Germany is a land rich in history. Though it’s most famous in recent history for the events of World War II, Germany’s history stretches back long before then. Historical relics can be found dating from hundreds and thousands of years ago. Visitors to Germany can witness many incredible historical sights that bear witness to the many events of the past. Here are some of the absolutely must-see historical sights in Germany.
The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate, located in Berlin, is one of the most famous sites in the country. It was built around 1790 by King Frederick Willing II of Persia. Originally, the Brandenburg Gate was built as an offering of peace. However, over the years it’s taken on many different meanings. In World War II, the Nazis used the Brandenburg Gate as a symbol of power. During the Cold War, the Brandenburg Gate resided in an area between East and West Berlin, under no particular country’s rule or power. Often time’s protesters would use the Brandenburg Gate as the focal point for their gatherings.
Today, the Brandenburg Gate is a go-to destination for people from all around the world. It’s also the gathering point for Berlin’s infamous New Year’s Eve, where over a million people gather every year to witness the fireworks show.
Holocaust Memorial Sites
The Holocaust memorial sites are a dark remnant of Germany’s past. There are a few key memorial sites that history buffs might want to visit.
The Bergen-Belsen was first built as a camp for captured prisoners of war. Three years after its construction, it was turned into a concentration camp. Over 50,000 people died on this site, including the famous Holocaust writer Anne Frank. It now hosts a memorial museum and a monument, both of which are open to the public.
The House of the Wannsee Conference is another famous Holocaust memorial site. This is where General Richard Heydrich gave Hitler’s orders to exterminate the Jews to high ranking Nazi officials. Many believe this is where the Holocaust “started.”
The Berlin wall was the “Iron Curtain” that separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It symbolized not just a split Berlin, but a split Europe. To the west of the Berlin wall were the allied forces, while to the east were the Russian forces. The Berlin Wall was the official split between these two superpowers.
The Berlin wall was primarily erected to keep East Berliners from escaping to the west. East Berlin was run as a pseudo-communist economy, while West Berlin was run as an economically free country. The Berlin wall fell on November 9th.
The Berlin wall is one of the most historically significant monuments from the Cold War.
The Cologne Cathedral is an absolutely epic cathedral located in the city of Cologne. It was built using gothic architecture and took over six hundred years before the construction was fully complete.
The cathedral was built in many steps. Even before construction began, there was already a church on site. When the Shrine of the Three Kings was brought to the church, it was decided that a larger structure needed to be constructed to accommodate this artifact.
Building the Cologne Cathedral took so long in part because of its size, but primarily because of regular interruptions. Today, it stands as one of the world’s most magnificent examples of gothic architecture. It has since become a UNESCO heritage site.
Imperial Baths of Trier
The Imperial Baths of Trier are public baths preserved from the Roman period. What sets these ruins apart from other ruins is the incredible condition in which they’ve been preserved.
The ruins date back to 306 AD, over 1,500 years ago. They’re believed to be the largest bath ruins anywhere in the world, except for Rome itself. In addition to the Imperial Baths of Trier themselves, visitors can also visit many of the surrounding tunnels near the old bath house.
These are some of the many historical sights that Germany has to offer. From World War II history to ancient Rome, Germany has something for every history fan. Make sure to check the opening times and days for these sights, as even though they may be public places, there are still often limitations on visitation hours.
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