Blub swimming and leisure center – Berlin

A lost waterpark sits in the Britz area of Neukölln district in Berlin, Germany, or, at least, what remains of it. The place seems to be inhabited only by rats now, and all they wanted was to swim and frolic like anyone else, even if today the place is totally destroyed. And, It seems, that the problem of people was only rats and the thought of peaceful coexistence never even occurred to them. Allegations were made, with accusations and threats. Gangs of youths took over the pools, scared other people…

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Berlin: The Return of the Cows

Dietrich-Bonhoeffer Strasse is a quiet street in Berlin, which lies on the lively edge of gentrified Prenzlauerberg’s encroachment into Friedrichshain. If you are in the splendid German capital, apparently there aren’t many reasons to visit an otherwise ordinary street. However, Sergej Dott’s whimsical public art installation, “Die Rückkehr der Kühe” (literally “The Return of the Cows”) just might make it worth the trip. Halfway down the block, if you peer into the empty lot (currently a building site) and look up, you’ll see a green field full of larger-than-life cows…

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16# Traditional German Weihnachtsgans – the Christmas Goose

Christmas season in Germany conjures different things: winding and pictoresque Weihnachtsmärkte, seasonally draining wallets or St. Nick and terrifying (at least in Bavaria) counterpart Krampus. One thing, however, a German Christmas should always conjure: delicious food, and plenty of it! Crispy goose, gingerbread or sugar-covered raisin cake: good food belongs to German Christmas celebrations as much as the Christmas tree. And many traditional dish dates back to medieval times or even earlier. Before they adopted Christianity, Germanic peoples celebrated winter solstice around the same time as Christmas and meals were…

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1950s Berlin: Photographs of a destroyed city

Berlin, 1956. About ten years have passed since the end of the Second World War, and Germany was at the beginning of a reconstruction, first architectural and then political, which would have lasted decades. Berlin was the capital of the German Democratic Republic (DDR), a city divided into two blocs between the West and the East, which from August 13, 1961, will also be physically divided by the Berlin Wall. While in the West began what was called the “Wirtschaftswunder”, the German economic miracle at the base of the flourishing…

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The entrance of Bockenheimer Warte Subway Station of Frankfurt: a tram crashing into the sidewalk!

Try to imagine a scene in a Marvel movie in which the Hulk has picked up a tram car and rammed it into the sidewalk. That’s kind of what the entrance to the Bockenheimer Warte subway station looks like! The Bockenheimer Warte subway station is an important interchange station to the west of Frankfurt’s city center. Although inside it is similar to many others around Germany and the world, it is very easy to spot from above ground because the entrance looks like a tram car half buried in the…

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Street artist Megx painted german bridge to look like giant LEGO Bricks

While driving through the outskirts of Wuppertal in the Rhine-Rhur metropolitan region of Germany, drivers are wont to stare in disbelief the a giant multicolored cluster of Legos hovers from a bridge overhead. Although the visual effect is exactly this, in reality the bridge is (obviously) made of concrete and steel. These Legos are actually the product of more than a century of locomotive history: the Wuppertal Northern Railway was constructed in 1879 to compete with the adjacent BME line for train passengers crossing through Wuppertal, Germany. But the BME…

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The German couple which traveled for 26 years, through 179 countries along 550 thousand miles with a Mercedes G-Class

If Gunther Holtorf had a lengthy career with Lufthansa beginning in 1958, in 1989, he left his job to take an on-the-road journey. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the man and his wife Christine left for a 26-year road trip through 179 countries along 550,000 miles (885,139 km). The couple had originally planned to spend only 18 months outside their Germany, to visit the African countryside in his on their Mercedes-Benz 1988 G-Wagen nicknamed “Otto”, but that one-and-a-half year leisure time has at the end turned into a…

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Roter Franz, the Mummy with Hair, Beard and Red Eyebrows

Roter Franz is the mummy of a young man found in the Bourtanger swamp, on the border between Holland and Germany, in 1900. Also known as “Neu Versen Man”, the nickname derives from the color of beard, hair and eyebrows, completely red, coloring due to the presence of acids in the peat bog. The man, who died between 25 and 32 years of age, lived between 220 and 430 AC, when he was killed by a deep cut in the throat, of which the signs remain in the soft mummified…

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Götz von Berlichingen: the legendary German Knight of the Iron Hand

Götz von Berlichingen was born in Germany around 1480, around the time that even those belonging to families of the small nobility with few means, like him, very often became soldiers of fortune, in the pay of the highest bidder. Before his 17 th birthday, von Berlichingen it seems that to have enlisted in the army of Brandenburg-Ansbach, and was in the service of the Holy Roman Empire for the two following years. At the age of 20, von Berlichingen is said to have stopped serving the Emperor, and assembled…

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The Frankenstein Castle where the Alchemist who inspired Mary Shelley was born.

