The MyGermanCity.com G-ZINE
The MyGermanCity.com G-ZINE — the Germany Magazine — provides you with news, updates and happenings in and around Germany. While saving you valuable time, this e-zine prepares you and sets you up for an unforgettable Germany experience.
Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day)
While German Unity Day is celebrated all over Germany, the best place to be this year is Mainz. More specifically, on the Bischofsplatz. Commemorating the reunification of Germany in 1990, German Unity Day is a totally family friendly affair with dance & theater performances, concerts, live bands, and (of course) food. Honestly it's a tad difficult to contain this much entertainment—so it explains why it's a 2-day affair here in Mainz.
With 165 films from over 50 countries (including France, the United States, and places like Iran, Syria, and the UAE) there's an array of movies that'll tug at your heartstrings—and documentaries that'll do the same. Hamburg's Film Festival website has a synopsis on each movie this year, so stay online and see what this year's award contenders you want to see.
Heinrich Schütz Musikfest
Heinrich Schütz was an early Baroque composer, often called "the most important composer prior to Johann Sebastian Bach". Whatever, doesn't matter, because hundreds of Schütz's pieces still exist—and his music is played in a multitude of venues throughout three federal states. He was born in Bad Köstritz, so where else better to be than in his hometown, right?
Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair)
As an avid book lover, events like this make my heart sing. Books can take you from the far reaches of the universe, and right down to ancient lands. Love stories, cozy murder mysteries, non-fiction—whatever your heart desires can be found here in Frankfurt. What's great is the event isn't just limited to just books, but also information on digital publishing, the writers themselves, and even filmmakers possibly looking for their next blockbuster. Forget that, so many books—not enough time to read them all.
What started out as a 19th century wedding celebration has become one of the world's most famous parties—ain't nothing wrong with that, I must say. Munich somehow manages to bring millions of people together every year to drink, to sing, to dance, and all around merry-making. There's no chance of going hungry with all the food, just as there's no way you come away from this internationally famous festival saying anything less than you've had the time of your life.
Zwiebelmarkt (Onion Market)
The Zwiebelmarkt, as it's called in German, is quite the popular event—attracting over a quarter million people over its three day festival. Maybe you'll get to meet the Onion Queen, or perhaps you'll buy one of those onion bouquets? Who knows, but what's for sure is you'll definitely enjoy yourself not only with the onions, but with the music, and cheering on the runners at the 10km or half marathon. If you've never been to Weimar, this is the time to do it.
Kürbisausstellung (Pumpkin Festival)
Each Pumpkin Festival might have its own theme (this year: Rome), but you'll find this famous festival to be way beyond sculptures made from the gourd. There's storytelling for the kids, plenty of food made from pumpkin, music, artistic pumpkin carving, and even decorated pumpkins to buy. I gotta tell ya, Ludwigsburg is big on the pumpkin—but not sure if I'll ever be brave enough to try a pumpkin burger.
Reformationstag (Reformation Day)
It's hard to contain the excitement, the drama, the overwhelming wonder of this year's Reformation Day. For the last 10 years Germany has offered amazing events and exhibitions leading right up to this milestone moment—so come up to places like Wittenberg, Eisenach, Erfurt, Jena, Naumburg, Zerbst, and Zwickau—and you'll find all sorts of celebrations and exhibitions on this extraordinary anniversary, and learn about an ordinary man who somehow changed the world.
By the way, many of Germany's Luther Decade related events don't just end today; some events will continue on to the end of 2017.
All right, all right, I get it—not all of you out there are Jazz fans. That doesn't mean you can't find something that might strike your fancy at the annual Jazz Festival here in Berlin. This is one seriously popular festival, so it's best if you get your tickets early. Events are held in venues all around town, so you just might find a new spot to love if you've enjoyed this festival in the past.
Actually there are more than just two Oktoberfest events here in the Capital City continuing on into October. Whether you head to the one at the famous Alexanderplatz (ending 10/8), or the one at Kurt-Schumacher-Damm (the largest of them, ending 10/15), you're sure to find a way to live (and drink) like a true local. Eat, drink, be merry, and most of all just enjoy the music and all-around German ambience.
"A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer."
Ok, maybe a little. You see, Bretten lies within a lovely wine making region—so you gander to guess that means you'll find rows of delicate, delicious grapes. Even better there's a Wine Market in September.
Wine isn't the only draw to Bretten, it's Old World flavor means you'll find it to be a historical, too. You see, Bretten is the hometown of Philipp Melanchthon—one of Martin Luther's contemporaries.
Visitors to Bretten will find a lovely museum built over his original house, now it's the second largest museum of Reformation history in all of Germany. The idea of it housing a 10,000 volume library is an additional bonus.
Bretten isn't a one-pony town, it's also home to the Stadtmuseum at the Schweizer Hof. Housed in a quaint half-timbered structure, the museum was once a guesthouse, a distillery, and a brewery.
FYI, speaking of breweries, you'll find a number of pubs (cafes and pizzerias, too) within Bretten's villages.
