today the site consists of the remaining circular earth ramparts, which are topped with stones. Visitors can explore the site - though running to more than 4km, the hillfort is not easy to explore in full. There are a number of signposted vantage points along the route which carry explanations and additional information. Positioned high among the forests, the site makes for a beautiful hike along the logging roads.

 

Photo by Leandro Ciuffo (cc)

Charlottenburg Palace

Berlin's largest royal estate, Charlottenburg Palace was finished in 1713 in a Baroque style, as a summer getaway for the first queen of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte, wife of Frederick I.

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Berlin's largest royal estate, Charlottenburg Palace was built in 1713 as a summer getaway for the first queen of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte, wife of Frederick I.

Noted by many as the most beautiful palace in Berlin, the style of Charlottenburg Palace is predominantly baroque, reflecting the taste during the period when it was first constructed.

The palace was designed by German architect Johann Arnold Nering, and completed by fellow architects Andreas Schlüter and Martin Grünberg following his death. As different cohorts of the royal family resided here throughout the years, each expanded the estate as they saw fit, with varying styles of decoration from baroque to rococo, the latter being seen in the New Wing, built between 1740 and 1742.

The palace houses the most extensive collection of French painting from the 18th Century outside of France, and was once famous for housing the ‘Amber Room’ – a vast room with walls covered completely in decorative amber. The room left the palace when it was given as a gift to strengthen ties between Frederich I and Peter the Great, and was lost after WWII.

The estate is surrounded by stunning gardens, which were designed in 1697. The design of the gardens is in keeping with the baroque style of the main palace, and contains an array of geometric designs, a carp pond and a moat.

During the Second World War, both the palace and the gardens were badly damaged and seemed beyond repair, but due to the astonishing efforts of State Palaces Director Margarete Kühn, both were renovated to their former glory. The palace gardens are home to a number of buildings including the mausoleum, which is home to the remains of Queen Louise, and the Belvedere.

Visitors to the palace today can take part in guided tours through both the Old Palace and the New Wing. Tours guide visitors through the rich family history of Sophie Charlotte, in addition to the property's extensive collection of artworks. One is able to view the crown jewels, which are on special display, as well as the Belvedere, the Neue Pavilion and the Palace Theatre, which today is used to house an archaeology museum.

The palace stands as a superb example of life for the royal family between the baroque period and the 20th century. Access to the stunning gardens is free, and a walk through them is worth a visit even if you are unable to venture inside the palace itself.

Photo by roger4336 (cc)

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie was an important crossing point in the Berlin Wall between the east and west of the city. It is one of the most popular historic sites in Germany for tourists to visit.

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Checkpoint Charlie was an important crossing point in the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989.

The Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie were prominent symbols of the Cold War. At the time, West Berlin was controlled by the American, British and French forces and East Berlin by the Soviet Union.

In a bid to prevent the ongoing migration of East Berliners to the west, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin erected the Berlin Wall, closing off East Berlin from the rest of the city.

Checkpoint ‘C’, nicknamed Checkpoint Charlie based on the NATO phonetic alphabet, was the only place where Allied forces were allowed to cross the border and, at its location at the junction of Friedrichstraße with Zimmerstraße and Mauerstraße, was also the most visible checkpoint along the wall.

Checkpoint Charlie was made up of a watchtower and barriers erected by the Soviet forces, while the American forces originally had only a temporary wooden shack followed by a temporary metal structure.

Checkpoint Charlie was the site of many stand offs between the Soviet and American forces, including the October 1961 dispute over the checking of the travel documents of US officials, which culminated in both sides amassing tanks at the checkpoint.

However, it was the tragic death of attempted East Berlin escapee, Peter Fechter which attracted mass protest and some of the most poignant imagery of the time. The teenager was shot by Soviet guards as he tried to flee to the West and lay dying in the no-man's land between East and West Berlin before the world media.

The original Checkpoint Charlie is housed at the Allied Museum in Berlin-Zehlendorf, but the site now displays a replica where the original once stood as well as information about the era. Nearby is a small private museum about the checkpoint called ‘Haus am Checkpoint Charlie’.

Dachau Concentration Camp

Dachau Concentration Camp was a Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

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Dachau Concentration Camp (KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau) was one of the first of many concentration camps set up by the Nazis to imprison and murder certain groups as part of their campaign of genocide. Founded on 22 March 1933, a mere few weeks after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Dachau Concentration Camp was seen as an example for the SS as to how to run other such camps throughout Europe.

Overall, Dachau Concentration Camp housed over 200,000 prisoners, which included Jews, homosexuals, communists and other groups considered to be inferior or subversive by the National Socialists. These prisoners were kept in dire conditions and subjected to ongoing atrocities including forced labour and medical experimentation. In total, around 41,500 people were murdered at Dachau, many of whom were incinerated in the crematorium in Barrack X.

The camp was liberated by American forces on 29 April 1945.

Today, the site of Dachau Concentration Camp houses a memorial to those who suffered and perished under the Nazis. Visitors can tour the grounds and the remains of the camp and audio guides are available as are guided tours. There are several exhibitions detailing the history of the camp as well as a documentary shown at 11:30am, 2pm and 3:30pm in English and at 11am and 3pm in German.

Photo by dionhinchcliffe (cc)

German Resistance Memorial Centre

The German Resistance Memorial Centre in Berlin commemorates those who rose up against the Nazis, particularly in the July 20 Plot.

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The German Resistance Memorial Centre or “Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand” in Berlin in Germany is a monument and museum to those who fought against the National Socialist government led by Adolf Hitler – the Nazis – before and during World War II. In particular, it commemorates the attempted assassination of Hitler and subsequent attempted coup led by Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg on 20 July 1944, the so-called “July 20 Plot”.

The July 20 Plot
Together with a group of civilians and military personnel led by General Friedrich Olbricht, Stauffenberg developed a plot to assassinate Hitler. On 20 July 1944, he successfully detonated the bomb at Hitler’s headquarters, known as the Wolf’s Lair. At first, Stauffenberg was convinced the plan had worked and went on to try and achieve a coup in Berlin, desperately trying to convince others that the Fuhrer was dead. However Hitler had actually survived and, by the end of the day, Stauffenberg and most of his counterparts were arrested as news of this filtered through. This event was made into the 2008 film “Valkyrie” starring Tom Cruise.

The Centre
The German Resistance Memorial Centre is located in the former Bendler Block in Berlin’s Mitte district, once the diplomatic quarter. As the headquarters of the Army High Command under Nazi rule, this was both the site where the July 20 Plot was planned and where its members were executed by firing squad.

Today, the German Resistance Memorial is located on a street formerly called Bendlerstrasse and now renamed “Stauffenbergstrasse”. The courtyard of the German Resistance Memorial Centre, where the executions took place, has a memorial statue. This bronze statue depicts a man with bound hands.

The German Resistance Memorial Centre Museum explores not only the July 20 Plot, but the whole issue of resistance, especially against National Socialism, but also in a wider context. Displaying thousands of documents and photographs, this exhibit offers an interesting insight into different elements and examples of resistance throughout history.

However, the focus of the German Resistance Memorial Centre Museum is the history of opposition to Nazi Germany, including the events in which National Socialism flourished and the attempts made to overthrow it. There are audio guides to the site and guided tours take place weekends at 3pm.

