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Impressions of Southern Germany

The South of Germany consists of two Länder, two of the sixteen administrative regions of which the Federal Republic of Germany is composed. But Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are more than just administrative entities, they have also very outspoken cultural identities of their own, the former with Stuttgart and comprising the extensive Black Forest area of pristine and beautiful mountainous nature, the latter centred around the major cities of München and Nürnberg and changing landscapes as we travel South from the Danube plateau to the first slopes of the Alpine mountain ranges. I know, what is presented here, with the cities of Freiburg, Nürnberg, Regensburg and Passau is far from representative of Southern Germany, but it still does reflect surprisingly much of what these two old 19th century independent Kingdoms stand for, in terms of culture, in terms of old and recent history, in terms of yesteryear commotion over religious strife between Catholics and Protestants, in terms of .. so much more. Beyond that, I can only promise with sincerity and resolve that, on this page, much more is to come as well. Yes, I'll soon have to add this part of Germany to the 'to do' list of my travel agenda... After all, it is not a punishment to come and enjoy the cultural wealth of cities like Heidelberg and Bamberg, alternating it all with the beauty of the crisp, sparkling landscapes between Rhine and Danube, between the Bohemian Mountain range and the lower Alpine slopes.

Before visiting the place of your choice:

The black-and-white footage of ecstatic crowds of Germans waving swastika flags and hailing their Führer, are well known. Most of those images were recorded in Nürnberg, 'promoted' by Hitler and his criminal bunch to be the ideological capital of their 'Nazionalsozialismus' in the 1930s. Hitler chose Nürnberg, capitalising on the discontent of working class Germans in the city which had been the industrial power house of Southern Germany until suffocating economic measures were imposed, mainly by France, on Germany after the Great War. Nazi propaganda meetings had already been orchestrated in Nürnberg since 1927, but in 1933 Hitler ordered the construction of a venue for this specific purpose, the Reichsparteigelände. A megalomania project which was realised only halfway, with a 'Deutsches Stadion' which was to have a seating capacity of .... 400,000 and with a Kongresshalle which was meant to dwarf the Colosseum in Rome. Nothing of it all was ever completed, and what had effectively been built was largely flattened by Allied bombings in January 1945. Later that year, the Allies symbolically set up the trial of 24 Gestapo and SS top leaders in Nürnberg, condemning and sentencing 19 of them. It all could not undo the evil consequences, though, of the 1935 antisemitic laws, first announced by the Nazis in Nürnberg and of all the human misery and material destruction which lashed Europe for years. Today, Nürnberg goes intensely out of its way to promote Human Rights and peace, trying to undo its unholy association with the darkest page of German history.

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