» City Impressions «
Every city shows traces of its mostly eventful history in some form or other. In hardly any city is this as visible as in Venice. In every corner you can feel the glamour and transience of its past. With others, one immediately associates a particular event. Who doesn't think of Berlin when the fall of the Wall is mentioned? All these things contribute to the self-image of the residents and a wonderful cultural diversity.
Square of 9th Novembers 1989 (former border crossing Bornholmer Straße)
On 09th of Nov.1989 Guenter Schabowski said in a live broadcast press conference that from now on the citizens of the GDR were free to travel. As a result, more and more people gathered here at the border crossing to visit the western part of Berlin. After Harald Jaeger, the head of the border crossing, had received no official instructions, he opened the border at around 11:30 pm and stopped all checks on persons. With this he initiated the opening of all GDR border crossings.
Today, there is a small memorial here with remains of the Berlin Wall, information panels and photos from that night.
According to legend, Barcelona was founded under the name Barkenon by Hamilkar Barkas, the father of Hannibal, around 230 BC. Afterwards, however, Iberia fell more and more under Roman influence. The Romans were followed by Germanic tribes, Visigoths, Moors and, in 801, Christian princes. Until the discovery of America, Barcelona grew in importance as a trading centre with a large merchant fleet. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that a new economic upswing began. The organisation of a World's Fair for 1929 was accompanied by an expansion of the urban area. While the Plaça d'Espanya is being built below, the Palau Nacional (now the National Art Museum of Catalonia) is being built above. Here we are in between, in Plaça de Josep Puig i Cadafalch, named after the architect responsible for the World's Fair.
The Atomium is the modern landmark of the Belgian capital. Built on the occasion of the Expo 1958, this model of a molecule consisting of nine atoms symbolises the atomic age.
Today, Brussels is known primarily as the seat of the EU administration. Hardly any other European capital is better suited for this. With reference to human dignity, the mayors of the 19 Brussels municipalities as well as the police refused to bow to inhuman orders of the Nazi dictatorship.
Right next to the Capitolio from the 1920s is the Gran Teatro de La Habana with its many balconies and turrets in lavish splendour.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Cuba was officially independent, but de facto completely dependent on the USA. Large parts of the Cuban economy are in American hands and lead to a rich upper class. They indulge themselves in magnificent palaces and in 1914 renovate the Gran Teatro de La Habana, built in 1838. More and more, Havana becomes a destination for US tourists and a refuge for mafia bosses. Their business models were based on gambling, prostitution and alcohol, among other things (especially during Prohibition from 1929 to 1933 in the USA). As the Mafia's influence grows, the government becomes more and more corrupt. The population becomes impoverished and begins to fight back. Under Batista, who becomes president in 1954 with the support of the mafia boss Meyer Lanski, the situation worsens. The movement around Fidel Castro gains more and more support and leads to Batista's flight and Castro's assumption of power in January 1959.
More panoramas from CUBA
After the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, his troops went looting through the capital of the fallen Byzantine Empire. That same afternoon, the sultan entered the Hagia Sophia, which was already more than 900 years old, and said his prayers. From then on, the church served not only as a mosque until 1935, but also as a model for the great Ottoman master builders. A good 150 years after the conquest, Sultan Ahmed I had the Blue Mosque built opposite the Hagia Sophia. Between the two buildings is the Sultan Ahmed Park with a fountain in its centre. In fine weather, this is a popular place to meet and enjoy life.
Not far from the mouth of the Rio Tejo into the Atlantic Ocean stands the Monument to the Discoverers (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) in the Belem district. Completed in 1960, it is dedicated to those personalities who played a decisive role in the age of the Portuguese discoveries. Henry the Navigator stands at the top of the monument. Although he did not undertake any voyages of discovery himself, he initiated and promoted them. With him, Portugal's rise to a maritime power began in the first half of the 15th century.
More panoramas from LISBON
Directly above the Scoop, an event location for cinema, music and open-air theatre performances, you are surrounded by modern office buildings. At the same time you can see Tower Bridge and the "Tower" on the north bank of the Thames. To the west of the Tower, various skyscrapers grow higher and higher into the sky.
The Hofgarten in Munich is located between Odeonsplatz and the Bavarian State Chancellery. For Germany's most densely populated city, parks like this play an important role as a local recreation area. In summer, this is a popular place to sit in the beer garden next to Odeonsplatz, play boules or dance in the Diana Temple in the middle of the garden.
When one thinks of Palermo, one quickly thinks of the crimes of the Mafia. Fortunately, those times are over. Under Leoluca Orlando, who was first elected mayor in 1985, the city was developed socially and culturally. His successful fight against the mafia made Palermo officially the safest city in Italy in 2019.
Here in Piazza Bellini, in front of the churches of Santa Maria dell Ammiraglio and San Cataldo, you are surrounded by the influences of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Baroque and other cultures. As the capital of a fertile island between Africa and Europe, Palermo has been culturally enriched from all sides.