Hassenhausen Museum

Hassenhausen Museum in Auerstedt is a museum of the 1806 Battle of Jena-Auerstedt of the Napoleonic Wars.

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Hassenhausen Museum in Germany chronicles the battles of Jena and Auerstadt (often jointly known as the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt). These battles of the Napoleonic Wars saw the Prussian Army defeated by the army of Napoleon I of France in two locations on 14 October 1806, confirming Napoleon’s military might and severely damaging that of Frederick William III of Prussia.

Located near the Auerstedt Battlefield, Hassenhausen Museum looks at the background and context of the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt as well as its aftermath. Visitors can view an intricate diorama of the battle, pieces found on the battlefield and also visit nearby monuments and memorials as well as touring the battlefield itself.

Photo by nagerw (cc)

Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz

Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz was the site where the Nazis planned the extermination of the Jews known as the Holocaust.

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Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz was the site of the infamous Wannsee Conference in which the Nazis planned how to carry out the “Final Solution”, the plan to murder the Jewish population of Eastern Europe.

On 20 January 1942, fifteen senior members of the Nazi government and of the SS met at Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz. Chaired by the head of the Reich Security Main Office Reinhard Heydrich,, this group of men determined the course of the genocide of the Jewish people in Europe which would come to be known as the Holocaust.

Instigated by leader of the Nazis, Adolf Hitler, the Holocaust would see over six million Jews murdered as well as members of other minorities, homosexuals, handicapped people and anyone else considered by the Nazis to be “racially inferior”.

Today, Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz provides a moving memorial to the Holocaust as well as an in-depth history of the rise of the Nazi party, the growth of anti-Semitism and the atrocities committed against the Jews.

Photo by roger4336 (cc)

Heiliger Sand

Heiliger Sand in Worms in Germany is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe.

DID YOU KNOW?

Heiliger Sand, meaning Holy Sands, is the Worms Jewish Cemetery. With its oldest gravestone dating back to 1076, Heiliger Sand is Europe’s oldest Jewish cemetery although it is no longer in use, the last burial having occurred in 1940.

Photo by fionasjournal (cc)

Herrenchiemsee Palace

A stunning 19th century Bavarian palace, located on its very own 230-hectare island, modelled on the Palace of Versailles.

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Herrenchiemsee Palace is a luxurious 19th Century Bavarian palace, modelled on France’s Palace of Versailles, which sits atop its very own 230-hectare island.

Initially intended to serve no functional purpose other than as a shrine to absolute monarchy, Herrenchiemsee New Palace was modelled on the Palace of Versailles. Initial work on the Palace began under Ludwig II in 1873 but the palace and grounds stood incomplete at the time of his death in 1886.

In addition to the other of Ludwig II’s commissioned buildings, including Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace, Herrenchiemsee New Palace is a visual representation of the king’s ideas on monarchy and absolutism, despite himself being a constitutional monarch. The fairytale-like designs reflect the king’s oft-debated eccentricities but are architecturally outstanding and interesting to visit.

Today, Herrenchiemsee New Palace offers visitors the chance to explore 19th century Bavarian art and architecture through its ground floor museum, spread across twelve rooms. Furniture from the other of Ludwig’s castles and palaces are on display, as are documents, paintings, busts and robes. Lavishly decorated palatial rooms, such as the State Staircase, the State Bedroom and the Great Hall of Mirrors offer a glimpse into the mind-set of Ludwig II and are an example of 19th Century Bavarian decorative artwork.

As an interesting side note, the museum highlights the relationship between Ludwig and the composer Richard Wagner, whom he sponsored and supported, acting as the composer’s patron.

The island itself also houses an Augustinian Monastery dating back to 1645 but with medieval origins as well as several museums and art galleries, including the Constitutional Museum. The art galleries contain work by famous Bavarian painters from the early 19th Century up until the mid-20th.

Adding to the splendour of the Museum, Galleries and Palace itself are the grounds in which they are situated. Designed by Carl von Effner, again on Versailles and again left incomplete at the time of Ludwig’s death, the gardens offer fountains and a magnificent landscaped design that visitors can explore at their leisure.

Visitors to the site arrive by boat and during the summer months can take a horse carriage ride from the pier to the Royal Palace, a fitting way to arrive at this splendid last Palace of Ludwig II. Herrenchiemsee features as one of our Top German Tourist Attractions.

Contributed by Ros Gammie

Photo by JimTrodel (cc)

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is a truly impressive 19th century castle and popular tourist destination located 40 miles south of Stuttgart.

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Hohenzollern Castle is a truly impressive 19th century castle and popular tourist destination located 40 miles south of Stuttgart.

There were in fact three castles built on the Hohenzollern site. The first was built in the early 11th century but this castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege.

A larger fortress was constructed in the mid-fifteenth century, which served as an important military centre for the region at the time - changing hands repeatedly during the 30 Years War. As with many European fortresses, by the end of the 18th century Hohenzollern Castle had largely lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair, and today only the medieval chapel remains from this second incarnation.

The final castle was built between 1850 and 1867 by King Frederick William IV of Prussia. The castle was modelled on similar constructions in England and France built in the Gothic Revival style. In 1945 Hohenzollern Castle briefly became the home of the former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, son of the last German monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Today visitors to Hohenzollern Castle can not only enjoy the impressive fortress itself but also the museum, which contains a fascinating collection of artefacts linked to the history of Prussia and its royal family including the royal crown worn and a uniform worn by Frederick the Great.

Photo by mar.krebs (cc)

Holstentor

Holstentor is a picturesque medieval gate which houses the city museum of Lubeck. UNESCO listed.

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If Holstentor looks familiar, this might be because you’ve glimpsed it on a German 2 Euro coin. Of course, with its fairytale appearance, Holstentor, often known as Holsten Tor or Holsten Gate, looks like the very image of an ideal castle.

Built between 1464 and 1478, Holstentor was part of the medieval defences of the city of Lubeck. It is one of only two of the original four gates of the city, the other being Burgtor. In medieval times, Lubeck was one of the member-cities of the Hanseatic League, an important merchant bloc which dominated trade in the North and Baltic Seas.

Sadly, the marshy ground on which this iconic structure was built has meant that it has suffered subsidence and damage over the years, but this was finally halted in the twentieth century.

Today, Holstentor is one of a long list of buildings included as part of the UNESCO Hanseatic City of Lubeck site. Inside this medieval gem is the city museum of Lubeck.

Photo by Christian Stock (cc)

Jakobikirche

Jakobikirche was built in 1334 and now represents one of the best preserved medieval churches in Lubeck.

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Jakobikirche (St. Jacob's Church) was built in 1334 and now represents one of Lubeck’s best preserved medieval churches, having managed to emerge relatively unscathed from the air raids of World War II.

Jena Battlefield

Jena Battlefield was the site of a Prussian defeat in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Jena Battlefield in Thuringia, Germany was the site of the Battle of Jena during the Napoleonic Wars. On 14 October 1806, the Prussian army of Frederick William III together with Saxony troops met that of Napoleon’s French troops at Jena in Saxony, being modern day Germany.

In what is now known as the Battle of Jena, the Prussian army suffered a decisive defeat at the hands of the French Emperor. On the same day, another Prussian division was defeated at nearby Auerstädt.