The Frankenstein Castle, near Darmstadt in Germany, looms over the surrounding countryside since many centuries. The area was colonized by the Franks in the 6th century, and some of them were called Frankenstein (the stone of the Franks). The castle was built in the 13th century, and during the Middle Ages saw many Frankenstein knights enlist, one of whom went to fight against Vlad the Impaler, commonly known as Dracula. Throughout the history of the Castle, his strangest resident was probably Johann Konrad Dippel, a writer, preacher, theologian, mad scientist…

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The Third Wave: a curious Experiment about Nazism

The images of Berlin, devastated by the Second World War, can induce what was the recurring question in the years following the end of the conflict: how did the Germans not to realize the Holocaust, planned and accomplished by the Nazi regime? Nobody knows, let alone the Germans themselves, who in the immediate post-war period preferred to do a work of removal rather than a critical analysis. How can a person, even in a very short time, create from nothing a movement based only on his ability to fascinate and…

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Donauquelle: the great Danube river starts here.

The start of the great Danube, which flows over 2,700 kilometers, through 10 countries, before to flows into the Black Sea, can be found in the small german town of Donaueschingen. Donaueschingen is a pretty old town, located about an hour and a half drive from Stuttgart and its most famous tourist attraction is the Donauquelle, the source of the Danube, “Donau” in German, marked by a charming small blue pool of water. The basin is framed by wrought iron fence and a group of allegorical statues sculpted by Adolf…

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King Frederick William I of Prussia and his “obsession”…

King Frederick William I of Prussia, also know as “The Soldier King”, was undoubtedly a leader, skilled to running his country’s economy and the military. During his reign, between 1713 and 1740, he transformed the army of about 30,000 poorly-trained troops he inherited from his father, Frederick I, into a terrible army with over 80,000 strong soldiers. Next, it would become one of the most strong forces in all of Europe, expanding Prussia’s territories and transforming the German state into an European powerhouse. But there was another regimen of soldiers…

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Klever Gate: the towers that defied demolition, now a fairytale vacation rental.

A story with a happy ending that of these incredible tenacious 14th-century towers survived of a demolition and now a fairytale vacation rental. Built in 1393, these are the last medieval city gates in the historic city of Xanten, on the banks of the River Rhine. They’re so well-built that a demolition attempt in the 19th century failed to raze them. The two towers were built by the cities of Kleve and Cologne, which shared administrative responsibility for Xanten in the 14th century. Once they were joined together by a…

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Mauthausen concentration camp and the Stairs of Death.

The Mauthausen concentration camp, located about 20 kilometers east of the city of Linz in Upper Austria, was one of the largest labor camp in the German-controlled part of Europe, and between 1938 and 1945 had a central camp near the village of Mauthausen, and nearly one hundred other subcamps located throughout Austria (and southern Germany). It had the most brutal detention conditions, and was classified “Grade III”, where the most political enemies of the Reich were sent to be exterminated, often after a terrible forced labor. The SS called…

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Schwellenpflug: the “Rail Wolf” used by Germans in retreat.

The bitter-sweet relationship of Stalin’s Russia and Third Reich had shaped the European theatre of the Second World War, and Adolf Hitler was undoubtedly the most ambitious dictator since Napoleon, a bit more ambitious and surely more ruthless. If Hitler hadn’t been so greedy and didn’t start the assault on Russia, the things probably would have turned out to be pretty different, at least for the Europe of the Second World War. Underestimating Russian resilience and over-estimating the military might of German Army, Hitler decided to faced the grim consequences,…

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The Pied Piper: the creepy medieval mystery behind one of the most popular Children’s Tale.

Every summer Sunday in the city of Hamelin, actors gather in the old town center to pay homage to a strange, enduring tale. The “Pied Piper” (or “the Piper of Hamelin”) is one of the most famous classic fairy tales all over the world. Despite its great diffusion, only a few people have studied the genesis of this story, probably for the habit of considering it harmless, only a fairy tale, and for this without any reference to reality. The most recent children’s story (the version of 1857) tells that…

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Burg Eltz: A great medieval castle owned by the same family for over 800 Years.

The burg Eltz is a majestic castle located on the top of a rock within a small wooded valley in western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Probably for luck or strategy, we don’t know the reasons, the castle has been mostly spared from the ravages of war, in fact it is also famous for being one of the few German castles on the left side of the Rhine river to have been left unscathed over the centuries. Probably one of the reason is that the Elzbach River, a tributary on the…

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Burg Hohenzollern, one of the most visited castles in Germany.

Hohenzollern Castle, in German Burg Hohenzollern, is the ancestral abode of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. Swabian counts and princes, the kings of Prussia and even the German emperors have their roots here at Hohenzollern Castle in the heart of Baden-Württemberg between Lake Constance, the Black Forest and Stuttgart. The proud fortress on conical mount Zoller offers majestic panoramic views over more than 100 kilometres which already prompted Emperor William II to say: “The views from Hohenzollern Castle are truly worth the journey”. The first fortress on the mountain was…

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