Strasbourg Cathedral stands out, for its unique and delicate structure and its distinctive red sandstone. With its soaring spire, it was the tallest building in the world from 1647 to 1874. “A prodigy of the gigantesque and the delicate,” as Victor Hugo claimed. Strasbourg Cathedral […]
Alsace’s most beautiful city, feels made for wonder-struck tourists — its essentially traffic-free city center is a fantasy of steep pitched roofs, pastel stucco, and aged timbers. Plus, it offers a few heavyweight sights in a comfortable, midsize-town package. Dazzling colors, canals, the wonder of […]
Strasbourg is one of the great historic cities of Europe, and its history is very different from that of Paris.
In the year 840 AD, on the death of the Emperor Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious, the great Frankish “Holy Roman” Empire was split into three parts. West Francia in the west became the heartland of modern France. East Francia in the east became Germany; and between them lay Middle Francia – an area today made up of small states, Luxembourg Belgium, the Netherlands,and Switzerland. Between Luxembourg and Switzerland middle Francia included the duchies of Alsace, Lorraine and Burgundy, which are today part of France. But this was not always the case.
Alsace, and with it Strasbourg, only became French in the 17th century. Alsace was French from 1648 to 1871, but during this time it remained German- speaking. From 1871 until 1919, and again from 1940 to 1944, Alsace was annexed by Germany.
While today the people of Alsace all speak French, the historic Germanic culture of the city of Strasbourg is tangible, and indeed part of the city’s identity. Many signs are written up in both French and Alsatian (a dialect of German), or sometimes just in Alsatian; and signs on many historic buildings are written up using the classically German Gothic script.
As for wining and dining, Strasbourg’s gourmet traditions are quite distinctive, and more German than French. Flammekueche is something between a quiche lorraine and a pizza, and choucroute, sauerkraut in English or German, is a major speciality. Another popular dish is baeckoffe, an oven-baked meat and potato dish. Alsace and Strasbourg are also famous for their pain d’épices, a kind of spicebread or gingerbread, particularly in the runup to Christmas.
For a classic Strasbourg dining experience, visitors have a large number of Alsacian restaurants and Winstubs; the latter are typical Alsace restaurants, mostly furnished with wooden chairs and tables, decorated in Alsace style, and often housed in old half-timbered buildings. They are Alsace’s equivalent of an old fashioned English pub, where people go as much to drink – in this case local Alsace wine – as to eat.
France, officially French Republic, French France or République Française, country of northwestern Europe. Historically and culturally among the most important nations in the Western world, France has also played a highly significant role in international affairs, with former colonies in every corner of the globe. […]
Prague, (Czech: Praha), City of a Hundred Spires, a UNESCO monument and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Prague is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the largest cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries. The city is famous for its unique medieval architecture, the historical centre of Prague is inscribed in the World Heritage List.
The physical attractions and landmarks of Prague are many. Among the finest is the Charles Bridge, which stands astride the Vltava River. The winding course of the Vltava, with its succession of bridges and changing vistas, contrasts with the ever-present backdrop of the great castle of Hradčany (Prague Castle), which dominates the left-bank region of the city from behind massive walls set high on a hill. The Old Town Hall with the famous Prague Astronomical Clock. The winding lanes of the Jewish Quarter, which you know from the novels of Franz Kafka, steeped in the legend of the Golem.
Prague is famous for its cultural life. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived there, and his Prague Symphony and Don Giovanni were first performed in the city. In addition, the lyric music of the great Czech composers Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, and Leoš Janáček is commemorated each year in a spring music festival. The U kalicha (“At the Chalice”) beer parlour, which is still popular with local residents and tourists alike, provided the setting for the humorously antiauthoritarian activities of Schweik, immortalized by the novelist Jaroslav Hašek in The Good Soldier Schweik. The writings of Franz Kafka, dwelling in a different way on the dilemmas and predicaments of modern life, also seem indissolubly linked with life in this city.
Situated in the heart of the Saxon state capital, the Dresden Zwinger ranks among Germany’s most well-known Baroque buildings of Germany and is, apart from the Church of Our Lady, certainly the most famous building monument in Dresden. It accommodates internationally renowned museums and is […]
Dresden, capital of the eastern German state of Saxony, is distinguished by the celebrated art museums and classic architecture of its reconstructed old town. Completed in 1743 and rebuilt after WWII, the baroque church Frauenkirche is famed for its grand dome. The Versailles-inspired Zwinger palace […]
The Dragon Bridge, adorned with famous dragon statues, appears in the most recognizable images of Ljubljana. If you haven’t been photographed next to a Dragon Bridge dragon, you can hardly claim that you have visited Ljubljana. The four dragon statues, which look slightly terrifying and […]