Today, visitors can tour Jena Battlefield, including Windknollen and Landgrafenberg, on guided tours. Museum 1806, located on the map, offers a good introduction to the Battle of Jena. Re-enactments of the battle also take place at Jena Battlefield on the anniversary of the conflict.

Photo by Lauren Manning (cc)

Jewish Museum - Berlin

The Jewish Museum in Berlin explores the history of Germany’s Jewish community.

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The Jewish Museum in Berlin in Germany chronicles the history of German Jews over the course of two millennia. Housed in an incredibly modern building, the Berlin Jewish Museum displays historical objects, documents, photographs, multimedia presentations and even computer games relating to different periods of Jewish history and culture.

The exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in Berlin are arranged chronologically and cover various themes such as the living conditions of German Jews over the centuries, the role of Jewish women, tradition and change and the meaning of emancipation.

The Berlin Jewish Museum also looks at the issue of persecution, in particular during the Nazi era and the Holocaust, offering an insight into both the overall historical context and the lives of individual victims of the atrocities.

Photo by heatheronhertravels (cc)

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a ruined 19th century church and one of the most well-known landmarks in Germany of its time, particularly in Berlin.

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Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a Romanesque style church which was originally built in the 1890’s and dedicated to Kaiser William I by his grandson Kaiser William II.

Although the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was severely damaged in a bombing raid in 1943, during World War II, remnants of its original architecture clearly emerge, despite the fact that it was rebuilt between 1959 and 1963.

In its current incarnation, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, with its attached belfry, chapel and foyer is a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming from around the world to view its stunning frescos and its poignant memorial hall.

Free guided tours are available every day except Sunday at 1:15pm, 2:30pm and 3pm.

Photo by paularps (cc)

Karl Marx Haus

Karl Marx Haus in Trier was the birthplace of the father of Marxism and stands amongst the more popular things to do in Germany.

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Karl Marx Haus, translated as Karl Marx House, was the place where the revolutionary communist philosopher Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818.

Karl Marx was one of the most influential political thinkers of his time. His theory of Marxism, in which the working classes or “Proletariat” must struggle to take power from the upper classes or “Bourgeoisie” and then create a stateless society, is still one of the most well-known and controversial political theories in the world.

At Karl Marx Haus, visitors can not only view the place where Marx was born, but also learn about his life, his theories, his works and the way in which Marxism has affect world politics.

Photo by rs-foto (cc)

Konigstein Fortress

Konigstein Fortress in Dresden has been everything from a stronghold to a World War II prisoner of war camp.

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Konigstein Fortress or Festung Königstein is a famous fortified structure near Dresden, Germany which has never been taken. It is unclear when Konigstein Fortress was first constructed, but mentions of a castle on the site go back to 1233.

As a castle, Konigstein was used as a stronghold and a sixteenth century monastery before Elector Christian I converted it into a fortress in 1589. It then served as a prison until Napoleon’s conquest of Prussia when it became a fortress of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Konigstein Fortress continued to be used for various other purposes over the centuries, being everything from a retreat for soldiers to a hiding place for the Saxon royal family. During both World War I and World War II it was used as a prisoner of war camp.

Today, Konigstein Fortress is a museum, showing the history of the site throughout its existence. Guided tours are offered for an added fee and audio guides are also available to rent in eight languages.

Photo by zugaldia (cc)

Liebfrauen

Liebfrauen is a thirteenth century UNESCO-listed gothic church in Trier.

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Liebfrauen in Trier, translated as the Church of Our Lady, is a medieval cross-shaped church built upon the southern ruins of a vast Roman church built in 326 AD by Constantine the Great. It is near Trier Cathedral, which was also built over these remains.

Completed in approximately 1260, Liebfrauen is now a pretty gothic style church and part of Trier’s UNESCO World Heritage site list.

Photo by msachtler (cc)

Linderhof Palace

Unique in design and style, the ornate 19th century Linderhof Palace exhibits exquisite Rococo ornamentation and is surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens.

DID YOU KNOW?

Linderhof Palace in Bavaria is a grand country home created by King Ludwig II of Bavaria – one of several grand building projects the king undertook.

The only palace that Ludwig lived to see completed, Linderhof Palace’s origins are one of continual building and remodelling. Originally a hunting lodge owned by his father Maximillion II, Ludwig had the original farmhouse rebuilt in 1869, five years after his coronation. Gradually extensions were added to either side of the newly-christened “King’s Cottage” and with the added wing extensions the foundations for Linderhof Palace were complete.

Until 1874 the exterior of the u-shaped complex was a simple wood and plaster construction. However, in 1873 the final phase for the completion of the palace was approved by Ludwig – the entire complex was clad with stone, incorporating all the different structures under one roof. The final stage was to move the King’s Cottage, which looked out-dated next to the new stone-clad palace, 300 meters to the west.

With the relocation of the King’s Cottage slightly to the west of the palace, work on the gardens surrounding the palace was finally able to commence. Carl Von Effner, the court’s gardener, landscaped and designed the gardens surrounding Linderhorf in a similar fashion to the plans at Herrenchiemsee Palace.

As with Herrenchiemsee, he was inspired by Louis XIV and the gardens at Versailles. A large pool was installed directly in front of the Hall of Mirrors and included fountains 25 meters high. A water cascade, still visible today, was created in front of the bedroom, with water flowing from the music pavilion at the top, down 30 marble steps towards the Neptune fountain at the bottom.

Between 1876 and 1878 Ludwig ordered the construction of various other buildings in and around the palace grounds. One was the “Venus Grotto” modelled on Wagner’s opera ‘Tannhauser’, lit by dynamos making it one of Bavaria’s first electricity works. Ludwig also purchased several exhibits from the World Exhibition in Paris, including the “Moroccan House” and the “Moorish Kiosk”, giving the grounds the “Oriental” feel that Ludwig longed after.

Today the grounds and palace have had little alteration since the 1880s when they lay complete. The oldest part of the palace complex, St. Anna’s Chapel, built in 1684 by the abbot Roman Schretler was refitted with stained glass windows under the direction of Ludwig and is one of the many features of the grounds worth a look.

The King’s Cottage today offers visitors an exhibition on the many stages of planning and construction work that took place to eventually create Linderhof Palace, including the influencing role Ludwig himself had on developing and planning the grounds.

The palace itself boasts elaborately decorated rooms, including a large bedroom, an audience chamber, dining room, several cabinet rooms and the Hall of Mirrors overlooking the water parterre and fountain. The rooms contain ornamental and decorative features surpassing those that inspired it, such as the Rich Rooms of the Munich Residence. Decorated in the Rococo style, the rooms have become an exhibition of the finest Bavarian and German craftsmanship of the late 19th century.

Contributed by Ros Gammie

Photo by Giåm (cc)

Lubeck Cathedral

Lubeck Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in this UNESCO listed city centre.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lubeck Cathedral (Lubecker Dom) is one of the oldest buildings in this UNESCO listed city centre. Built in 1137 by Henry the Lion (Henry III) of the Welf dynasty, it was constructed in a Romanesque style.

Severely damages by the World War II air raids of 1942, Lubeck Cathedral has since been restored and is now open to tourists as well as being a working cathedral. The main attractions at Lubeck Cathedral are various works of art, particular Bernt Notke’s triumphal arch, and the seventeenth century astronomical clock.