And along Bretten's Marktplatz there are a number of half-timbered houses to be found. Hey, I did say Bretten has an Old World flavor, didn't I? The oldest of its kind is the Gerberhaus, dating back to the 1580s.
Sadly, much of the town was destroyed by a fire in the late 17th century, so many buildings don't date before then. Like the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), "constructed" in 1689. The Kreuzkirche, or Lutherkirche, is a pretty Baroque church from the 1680s—but we all know it's the medieval ones that catch my attention.
The Stiftskirche fits that bill, now a "Reformed" church, but it's much older as it dates back to around 1350. And let's not forget about old town's fortifications, whose Pfeifer Tower stands 26 meters into the air.
A fun modern-day way to enjoy the Middle Ages would be the Peter & Paul Festival. Held in the summer (on the first weekend after the Feast Day of Sts. Peter & Paul on June 29th), this spectacle has all the magic of a bygone era (with modern facilities).
Of course a town like this isn't limited to just one great festival (oh yea, I already mentioned the Wine Market), but it also hosts events like the Bretten Music Festival (October/November), the Erntedankfest (October), a Craft Market (also October), a November Kerwe, and even a Christmas Market.
In between events you'll find even more stuff to keep you busy. Take the Weekly Market for example. Held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am-1pm, this market is the place to be for fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers.
The kids might like the Tierpark, a petting zoo that's open to the public from March to November. For me I'll take the Nightwatchman Tours, held on the first Friday of even-numbered months. Weird, right?
Other guided tours of Bretten are available, and the nice people at the Tourist Office (located at Melanchthonstraße 3) will help you arrange whatever you're looking for. So whether you're following along for all things Luther related, or stumble upon Bretten on the Bertha Benz Memorial Route—you're definitely going to like it here.
With this month being the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I'd say it's no better opportunity to continue on with Germany's highlighted Luther Routes. Seriously, you think the ruling religious elite just kinda shook their head asking, "Hey, Marty, what are you doing? Ah, do you realize you want to (gasp!) change things? We can't be having that. No free thinkers here."
Well, change things he did. Not only was it just religious, but also political. And here on Route Five, known as Sermons and Imperial Diets: Luther's Travels, is an extensive 1,200km route running from Frankfurt to Berlin that'll give you lots more information.
What is an Imperial Diet anyway? While it might sound like a weight loss fad, it was the legislative body of the Holy Roman Empire. Anyway, religion and politics were not exactly separate back in the 16th century, and Luther had to defend his 95 theses in the city of Worms—to the Emperor himself, believe it or not.
Worms, by the way, is also home to the largest Reformation Memorial on the planet. Definitely worth a look if you're here. Don't confuse this with the largest Reformation Museum in the world in Wittenberg, housed in Luther's former home. And it was here that this whole Reformation thing started at the Schlosskirche when Luther tacked his 95 theses to the door.
As I said, it wasn't just religious. Politics also played a role in the Reformation, so here on Route Five you'll travel to Schmalkalden—a town where the Schmalkaldic League was founded in the 1530s. In the beginning the League's original religious ideals were eventually replaced by political ones.
But, of all the towns you'll find on Route Five, it's probably Nuremberg that deserves a proper shoutout. It was the first city of its kind to accept Luther's Reformation—a huge victory for a man who was excommunicated from the Church.
There's an excellent exhibit here in Nuremberg at the Germanic National Museum (runs until November 12th) known as: Luther, Columbus and the Consequences: A Change of World View in the 16th Century.
Route Six: Vision & Reality is another long route, running some 1000km from Frankfurt to Berlin. Of course Worms is on this route, but also towns like Torgau where Luther's beloved wife, Katharina von Bora, is buried. It also runs along to Bad Hersfeld where Luther preached, and where he met up with the local pastor who is believed to be the first ever married priest. Shocking, right?
The Vision & Reality Route takes you to Eisenach—more specifically Wartburg Castle. Here you can see where Luther translated the Bible into German, bringing God's Word to masses. It only took him a few weeks. That's a man on a mission, wouldn't you say?
Marburg is another stop along this route, home to the first Protestant University. The grand city of Leipzig is yet another must-see, as it's where Luther himself preached at the St. Thomas Church. You might know this famous church for another famous German—Johann Sebastian Bach.
However, as with any special scenic route, there's always one place that never quite gets the recognition it deserves. For me, in this case, it's the town of Halle (Saale). Come walk along the Luther Walking Trail if you wish, but it's also where you'll find Luther's death mask.
Halle is also the hometown of famous composer, Georg Friedrich Handel—and Bach was here for the inauguration of the great organ at the Church of St. Mary. A bonus in Halle is the Nebra Sky Disk, housed in the Regional Museum of Prehistory. It's an amazing prehistoric find dating back over 3,500 years.
That might be three millennia older than Luther's Reformation—but all this history is Good To Know. ;-)
Short 'n sweet, here's what's coming up next in Germany — a preview of the next G-ZINE:
Published by Marcus Hochstadt
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