Today it often hard to imagine how badly some European cities were destroyed during World War II. Most cities and towns were quickly rebuilt after the war but there is one village that has been preserved as a memorial to the victims that once lived in the small village.
On the 10th of June 1944 the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane was destroyed by the Nazi Waffen-SS division. A total of 642 people were massacred as the Nazis burnt the village and shot anyone who dared escape the flames. Following the war, then French President, Charles de Gaulle decided the original village would be left untouched, and that’s how the village stands today. Read the rest of this entry »
A bit of a follow up on the Prora Resort story we did back in 2008, to recap the Prora resort was built by the Nazi’s under Hitlers Kraft durch Freude (strength through joy) program to provide a cheap holiday to 20,000 workers at a time. To try and convince the public that all his plans were great, Hitler liked to use a fair bit of propaganda and grand projects to win support from his people. At almost 5klm long the Prora complex was the largest hotel in the world at the time it was constructed and further plans were on the drawing board for stadiums to seat 20,000 people, pools and a wharf for his cruise ships. Construction halted around 1940 and no one has ever got to take their holiday at the complex and it has been mostly been derelict in recent years apart from a small visitors centre. Recently it has been reported a section of the complex will be renovated into a youth hostel so for the fist time in over 60 years you will be able to stay at the Prora resort. While we are interested in the history of the building we think it might be a bit too creepy to spend the night at nasty old Hitlers holiday home. What’s your thoughts? hit up our comment form below, and check out the interesting video above. Read the rest of this entry »
The Friedrichstadt Palast is one of the most famous of Berlin’s revue theatres and is located in the heart of the Mitte district of the city. Opening in 1867 the theatre has gone through various rebuilds and transitions and the current building dates back to 1984. The theatre hall houses 1895 people and boasts the largest stage in the world spanning a massive 2854 square metres. The space can even feature a pool with 140000 litres of water and an ice surface making it ideal for a host of performances. As the change in entertainment changes with time, the theatre has also evolved and played host to some of entertainments biggest names as well as huge productions including huge fashion launches and award shows. The centre has a behind the scenes tour for visitors see their website for details. There’s also a very chic bar called La Diva which worth a visit to see the amazing décor alone.
A spectacular landmark in the Austrian city of Innsbruck is the Bergiselschanze ski jump on the Bergisel Hill. The huge concrete and glass structure was built in 2001 and the current form was designed by Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid at a cost of €15 million. The actual Bergiselschanze dates back to the 1930’s. There is a cafe at the top which offers amazing views of Innsbruck and the surrounding villages on a clear day. The jump hosts the annual prestigious Four Hills Tournament’ third leg and the mountain has played host to two Winter Olympic Games, the 1964 games and the 1976 games. The Bergisel can be easily reached by the Stubaitalbahn from Innsbruck.
The thought of beer and sausages yesterday made me want to do another Munich story today. So thought I would talk about the National Theatre building which is on Max-Joseph Platz 2. Used as an Opera House it has seating for 2100 people complete with a royal box and circular auditorium. The theatre is home to the Bavarian State Ballet and Bavarian State Opera who hold regular performances at the magnificent venue. It was destroyed in World War II bombing but rebuilt and the current building opened in 1963. The opera house has had a huge list of world premiers including works by Wagner, Strauss to name just two. For visitors not able to take in a show the theatre has hour long tours of the venue which happen most days at 2pm. It is a great chance to see one of the finest opera houses in the world so rich in history and tradition.
Just a short distance from the Munich’s main square the Marienplaz is a fantastic open air market callde the Viktualienmarkt. This market is basically a food market selling all sorts of fresh foods including fish, meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables. But the market is also a great meeting place to enjoy the sausages and beer. And belive me Munich has the best sausages and beer you will find anywhere in the world. It is imposible to stop at one as the they are just so delicious. The market has penty of seating so you can enyoy the festivities, food, drink and atmosphere for hours- not a bad way to fill in a sunny afternoon in Munich. The market opens 6 days a week being closed on Sundays.
Saint Basil’s or the Cathedral of Intercession of Theotokos on the Moat is probably the most known piece of architecture in Moscow. This magnificently coloured cathedral with its onion like domes is one of the world’s great religious buildings. The church celebrates Russian Orthodox and its beginnings date back to 1555 although the vivid colours and architecture were not a feature until the 1680’s and happened in stages over nearly 200 years. The building is meant to be inspired by a bonfire and its architecture is so unique there were no known similarities to it anywhere. It is rumoured that the architect Postnik Yakovlev was blinded by Ivan the Terrible so he would not design anything as magnificent ever again. The building today is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the two other major Moscow landmarks Red Square and the Kremlin. The cathedral has been pretty lucky to survive until today. Napoleon was so taken with the St Basil’s that he wanted to dismantle it and move it to Paris but legend tells he didn’t have the technology or manpower to do it. Unhappy with Russia having it and not Paris he then decided no one should have it and ordered it to be blown up. The story goes a sudden shower extinguished the gun powder fuses and the cathedral was saved. St Basil’s was nearly lost in the 1930’s too. Stalin’s Red Square development team planned to knock the structure down to make way for a new grand square luckily the plan didn’t come to fruition. Read the rest of this entry »
Well forgetting the dope smoking, the canals and of course the tasty Heineken nothing symbolises Amsterdam like the Tulip and no visit to this fascinating European city is complete without a visit to the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. Located at Prinsengracht 112 beside the canal and in easy walking distance of Central Station and many of the major city sights. The museum shop has a wonderful array of bulbs, flowers and everything tulip. There are some lovely souvenirs, books, prints and even specialised gardening tools and equipment. The perfect place to pick up some mementos from Holland for your friends back home. The museum will send bulbs by post overseas but please check with your friendly customs people before ordering to see if there are any restrictions on importing bulbs into your country. Tulip Bulbs are usually available around September through to the end of the year but many other varieties are available at other times.
The beautiful Czech Republic city of Prague has a wonderful tram network which makes visiting the city very easy. The trams in the city date back to 1875 when the trams were horse drawn but today the system is one of the most modern in Europe and covers over 140 kilometres of track and over 900 tram cars. For a real treat look out for the historic no 91 tram which runs over the warmer months. This quaint wooden tram adds a charming and nostalgic addition to Prague’s magnificent old architecture. For people wanting to see some of Prague’s most popular sites then tram 22 is the one for you it passes the Staromestska National Theatre, the Malostranska and offers some amazing views of the Prague Castle and the Pohorelec. The tram network run 24 hours, the daytime timetable runs from 4:30 am to midnight with services about every 10 minutes while the night service runs every 40 minutes.
The Berliner Dom or Berlin Cathedral as we know it, dates back to 1451 although it has been rebuilt several times, with the current building dating back to 1905 which in fact it was severely damaged by World War II and only finally fully restored in 1993 although in smaller and far less grand. The Cathedral is located in Colln and part of the central Mitte Island which houses many of Berlin’s most historic buildings and museums. Today the cathedral’s magnificent dome stands 115 metres and the building is 114 metres long. It is built from Silesian Sandstone. Many visitors come to the Dom to see the beautiful mosaics and the Sauer’s Organ. For those wanting to see the view from the top of the dome there is a 270 step climb which is well worth the effort for the amazing sight.