Photo by Christian Stock (cc)

Lubeck Town Hall

Lubeck Town Hall is a picturesque medieval building which began as a 13th century cloth hall.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lubeck Town Hall (Lubecker Rathaus) is a picturesque medieval building which began as a thirteenth century cloth hall.

The initial three buildings of Lubeck Town Hall were added to at several stages over the centuries, but several original aspects can still be seen, including the gables and parts of the facade.

Now the seat of the Lubeck Senate, the interior of Lubeck Town Hall has also been the subject of extensive renovation, but also displays a collection of medieval artwork.

Lutzen Battlefield

Lutzen Battlefield was the site of an important battle of the Thirty Years’ War in 1632 and a Napoleonic victory in 1813.

DID YOU KNOW?

At Lutzen Battlefield on 2 May 1813, Napoleon’s forces defeated the combined forces of the Prussian and Russian armies. This victory at the Battle of Lutzen was all the more remarkable given the depleted nature of Napoleon’s army following their incursion into Russia.

Lutzen Battlefield was also the site of an important battle in 1632 between Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire as part of the Thirty Years’ War. Sweden was victorious, but this was somewhat bittersweet as it was in this battle that the founder of the Swedish Empire, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was killed. There is a memorial to this battle just outside Lutzen.

Photo by eriwst (cc)

Marienkirche

Marienkirche in Lubeck is Germany’s third largest church.

DID YOU KNOW?

Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) in Lubeck is Germany’s third largest church and part of this city’s illustrious history as a former member of the Hanseatic League.

Taking some 100 years to complete and consecrated in 1350, Marienkirche may not be Lubeck’s oldest church (that’s probably the cathedral), but it is its biggest. It is also renowned for its gothic architecture, upon which many other churches in the region have been modeled. Like much of Lubeck’s medieval centre, Marienkirche suffered great damage during World War II, but was later restored.

Photo by xoque (cc)

Munich Frauenkirche

The Munich Frauenkirche is one of the city’s most iconic historic sites.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Munich Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is one of the city’s most iconic sites.

Begun in 1468 over the site of an earlier church, the Munich Frauenkirche was consecrated in 1494. However, it was not until the sixteenth century that Frauenkirche got its most famous additions, a pair of onion-dome topped towers.

Inside Frauenkirche, visitors can see artworks spanning several centuries.

Photo by K.Hob (cc)

Neuschwanstein Castle

A fairy-tale castle built for an introverted and reclusive king, Neuschwanstein Castle’s idyllic mountainous setting attracts millions of tourists.

DID YOU KNOW?

A fairy-tale fortress built for an introverted and reclusive king, Neuschwanstein Castle was built in the 19th century for Bavaria’s notorious King Ludwig II and is now a prominent tourist attraction which draws vast numbers of visitors every year.

After Ludwig’s submission to Prussia in 1866 the king focused his attention on creating overtly extravagant palaces to which he could retreat and become an all-powerful ruler in his own alternative kingdom.

Completed in 1886, Neuschwanstein was inspired by Ludwig II’s declared desire to live somewhere designed “in the authentic style of the old German knights”.

Ironically the castle that Ludwig desired to be his own private sanctuary, built away from the public eye in a remote mountain setting, wasn’t completed until seven weeks after his death, when it was immediately opened to the public he so desperately wished to remove himself from. Today, Neuschwanstein boasts over one million visitors a year making it one of the most heavily visited castles in Europe.

Neuschwanstein dramatically upstages nearby Hohenschwangau castle, rebuilt by Ludwig’s father Maximillian II and beloved by Ludwig during his childhood. Although Neuschwanstein was inspired by Ludwig’s imagination and love of medieval legend the castle itself presents Romanesque rather than gothic architectural features, thanks to Eduard Riedal, the castle’s architect, who combined several motifs spanning hundreds of years of architectural history. It also contained very modern features for the time, such as a technologically advanced kitchen and tight-fitting windows made from steel.

The picture cycles decorating the interior walls of Neuschwanstein are in themselves reflective of Ludwig’s personality; inspired by Wagner’s operas they depict the sagas of Tristian and Isolde (on the walls in the bedroom), Lohengrin (in the Salon), and Parzifal (in the Singer’s Hall). Wagner’s influence on Ludwig is obvious; original designs for the castle were based not just on the existing Wartburg castle but also on stage sets from Wagner’s operas. The Singer’s Hall and the Festival Hall, (neither of which performed their suggested duties) were inspired by Wartburg Castle, the rest were representations of Ludwig’s own imagination.

The many rooms inside the castle reflect Ludwig’s passion for medieval kingship, such as the Throne Hall, which through its depiction of medieval poets and sagas exalts Christian kingship and absolute monarchy.

Rather than being a copy of any specific medieval castle, Neuschwanstein is an excellent example of historicism and combines many different architectural and decorative motifs, culminating in this beautiful, idealistic and extravagant monument to ‘Mad’ King Ludwig and justifying its position as one of the most photographed buildings in the world.

Guided tours take place regularly in English and German, with audio-tours available in a variety of other languages. Neuschwanstein features as one of our top ten Tourist Attractions in Germany.

Contributed by Ros Gammie

Nuremberg Castle

Every Holy Roman Emperor between 1050 and 1571 is said to have stayed at Nuremberg Castle, which is one of the grander medieval historic places in Germany.

DID YOU KNOW?

Nuremberg Castle (Nürnberger Burg) is a medieval castle - or rather a castle complex - made up of three parts.

Whilst it is unclear as to exactly when Nuremberg Castle was first constructed, by the mid-eleventh century, it was a prestigious residence. In fact, between 1050 and 1571, every Holy Roman Emperor stayed there at one point or another.

Visits are by guided tour, which last around ninety minutes.

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is a grand baroque palace in Munich and one the city’s most famous sites.

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Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) is a grand baroque palace in Munich and one the city’s most famous sites.

Originally built in the seventeenth century, Nymphenburg Palace was constructed in celebration the birth of Max Emanuel, the son and heir of Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.

Begun in 1664, most of Nymphenburg Palace was complete by 1679, but would later be added to significantly by Max Emanuel himself as well as by later rulers.

With its beautiful baroque style, stunning gardens and opulent interiors, Nymphenburg Palace is worth a visit. It is also home to the Museum of carriages and sleighs, which showcases an impressive collection dating from the eighteenth century, and the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain.

Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra is a late second century Roman gate in Trier in Germany.

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Porta Nigra, translated as the “Black Gate” is a magnificently well-preserved second century Roman gate in Trier, Germany.

Originally constructed of large blocks of light sandstone, the darkening of its appearance by the Middle Ages led to it being called Porta Nigra, with its original name unknown.

By the mid-second century AD, Trier – then known as the Roman city of Augusta Treverorum – was fortified by a vast defensive wall. Porta Nigra is thought to have been constructed in the latter half of the second century, perhaps completed in 200 AD and would have been one of four city gates.

It is thought that the hermit monk Simeon lived in Porta Nigra’s east town sometime in the eleventh century, an event commemorated by the building of the adjacent monastery in his name - Simeonstift. Simeon’s residence in the gate saved it from major destruction and it was soon incorporated into a church, partially accounting for its excellent state of preservation.

