South of Mainz in Wonnegau is the old imperial and episcopal city of Worms with the cathedral and numerous other Romanesque buildings. The synagogue in Worms’ Jewish Quarter is the oldest Jewish sacred building in Germany. The legendary treasure of the Nibelungen is said to lie near Worms at the bottom of the Rhine. The Nibelungen Museum in Worms is dedicated to this myth, which was sung about in the Nibelungenlied (12th century).
Speyer is home to the largest and most important Romanesque building in Europe, the Imperial Cathedral (11th century), which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crypt is the burial place of eight German emperors and kings as well as numerous bishops. Also worth seeing is the historic old town with the city wall and the Altpörtel city gate, the town hall, the Old Mint and the monastery of St. Magdalena, as well as the Judenhof and the Judenbad from the early 12th century. The Speyer Mikveh is the oldest Jewish ritual bath in Central Europe. The sunny Palatinate with its mild climate, in which almonds, peaches, figs and sweet chestnuts thrive in addition to wine, is also known as “Germany’s Tuscany”.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Germany, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
The old Roman city of Trier is located on the Moselle and 100 km southwest of Koblenz. Trier, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest German city. You should definitely plan a visit to the numerous impressive Roman monuments; the Porta Nigra (the big city gate from the 2nd century), the imperial baths, the basilica, the Roman palace auditorium and the amphitheater are probably the best known. The imposing cathedral, the Gothic Church of Our Lady, the Simeonsstift (cloisters from the 11th century) and the Mathäuskirche are also particularly beautiful. The Church of St. Paulinus was designed by Balthasar Neumann and is one of the most beautiful baroque buildings in the Rhineland. Also worth seeing are the local history museum, the city museum, the city library (famous manuscripts) and the birthplace of Karl Marx.
The Harz mountain range with its nature park is one of the most beautiful hiking areas in Germany. The Brocken, at 1141 m above sea level, is the highest peak in the mountain range. With a length of 110 km and a width of approx. 40 km, the Harz stretches across the federal states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The Harz narrow-gauge railway connects the city of Wernigerode with the Harzquerbahn, including via Drei Annen Hohne, to Nordhausen in Thuringia, which is located in the very south of the Harz Mountains. The climatic health resort of Stolberg, which is often referred to as the “pearl of the southern Harz”, is located near Nordhausen. Beautiful Wernigerode in the north-east of the Harz has a storybook atmosphere. The beautiful town of Quedlinburg with many lovingly restored half-timbered houses is located on the northern edge of the Harz Mountains. The old town has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. From Eisfelder Talmühle you can take the Selketalbahn via Harzgerode to Quedlinburg. The Brockenbahn runs from Drei Annen Hohne via Schierke to the Brocken. Popular ski slopes are the Wurmberg in Braunlage, the Sonnenberg and the Matthias-Schmidt-Berg near St. Andreasberg as well as Torfhaus and the Bocksberg in Hahnenklee.
In 1517, Luther nailed his “95 theses against the sale of indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Lutherstadt Wittenberg in Saxony-Anhalt, thereby initiating the Reformation in Germany. Numerous magnificent buildings from the 16th century, Luther’s house, Melanchthon’s house, the castle church and the buildings of the former university bear witness to the city’s importance over the centuries. The Luther sites in Wittenberg are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The oldest city gate in Thuringia is in Eisenach, the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Romanesque Nikolaikirche is also worth seeing. In the Wartburg, which towers over the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Martin Luther sought refuge as Junker Jörg and translated the New Testament into German.
The university town of Weimar in Thuringia looks back on a thousand-year history and is proud of its rich cultural heritage. The old residential town experienced its heyday at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. Goethe lived here for 50 years and influenced the fortunes of the city as a civil servant, theater director and last but not least as the greatest German poet. In the National Museum, which was set up in Goethe’s former home, you can walk in the footsteps of the Privy Councilor. A Goethe and Schiller archive is available for those interested in literature. Bach was court organist and court concert master in Weimar, while Liszt and Richard Strauss were conductors here. The site of the former Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, where over 56,000 people died,
Kassel, the beautifully located center of northern Hesse, is a modern city. A visit to the Brothers Grimm Museum is not only interesting for children. The baroque Wilhelmshöhe with Hercules, Kassel’s landmark, and its beautiful mountain park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wilhelmshöhe Castle is located in the Bergpark and houses a collection of paintings by the Old Masters, among others. Kassel is the scene of the »documenta«, one of the most important exhibitions of international avant-garde art, which takes place every five years.