On the south-eastern tip of Île de la Cité is the memorial to all the people sent to extermination camps by the Nazis from the greater Paris area. About 150m to the west is Notre Dame Cathedral, which was badly damaged in a major fire on 15 April 2019. This panorama was taken three and a half months later.
In July 1942, more than 13,000 Jews were locked up in a bicycle race track and then transported to concentration camps. Among them were over 4,000 children, none of whom survived.
The Old Town Square in the centre of Prague was originally the large marketplace of a lively trading centre on the Vltava River. Several villages on this side and on the other side of the river grew together to form a city. In the middle of the 14th century, the city became not only a political centre, but also a scientific and cultural centre with the founding of Central Europe's first university.
In the early evening, the Old Town Square with the Jan Hus Monument in its centre is still full of people. Surrounded by Gothic and Baroque town houses, it attracts thousands of visitors every day. The Gothic Teyn Church with its two 80m high towers on the east side of the square is still illuminated by the sun.
Founded in 1201 by a bishop from Bremen, its company included many merchants. Under the first settlers, Riga quickly developed into an important trading city and joined the Hanseatic League very early on. The rulers of Riga changed until the city fell to the Russian Tsar in 1721. As an important Baltic port, Riga grew to over 250,000 inhabitants by the end of the 19th century. The wealth of the inhabitants of that time is reflected in the magnificent Art Nouveau facades that were built until the beginning of the First World War. After the end of the war, Latvia declared itself an independent republic, but became part of the Soviet Union again in 1940. It was not until 1991 that Latvia regained its independence with Riga as its capital.
Here on Cathedral Square is St. Mary's Church (Riga Cathedral), consecrated just 10 years after the city was founded, and opposite it is the old stock exchange (house number 6).
They were refugees who settled on the marshy lagoon islands in the 5th and 6th centuries. The difficult conditions found there required a community based on cooperation and creative solutions for life in the sea. Thus, an oligarchy with an elected head developed. Venice had its greatest importance at the beginning of the 15th century. With the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan, a powerful competitor in the Mediterranean grew stronger. The discovery of America in 1492 and of the sea route to India a little later cut Venice off from world trade. Political and economic decline are thus sealed. What remains is a dream of art, culture and lavish splendour.
Late afternoon at the Canal Grande (Fondamenta Cavalli) with the Rialto Bridge in the last light of the sun. The position of the panorama is a jetty between Palazzo Corner Martinengo (right of the jetty, 16th century) and the Palazzo Ca' Farsetti (left, 13th century).
More panoramas from VENICE
This place at the confluence of the Vilnia and Neris rivers was already inhabited in the Stone Age. However, the legend of the founding of the town around 1320 goes back to a dream of Prince Gediminas. Vilnius was first mentioned as the Lithuanian capital in 1323. Threatened by colonial efforts of the Crusaders from 1365, Lithuania allied itself with Poland and was able to defeat them in 1410. This was followed by a period of cultural and economic prosperity until Lithuania's unification with Poland in 1599. In the middle of the 17th century, there was a Russian occupation and, during the Nordic War (1700-1721), repeated Swedish plundering. With the third partition of Poland in 1795, Poland-Lithuania was wiped off the map and Vilnius fell to Russia. Vilnius only became the capital of an independent Lithuania again in 1918, but was occupied by Poland in 1920 due to Polish claims. During World War II, Vilnius was first occupied by the Red Army, then by the Wehrmacht, and after the war it was annexed by the USSR until it declared itself the capital of an independent Lithuania again on 11 March 1990. Today it is a lively city with a rich heritage and a large baroque old town.
Evening in the town hall square.
Here, in front of the monument for the heroes of the uprising in the ghetto, the kneeling of Willy Brands took place on 07.12.1970. This gesture, which is internationally seen as a request for forgiveness for the crimes of the Nazis, helped as a strong symbol in the relaxation between East and West. Opposite is the Museum of the History of Polish Jews - POLIN.
In times when nationalism, racism or religious extremism seem to more and more people to solve their problems and worries, we must not forget the inhuman abyss this leads to: Until the invasion of Poland by the inhuman German Nazi regime in 1939, the Jewish community of Warsaw had about 350,000 members. In the so-called ghetto, they were crowded together by the Nazis from the beginning of October 1940. The other residents had to leave their homes. In addition, there were more and more Jews from other areas, so that the population grew to about 500,000. In mid-November 1940, a wall closed off the area and the people were hardly supplied. Diseases and epidemics spread. The dead piled up in the streets. In July 1942, the Nazis began to disband the ghetto. At that time, a quarter of the population, more than 100,000 people, had already fallen victim to the terrible conditions. Gradually, the inhabitants were taken to extermination camps to murder them. After only about 65,000 people lived in the ghetto at the beginning of 1943, the Jewish combat organization ZOB started an uprising on April 19, which had been violently suppressed until mid-May. Survivors were shot immediately or taken to an extermination camp and their residential buildings destroyed.