When Napoleon saw Porta Nigra in 1804, he demanded that it be restored to its original state as it would have looked in Roman Trier. Today, Porta Nigra still bears the marks of its medieval conversions but it is still clearly an Ancient Roman creation. Inside, there are various Roman and medieval remnants. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Trier.

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt (cc)

Reichstag

Amongst the things to do in Germany relating to its modern history is a visit to the Reichstag Building. The seat of the German Government from 1894 to 1933, it is now the seat of the German Bundestag.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Reichstag Building started its life in 1894, when it served as the seat of the German Parliament, then known as the Reichstag. Designed by architect Paul Wallot during the reign of Emperor Wilhelm I, the Reichstag building contained several pioneering architectural elements, including a steel and glass copula which was the first of its kind.

Wilhelm I was succeeded by Wilhelm II by the time the Reichstag was completed in 1894 and, despite this new leader’s opposition to the institute of parliament, the Reichstag survived his reign and was the site where the politician Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the institution of the German Weimar Republic in 1918. It served as such until 1933, when a fire tore through it, damaging it severely.  However, it was the socio-political consequences of this latter event which would have the most lasting effects.

The ruling National Socialist German Workers Party, the Nazis, blamed the fire on communist Marinus van der Lubbe and used the incident as an excuse to carry out a purge of any perceived traitors as well as banning the Communist Party altogether.

The Reichstag was heavily bombed during the Second World War and emerged as a ruin, the effects of which were exacerbated by its neglect during the Cold War. Whilst parts of the original Reichstag building, including its famous copula, were destroyed, it once again took centre stage in world politics on 3 October 1990, when it was the venue of the German Reunification Ceremony.

Reconstruction of the Reichstag followed and was completed in April 1999. It now houses the current German parliament, the Bundestag, and also acts as one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions. Guided tours are available, but must be booked in writing well in advance.

Rheinisches Landesmuseum

The Rheinisches Landesmuseum chronicles the history of Trier and the region as far back as the Stone Age.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Rheinisches Landesmuseum (Rhenish State Museum) of Trier is a large archaeological museum which exhibits pieces from throughout the history of the city and its region.

Starting with the Stone Age and up to the medieval era, the Rheinisches Landesmuseum offers an overview of the development of Trier and its surrounding areas such as the Eifel region. The main exhibition at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum is dedicated to Ancient Rome and particularly the role played by Trier during the Roman period. This is widely considered to be one of Germany’s most important Ancient Roman collections.

In Roman times, Trier was an important centre of trade which later became the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. Established in circa 15 BC, Trier was known as Treverorum Augusta and later became home to emperors such as Constantine the Great, who was responsible for building many of its now UNESCO-listed sites.

From Stone Age tools to Roman reliefs and medieval ecclesiastical pieces, the Rheinisches Landesmuseum has a wide ranging permanent exhibitions as well as temporary exhibits. Audio guides are available in several languages.

Romano-Germanic Museum - Cologne

The Romano-Germanic Museum is a museum of Ancient Roman history in Cologne.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Romano-Germanic Museum (Römisch-Germanisches Museum) in Cologne houses an extensive collection of ancient Roman finds from around Germany, particularly from the local area which was occupied by the Romans for a considerable time.

During the Roman era, Cologne was known as “Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium” and was the capital of the Imperial province of Lower Germania. From artwork and jewellery to glass, ceramics and pieces of Roman structures, the Romano-Germanic Museum exhibits a wide range of historic pieces dating back to this era and beyond into the Middle Ages.

One of the most famous exhibits at the Romano-Germanic Museum is the tomb of the Poblicius, a soldier who served in the fifth legion and whose large and elaborate tomb dates back to approximately 40AD.

However, it is the Dionysus Mosaic which is the star attraction of the Romano-Germanic Museum. Thought to have been created in around 220 to 230AD, this extremely well preserved mosaic floor measures approximately 750 square feet and is comprised of an incredibly intricate collection of over a million pieces of glass, stone and ceramics. In fact, the Romano-Germanic Museum was built around this floor, which was housed in a villa on the site.

Public tours of the Romano-Germanic Museum take place on Sundays at 11:30am.

Romerbrucke

Still in use today, Romerbrucke is a 2nd century UNESCO-listed Roman bridge in Trier.

DID YOU KNOW?

Romerbrucke is an ancient Roman bridge which crosses the Mosel River in Trier in Germany.

Built between 144 and 152 AD, much of the original structure of Romerbrucke still survives, although some of it – notably the road and its arches – date back to the eighteenth century.

Still an active bridge, Romerbrucke is said to be the oldest bridge in Germany and is a UNESCO World Heritage historic site.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen was a Nazi concentration camp 35km outside of Berlin during the Second World War.

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Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (KZ-Sachsenhausen) was used by the Nazis between 1936 and 1945. Its primary function was for the imprisonment and execution - or extermination - of Jews and political dissidents, including many Dutch freedom fighters, Russian prisoners of war and even some political leaders from invaded countries.

Its prime location near Berlin ensured that Sachsenhausen was an important camp and it served as a template for other concentration camps. Estimates put the number of Sachsenhausen casualties at between 30,000 and 35,000, many of whom were shot, hung or exterminated in a specially built room in its infirmary.

Conditions in this concentration camp, as in others, were terrible, with many prisoners dying of starvation or disease.

Those who enter Sachsenhausen can still see the chilling words “Arbeit Macht Frei” or “Work will set you free” emblazoned on its iron gates. Much of Sachsenhausen was destroyed during and after its liberation by Soviet and Polish troops on 22 April 1945, but was rebuilt as part of the project to turn it into a memorial and museum.

The reconstructed Sachsenhausen draws many visitors and guided tours are available. Overall, one can gain a detailed insight into life at Sachsenhausen and see, amongst other things, the crematory ovens, the surviving buildings, pictures, documents and scale models of the camp.

Photo by Montecruz Foto (cc)

Soviet Memorial Treptow

Located in Berlin’s Treptower Park, the Soviet Memorial was designed by architect Yakov Belopolsky in order to remember the Soviet soldiers who were killed in the 1945 Battle of Berlin.

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The beautiful Treptower Park just south of Berlin’s city centre is home to Germany’s largest Soviet memorial, a solemn and moving site, which serves to both commemorate those lost in the Battle of Berlin, and house a cemetery for 5,000 of the fallen soldiers.

Near to the river Spree, the park is a popular visiting spot due to its natural beauty and historical importance. The memorial is one of three anti-Fascist structures that were created after World War II and erected throughout Berlin.

Taking place between April and May of 1945, the Battle of Berlin was an especially important time in WWII as it marked the final notable battle of the European offensive on the Eastern Front, which began with the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Due to a number of Soviet advances, Berlin was surrounded by Red Army soldiers and the city was heavily shelled, before soldiers swept through the city ultimately defeating the city’s defenders. The German soldiers were poorly equipped and the battle was the final tipping point for their demise, as it led to the suicide of Adolf Hitler and many other prominent government officials, and essentially the end of Nazi resistance.

Opened four years after the end of the war and constructed primarily from granite, the memorial is made up of a number of frescos depicting the events of WWII. Atop the mausoleum stands a soldier holding a child, stood on top of a broken swastika.

