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Archive for germany

City of Dragons

By Linda Tancs

Bavaria’s Furth im Wald is the site of the Drachenstich (Slaying of the Dragon), the oldest traditional folk festival in Germany. Dating back 500 years, the spectacle includes a re-enactment of the slaying of a mythical dragon that threatened the town in the Middle Ages. And what a dragon it is. The four-legged walking robot measuring nearly 50 feet is the biggest in the world (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records), spewing fire and ambling amongst costumed locals, horses and medieval knights. The festival begins tomorrow and ends on August 20.

Steel, Beer and Coal

By Linda Tancs

Dortmund, the largest city in Westphalia, lies on the eastern edge of the Ruhr in Germany’s historic Hellweg corridor. Once home to a thriving steel and coal industry, its industrial heritage is barely evident in the thriving tech-driven city seen today. That small army of industrial workers also meant there was plenty of thirst to quench; Dortmund became one of the largest beer producers in the world. Visitors can learn all about the triad of industrialization in the region by visiting the Brewery Museum on Steigerstraße 16.

The Historic Center of Clockmaking

By Linda Tancs

At the German Clock Museum in Furtwangen you’ll journey through time. The Black Forest venue, appropriately located in the center of clockmaking, recounts time measurement tools from all periods leading up to the atomic clock. Its exhibitions (the nation’s largest clock collection) feature foreign clocks, quartz clocks, everyday timekeepers and, of course, the region’s best known export, the cuckoo clock. Ever wonder why the little bird is in a miniature house? All will be revealed.

Into the Woods in Westphalia

By Linda Tancs

Arnsberg Forest Nature Park forms one of the largest contiguous wooded areas in Germany. Located in North Rhine-Westphalia, the 186-square-mile expanse offers visitors hours of walks along well-established paths. It’s easy to understand why it’s one of the most popular recreation areas in the region, with attractions like the Bilstein Caves in Warstein, the Beaver Trail in Rüthen and Lake Möhnesee, the largest reservoir in the area and a water sports hub. If it’s the sheer beauty and quiet of nature you seek, then the Sauerland Forest Route’s 149 enchanting miles will surely not disappoint.

Swinging in Germany

By Linda Tancs

Germany’s longest rope suspension bridge is a relatively new tourist attraction, having opened in October last year. The pedestrian bridge spans Geierlay canyon between the towns of Mörsdorf and Sosberg near the border with Luxembourg. The 1,200-foot-long bridge sits nearly 300 feet above the canyon floor, offering thrill seekers dizzying yet picturesque views of the forested valley. The footbridge complements the area’s hiking trails.

Germany’s August City

By Linda Tancs

Reputedly Germany’s oldest city, Trier is quite august. Founded as Augusta Treverorum in 16 B.C. during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, its Roman heritage is omnipresent. You’ll find the famous Imperial Baths where the Romans went to relax, remnants of the St. Barbara Roman Baths from the second century and the Roman Bridge, which is still part of a main road into the city. And don’t forget the iconic Porta Nigra, the tallest Roman gate north of the Alps, measuring 98 feet high, 71 feet wide and 118 feet long. It’s one of the city’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The Spa of Kings

By Linda Tancs

Kissing the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands, Germany’s Aachen enjoys a distinctive history. This is where Charlemagne (Charles the Great), founder of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled in the eighth century. He’s buried in the cathedral, Germany’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site and the coronation church for more than 30 German kings. Other royalty have flocked to this ancient locale as well, a Roman military spa town dubbed the Spa of Kings. Indulge yourself with a princely treatment at Carolus Thermen spa, where they serve Printen, a local spicy biscuit, fresh from the ovens that heat the sauna.

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