Notable mainly because it was rendered a backwater before the place could fall into the hands of ‘Developers’ who would have levelled pretty much everything in sight – and what remains is a remarkably well preserved medieval-renaissance-30 Years War melange …
Actually this is, again, out of chronological order – I visited it between Wurzburg and Nuremberg.
The town has a fairly good museum for such a relatively small place … with, amongst other things, an excellent collection of arms and armour. Some of which were even photographable! Sadly, of course, most were behind glass and badly lit so they were all reflection … what else is new?
Then there was the Deutsche Bahn(German Railway) museum …
… which was actually a Transport & Communications museum as well.
A lot of the indoor stuff was badly lit and behind reflective glass – or, just as bad, was placed in such cramped spaces that you simply couldn’t get a shot of more than a meaningless fraction … and the outdoors stuff, while better lit and not behind glass was also often in such cramped quarters as to make getting any sort of meaningful shot impossible.
Last time I was in Germany I took the train from Munich to Berlin … didn’t have time to do Nuremberg on the way. This time, driving, I *did* …
The site of the Nazi rallies was quite accessible – a tram ride from the central station which, in my case, was a direct line from my hotel on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately, as is all to common, the museum (‘Documentation Centre’) while excellent was full of video clips (not photographable, obviously) and cases full of items so cunningly lit and glassed in as to make them also unphotographable!
I had intended to do a walk around the site (it’s huge) and see some of the remaining structures – but it was raining. Nice weather for the Geese on the lake shore, not so much for any pedestrians.
The City Proper
One of the days I was there I headed off to see the Imperial Castle which overlooks the city (well, the Old city) … and walked through parts of the old historic district …
The Imperial Castle
You know all about Town & Gown with differences between medieval Universities and their local towns? Well, Nuremberg had issues with Town & Emperor … the Imperial Castle overlooking the town was, from time to time, either seen as a threat to the Town’s civic rights or occupied by the town.
Of course, McGregor luck being what it is, most of the exterior was covered in hoarding and scaffolding as they rebuild and refurbish large swathes of the site … and after I’d hiked up this bloody steep hill to get there!
The views from the top, however, were pretty good …
The tour of the interior was, of necessity, only of the interior … but it was pretty good, too
The main palace of the Bishop, the local feudal lord back in the day. It was severely damaged by bombing and fire during WW2 but, right at the end of the war, some of the American Monuments Men (per the movie) actually managed to put a temporary roof over the remnants and pretty much save a lot of it … and lots of reconstruction work has been done on the damaged and even some of the destroyed parts … with lots more to go, of course.
The interiors were OK, but, again, lighting and the ‘no flash’ rules made it impossible to get decent exposure times. Still, there are other places I will Blog about ‘real soon now’ where there were much better conditions!
On the road to Wurzburg (not direct, but along the Autobahns – so much faster, if longer in distance, than the ‘direct’ route, is the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
Most camps in Germany weren’t death camps, per se. That is, they weren’t originally designed to be mass extermination camps … but the conditions there were so harsh that deaths were inevitable. And, of course, as things got worse for Germany and the Final Solution got well and truly under way, things got worse in the ‘not’ death camps.
Buchenwald was originally for political prisoners, but also held Russian POWs, Jews and, well, any number of odds and sods who had the misfortune to either come to the (unfavourable) attention of the Nazi authorities or who were regarded as racially (or other category) ‘undesirable.’
Interestingly, after the end of the war the Russians took it over and continued to operate it as a camp, no less brutal and no less lethal, for their political opponents. And, of course, the DDR followed suit for quite a while.
As it turned out, the Residenz, the main museum in Dresden was closed the day I went to see it … but the Zwinger, the second main museum, was open … or most of it was. The bit with the Old Masters (paintings) was, of course, being refurbished and only a small selection were on display … but since old paintings, by and large, aren’t my particular thing, that wasn’t a big deal.
A proper ruler, at least in Germany, kept good records … and, to create many of those records, he needed many scientific and measuring instruments. One of the sections of the Zwinger contains all of those which belonged to the ruling house.
There were other collections in the museum, including the aforementioned Old Masters (which had nothing I was really interested in photographing) and the Porcelain collection – one of the rulers was a big collector and his descendants hung onto it …
Another museum in Dresden, and more interesting than the other sights, quite frankly. Situated in a partly rebuilt armoury and barracks complex towards the outskirts of the city it covers the German army (Heer) from the middle ages onwards … and pulls no punches …
The big drawcard that was easy to photo (being outside and well lit, of course), was the vehicle park … including the usual West German homegrown stuff as well as their US/European made bits and bobs, but also including a lot of Russian stuff that was used by the DDR’s Volksarmee.
There was a lot more, especially inside, but, as is all to common, the lighting was rubbish and/or seemed to be deliberately placed to reflect off the glass display cases … in both cases making it impossible to actually take usable photos … even with Flash, I suspect (though that wasn’t allowed).
Lots of stuff on the Volksarmee and the Bundeswehr and how they interacted with their allies and civilian populations … all quite interesting, but, again, nothing in the way of written material that you could purchase in the sparse museum shop … not even in German.
The Germans take their military history very seriously. This huge monument was built for the 100th anniversary at huge expense – which isn’t surprising as the structure is massive.
As you will remember, Leipzig was where the anti-Napoleon Grand Coalition came together and trounced the Grand Armee, weakened as it was, both in numbers and morale, after the disastrous Russian Campaign. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and sent to St Helena the next year.
This happened to be on the way … the Museum took up a small part of the prisoner’s wing – the main part of the Castle was the German Kommandatur – Offices, Administration and Barracks for the Guards and their commanders … unfortunately it is now a Youth Hostel and, unless you’re staying there, you can’t go inside … and it’s been completely refitted anyway.
The interior of the place was used as a Mental Hospital by the East Germans and there wasn’t much left of the ‘original’ WW2 fittings even in the prisoner’s wing.
And that, gentlebeings, is all the photos I have downloaded from both cameras so far … there are more on the memory cards and I will get around to transferring them to my laptop and thence, gradually, to this Blog, over the next little while …