At the forefront of the memorial is a statue of a woman, signifying the ‘motherland’. It stands as a poignant tribute to the soldiers of the Red Army that were killed. The memorial is a significant visiting place for those who wish to remember not only the Battle of Berlin, but the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives throughout the war.

St Matthias Abbey - Trier

St Matthias Abbey houses the grave of its namesake, the apostle, St Mathias and is home to a cemetery dating back to Roman times.

DID YOU KNOW?

St Matthias Abbey (Benediktiner abtei St. Matthias) is a twelfth century church and the site of the tomb of the apostle St Matthias, who succeeded Judas.

Also located at St Matthias Abbey, which was consecrated in 1148, is a Roman cemetery housing the final resting places of the first bishops of Trier, probably dating back to the third century.

Much of the building of St Matthias Abbey was reconstructed in the nineteenth century, having been subject to several invasions and occupation as a private home.

Photo by Francisco Antunes (cc)

The Altes Museum

The Altes Museum in Berlin contains a collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Altes Museum is part of Germany’s National Museum and is located in Berlin. Displaying part of the National Museum’s collection of classical antiquities, even the building of the Altes Museum has been built in a style inspired by Ancient Greece.

One of the main collections at the Altes Museum is its Etruscan Art. It also exhibits a series of Roman portraits including those modelled on of the sarcophagi of Caesar and Cleopatra.

It is worth noting that the National Museum has made several changes to the arrangement of its classical antiquities collection and many pieces have moved to the Neues Museum.

The Barbara Baths - Trier

The Barbara Baths were a second century baths complex of Roman Trier. UNESCO listed.

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The Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) in Trier are a set of ruins of a second century Roman baths complex.

A little of the original Barbara Baths can be seen above ground today, but this pales in comparison to the Imperial Baths of Trier. This is due to the fact that most of the complex was quarried for materials in the seventeenth century.

However, below street level lie a fascinating set of tunnels in which (when open) visitors can view the workings of the Barbara Baths, including furnaces, sewers and the heating system.

The Barbara Baths are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Closed at the time of writing.

The Battle of the Nations Monument

The Battle of the Nations Monument commemorates the 1813 Napoleonic Wars battle in which the French emperor suffered one of his greatest defeats.

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The Battle of the Nations Monument near Leipzig was dedicated one hundred years after the momentous Battle of Leipzig, also known as the Battle of the Nations, took place.

One of the major battles of the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 18 October 1813 between Napoleon’s French army, which included many soldiers from the Confederation of the Rhine, and those of the countries of the Sixth Coalition. This coalition was formed to fight Napoleon and included Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and Sweden, as well as numerous German States.

The Battle of the Nations claimed around 100,000 lives and marked one of Napoleon’s greatest defeats. In fact, following the Battle of the Nations, the French emperor was driven out of Germany. Later, this coalition would invade France (1814), forcing him into exile to the Italian island of Elba.

Located near Napoleon’s command post in the battle, the Battle of the Nations Monument is a vast 91 metre high temple near Leipzig commemorating both the battle itself and those who died during the fighting. It took fifteen years to build and today the Battle of the Nations Monument includes a museum about the battle, the Forum 1813 museum. This museum uses over 350 original pieces to paint a picture of the Battle of the Nations, including uniforms, pictures and weaponry.

Guided tours of the Battle of the Nations Monument take place Tuesdays at 3pm and audio guides are available in English, German, French and Spanish.

Photo by Thomas Angermann (cc)

The Berlin Flak Tower

One of the more hidden World War II historic sites in Germany is the Berlin Flak Tower, a bunker and anti-aircraft tower built under Hitler’s orders.

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The Berlin Flak Tower in Humboldthain Park is a seven storey bunker originally built under Hitler’s orders to protect Berlin from aerial attacks during the Second World War. In fact, in 1940, Hitler planned to build six such flak towers.

Three flak towers were constructed and, after the war, the only Berlin Flak Tower to survive was the Humboldthain tower. The rest were destroyed and even the surviving Berlin Flak Tower has suffered severe damage.

During World War II the lower floors of the Berlin Flak Tower were also used as a bomb shelter for thousands of the city’s population. Only two floors are currently open to the public and 90 minute tours are provided by the Berlin Underground Association.

If you go, ensure to wear comfortable shoes and plenty of layers as it can get quite cold (even in summer). Visitors must be at least 14 years of age and under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Photo by La Citta Vita (cc)

The DDR Museum

The DDR Museum examines what life was like within the former German Democratic Republic, and provides an incredibly vivid look into this 40-year period of German history.

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One of Berlin's newest sites, the DDR Museum examines what life was like within the former German Democratic Republic, and provides an incredibly vivid look into this 40-year period. The museum is a wholly interactive experience, wherein visitors enter a model of a GDR estate.

Through impressive interactive exhibitions, the DDR Museum throws visitors into the years of the German Democratic Republic, which existed primarily between 1949 and 1990.

Life in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War was vastly different to the rest of Germany. The West in particular was heavily occupied by the US military, and the Soviet forces felt it necessary to counter this with a state-owned and run country of their own.

Surrounded by wall of security - both metaphoric and sometimes real - the GDR and its inhabitants were cut off from the rest of the world. This allowed the Stasi to watch over its citizens without interruption. This spying went on throughout the Eastern Bloc's reign, until its economic collapse and the democratic mass movement that finalised its demise.

The museum actively encourages visitors to touch and experience the exhibitions, in a way that few others do. Visitors can stroll through a typical concrete-slabbed housing estate, into the buildings that are bursting with relics and real models from the lives of those who grew up and lived during this time. You can see first-hand how the Socialist ideologies of the Stasi were conveyed through real television shows and movies, read the diary of a GDR citizen, and even take a simulated ride in one of the beloved 'Trabi' cars.

The museum accurately reflects both a fondness for the culture that this period created, as well as emphasising the sinister side of life under the piercing gaze of the SED.

Photo by sanzante (cc)

The Holocaust Memorial - Berlin

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin commemorates the European Jews murdered under the Nazis.

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The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is an installation commemorating the genocide of the Jewish people perpetrated under Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The Holocaust was an attempt by Hitler to exterminate the Jews and any other people who he considered “racially inferior” in what he called the “Final Solution”.

The Holocaust Memorial is a monument to the six million European Jews who died in the Holocaust. Made up of a vast dark granite maze and a subterranean information centre which has details about the victims, the Holocaust Memorial is a moving site.

The Munich Residence

The Munich Residence was a focal point of Bavarian power for over four centuries.

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The Munich Residence (Residenz Munchen) was a focal point of Bavarian power for over four centuries. Begun in 1385, the Munich Residence was initially a small castle, but slowly grew to be one of Germany’s most impressive palaces.

From 1508, the Munich Residence took its place in the history books as the seat of Bavarian dukes and monarchs, a role which it would play until 1918.

Now restored after being severely damaged in World War II, the Munich Residence has a range of exhibits and things to see, offering a glimpse into the history of the building and its residents. Highlights of a tour of the Munich Residence include its vast hall of antiquities or "Antiquarium" - one of the largest of its kind - as well as its elector apartments (Kurfurstenzimmer), ancestral gallery (Ahnengalerie) and the stunning works in its treasury, to name a few.

Photo by Olivier Bruchez (cc)

The Neues Museum

The Neues Museum in Berlin has a vast collection including Prehistoric, Ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek works.

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The Neues Museum in Berlin is part of Germany’s National Museum and, following a reconstruction project, is now the home of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Collection of Classical Antiquities and the Museum of Prehistory and Early History.

Within the Neues Museum’s Ancient Egyptian collection, one of its most famous pieces is the bust of Nefertiti, wife of Ancient Egypt’s Pharaoh Akhenaten. It also houses a large collection of Armana artwork.

Further fascinating pieces at the Neues Museum include its display of Trojan antiquities and the prehistoric skull of the Neanderthal from Le Moustier in southwest France.

Overall, the Neues Museum offers a comprehensive display of historical and archaeological exhibits from throughout ancient history and around the world. Guided tours are available and audio guides are included in the admission price.

Photo by Tim Gage (cc)

The New Synagogue

Once a working synagogue, the New Synagogue in Berlin is today used as an informative museum, with the building standing as a great representation of eastern Moorish architecture.

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The New Synagogue in Berlin was originally constructed between 1859 and 1866, with the Moorish-inspired designs created by German architect Eduard Knoblauch. Today, the synagogue is used as a museum, the Centrum Judaicum, but during its active years it was the largest Jewish place of worship in Germany and remains an important site for Jewish history. One reason for the synagogue’s popularity is its architectural style. It’s said to be representative of eastern Moorish architecture, with Knoblauch apparently taking inspiration from the historic fortress of Alhambra in Andalucia, Spain. The exterior is decorated with terracotta brickwork while the large central dome and two side domes all boast beautiful gilded detailing.

During construction, the synagogue’s key purpose was to accommodate Berlin’s increasing Jewish population. For this reason the grand central hall could seat 3,200 people and was often used for musical events. The building was a symbol of the strong Jewish community in Berlin at the time, and despite attempts during Kristallnacht (a pogrom against German and Austrian Jews on 9th – 10th November 1938) to shut the synagogue down, it remained active until 1940 before being severely damaged by Allied bombing in 1943.

Having been restored between 1988 and 1991, the synagogue opened its doors as the home of the Centrum Judaicum museum in 1995. Highly informative, the museum’s permanent exhibition, ‘Open Ye The Gates’, explores the rich story of the synagogue using unique historic documents and multimedia displays to convey how life was for Jewish worshippers during this period of Berlin’s history. It’s also possible for visitors to explore the synagogue’s vast dome.

Photo by SpirosK photography (cc)

The Pergamon Museum

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin displays ancient exhibitions and those of Muslim art.

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The Pergamon Museum is a large and varied museum in Berlin housing three different exhibitions.

One of the collections at the Pergamon Museum is part of the Classical Antiquities, known as the Antikensammlung. This collection includes mostly Greek and some Roman pieces ranging from jewellery to sarcophagi, sculptures and even remains from buildings. However, it is the reconstruction of the second century BC Pergamon Altar, one of the sites from the ancient city of Pergamon and with its Hellenistic fresco depicting the battle of the Giants and the Gods, which forms one of its most famous attractions.

The largest collection at the Pergamon Museum is that of its Museum of the Ancient near East or ‘Vorderasiatisches Museum’, which covers over 2,000 square feet and around six thousand years of history. From reconstructions of Babylonian monuments such as the Ishtar Gate, the facade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar II and the Tower of Babel to ninth millennium BC reliefs from the Assyrian palace of Kalchu, this is a fascinating exhibit.

The Pergamon Museum also contains a Museum of Islamic Art or ‘Museum für Islamische Kunst’ in its southern wing where it displays everything from Islamic jewellery to architectural decorations.

Please note that recent reconstruction projects have meant that some of the exhibits of the National Museum have been moved to the Neues Museum.

Trier Cathedral

Trier Cathedral is a mostly medieval, UNESCO-listed church with a history dating back to Roman times.

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Trier Cathedral, called Trierer Dom in German, is the main church of the city of Trier. The site of Trier Cathedral has a rich Christian history dating back to at least 270 AD, when worshippers attended what was probably the first church to have existed at this location – a house church.

In the fourth century the then ongoing persecution against Christians began to decline. With this increase in religious freedom came the opportunity to worship more openly. Thus, from 340 AD, the site of Trier Cathedral became home to a construction known as “The Square”. Some remains of this structure are still visible today, its outer walls now forming part of Trier Cathedral.

This predecessor of Trier Cathedral was destroyed in the fifth and ninth centuries, respectively by Germanic and Viking tribes. Most of the current Trier Cathedral dates back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when a Romanesque church was built. It has also been remodelled and altered at various stages, including in a Baroque style in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Few remnants of the original Ancient Roman church are viewable today in the church itself, however there are extensive underground excavations which can be seen as part of a guided tour (book in advance on the official site).  Along with these underground remains, a section of the original Roman walls surives in the main structure, rising to a height of almost 30 metres. A few additional Roman elements and columns are visible and the rest of Trier Cathedral – which appears seemingly more like a citadel than a house of worship – beautifully preserves the medieval history of this site.

Trier Cathedral is also the home of the Holy Tunic, a robe which is said to have been worn by Jesus when he died, however this is rarely exhibited.

Trier Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Trier Roman Amphitheatre

Trier Roman Amphitheatre is a well preserved UNESCO site in use as early as the 1st century.

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Trier Roman Amphitheatre may have been constructed as early as the first century AD, but was certainly in use by the second century.

Able to hold around 20,000 spectators, Trier Roman Amphitheatre would have been the site of fierce gladiatorial battles, also involving animals. In fact, tunnels have been found under Trier Roman Amphitheatre which would have been used to house these animals together with unfortunate prisoners of the Roman Empire.

Beautifully preserved, the Roman Amphitheatre of Trier now hosts open-air events and even the city’s antiquity festival. It is part of Trier’s UNESCO World Heritage sites list.

Photo by julie corsi (cc)

Würzburg Residence

The Würzburg Residence was built for Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg in the 1700s and is one of Europe’s most stunning and lavishly opulent Baroque palaces.

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Called the ‘castle above all castles’, the Würzburg Residence was principally designed by little-known court architect Balthasar Neumann and commissioned by Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. Constructed between 1720 and 1744, it is a perfect representation of South German Baroque-era architecture and one of Europe’s most extraordinary and lavishly opulent palaces.

White ostensibly built in the Baroque style, the Würzburg Residence embodies the pinnacle of western architectural influences of the time and includes elements of French château architecture, northern Italian religious and secular architecture and Viennese Baroque. According to UNESCO – for which Würzburg was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1981 – ‘The Residence is a document of European culture. Perhaps no monument from the same period is able to claim such a concurrence of talent.’

From 1740 to 1780, the interior and gardens were completed by some of the most significant creative talents – architects, designers, painters and sculptors – in Europe including ‘ornamentation genius’ Antonio Bossi and the 18th century’s greatest fresco painter Giovanni Battista Tieplo. It was Tieplo who lent his considerable skills to the world-famous staircase with its unsupported vaulted ceiling, widely regarded as a masterpiece of construction. The interior decoration of the Würzburg Residence was so spectacular that it even prompted a new school, Würzburg rococo.

While the palace itself is grandeur on a previously unknown scale, the formal Court Garden is no less of an artistic marvel.

After the Würzburg Residence was virtually demolished during WWII, the restoration project started immediately and was finally completed 42 years later and today, visitors can enjoy one of the most impressive palaces in Europe.

Photo by RonnyPohl (cc)

Weißensee Cemetery

The largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, the Weißensee Cemetery in Berlin is home to about 115,000 graves. It is popular with visitors due to its beautiful art nouveau mausoleums and mourning hall.

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Berlin is home to a number of cemeteries and all are worth visiting, but without doubt the most hauntingly beautiful is Weißensee Cemetery. Located in Berlin’s Weißensee district, it was established in 1880 and walking through you’ll find stunning art nouveau mausoleums, many of which were created by Berlin’s affluent Jewish families. Initially, the 100-acre site was purchased by the Jewish community of Berlin and divided into areas based on wealth, where the person would be interred according to their societal status.

As you approach the main entrance, you’ll see a flower bed and a Holocaust memorial paying tribute to the six million Jews who were victims of the Nazis during WWII. Forming a circle, each stone in the monument has inscribed on it the names of all the war’s principal concentration camps. The cemetery also records those who, due to unbearable circumstances, took their own lives following the threat of deportation to a concentration camp. There is also a memorial park with the remains of over 12,000 German Jewish soldiers who fought and lost their lives in the WWI.

With such a rich history, Berlin’s Weißensee Cemetery is a place of incredible cultural importance to the Jewish community, and many prominent Jewish figures are buried here including politician Max Hirsch, artist Lesser Ury and physicist Eugen Goldstein.

Strolling around the cemetery you’ll walk past sepulchral art ranging from the cemetery’s establishment to around 1939. A moving experience, walking through the cemetery will guide you through Berlin’s Jewish history and is well worth a visit.

Weiden Roman Burial Chamber

The Weiden Roman Burial Chamber is an Ancient Roman tomb on the outskirts of modern day Cologne.

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The Weiden Roman Burial Chamber (Römische Grabkammer in Weiden) is a second century tomb found on the outskirts of modern day Cologne.

As was typical at the time, the Roman Burial Chamber in Weiden was built on the way out of the city, then known as Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.

Elaborate and containing a series of sculptures, the Weiden Roman Burial Chamber is open to the public.

Westwall Museum

The Westwall Museum allows visitors to enter tunnels which formed part of this renowned line of World War II fortifications.

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The Westwall Museum or Siegfried Line Museum near the western German village of Niedersimten allows visitors to enter a warren of tunnels which formed part of this renowned line of World War II fortifications. Two decommissioned tanks guard the entrance to the Westwall Museum.

Worms Synagogue

Worms Synagogue is built on the site of two former synagogues destroyed during the Crusades and on Kristallnacht.

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Worms Synagogue is a relatively new synagogue, but is built next to the remains of one that was completed in 1175. This twelfth century synagogue was burnt down as part of the World War II Nazi Kristallnacht in 1938, in which hundreds of Jewish sites were destroyed.

Prior to the Second World War, Worms had one of Germany’s oldest Jewish communities and, in fact, a synagogue had existed there as early as 1034 - this had been destroyed by the Crusaders and was succeeded by the twelfth century incarnation. Today, all that remains of the old Worms Synagogue is a wall with an inscription of the site.

Nearby is a twelfth century subterranean mikveh complex. Mikveh are baths used in the Jewish faith to achieve purity. There is also a small Jewish Museum.

Photo by By Veles (cc)

Xanten Archaeological Park

Xanten Archaeological Park houses the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana. It is one of the best preserved Roman historic sites in Germany.

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Xanten Archaeological Park (Archaologischer Park Xanten) houses the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The area of the park was first garrisoned by Roman legions in around 13 BC and soon flourished.

Roads and a harbour were built as was a vast military camp and, except for an interruption due to a Germanic Bataver revolt in 69-70 AD, it continued to thrive. In 88-89 AD this settlement was finally honoured with the status of being a "colonia" and thus Colonia Ulpia Traiana was born.

Most of the buildings in Xanten Archaeological Park date back to the second century AD, when great building projects were undertaken. By this time, the colonia had a population of around 10,000 people and was a great agricultural hub. However, it was utterly destroyed by the Germanic Franks in the third century and, despite final attempts to breathe life back into the settlement, including further fortification, it was abandoned by the fourth century.

At 73 hectares, Xanten Archaeological Park is now Germany’s largest outdoor museum and offers so much to see. It is a mixture of ruins and reconstructed sites including temples, homes, an amphitheatre, a city wall, a baths complex and an inn, to name but a few. There is also a museum housing finds from excavations.

Overall, Xanten Archaeological Park offers a fascinating insight into life in this Roman settlement and really lets you immerse yourself in its history. You can even dress up like a Roman.

Photo by Anna (cc)

Zionskirche

Built in 1872, the Zionskirche is an impressive 19th century historic church in Berlin and a beautiful example of the neo-romantic architecture.

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The Zionskirche is a picturesque 19th century historic church in Berlin and an exquisite example of the neo-romantic architecture.

Built in 1872, the Zionskirche is representative of the Historicist movement of its time, and was incredibly important before the fall of the Berlin Wall as a meeting point for opposition groups, often lead by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Founded by German Emperor William I, the church's tower stands 67 metres high and is a beautiful example of the neo-romantic architecture that was popular with the Prussian elite, who during 1866 were celebrating the Prussian victory over Denmark. The building's inauguration coincided with the Prussian-France peace treaty of 1873, and so is notable for its immense historical importance. Today the church is celebrated as a patriotic landmark, which proudly stands at the highest natural point in Berlin.

Partially destroyed during WWII, the building has undergone several renovations throughout its history, before being fully restored for a grand re-opening in 2002. Well-known Nazi-opposer Dietrich Bonhoeffer worked at the church between 1931 and 1932, where he taught, preached and held baptisms.

The church played a role in housing opposition groups in the 1980s and the protests that occurred here inspired radical political movements throughout the country. A bronze monument dedicated to Bonhoeffer stands on the west side of the church, and commemorates his extensive work with the local community, in addition to his active opposition of the Nazi regime, which ultimately led to his execution.

Today a working church with a choir singing every Monday and Wednesday, visitors can freely climb up the church tower most Sundays, and guided tours are held on the first Sunday of every month.

Zwernitz Castle

Zwernitz Castle is an 11th century castle, once the hereditary seat of the Upper Franconian Walpodes situated in the beautiful village of Wonsees in south-eastern Germany.

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First documented in 1156, Zwernitz Castle in the beautifully quiet village of Wonsees in south-eastern Germany was once the hereditary seat of the Upper Franconian Walpodes, a prominent familial line who were present in Bavaria from the 10th century.

The structures you can still see today – the keep and tithe barn – date from around 1200. They are part of the original Romanesque complex and are constructed from rusticated ashlar (smoothly finished, square-block masonry surfaces).

In 1338, ownership of Zwernitz Castle passed to the House of Hohenzollern, one of Europe’s most prominent dynasties of princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire and Romania who owned it until 1810 when it was bequeathed to the Kingdom of Bavaria.

In the mid-1550s the half-timbered outhouses surrounding the main building were added to what became a medieval stronghold, as was the rock garden.

Today, there is a fascinating exhibition documenting the history of the castle as well as showcasing a collection of arms, shaft weapons and furnishings spanning the 16th – 18th centuries.