The European continent was named after beautiful Phoenician woman called Europa.


When Zeus have seen Agenor's daughter Europa gathering flowers he immediately fell in love with her.

Places that I've seen and I like

There are a lot of cities and nice places in Germany, many of them having profound significance in the history of Germany and some in the history of the whole Europe. I will describe only these that I have visited myself, thus you may not find many very interesting cities and sites. But this only means that I was not there.

The places and sites are described on a few pages and put in the alphabetic order. Almost all photographs are taken by me using my amateur Panasonic camera.

Schwarzwald with Freudenstadt, Speyer, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden


The Black Forest (German: Schwarzwald) is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 meters. The region is almost rectangular with a length of 200 km and breadth of 60 km; hence it has an area of approximately 12,000 km2. The name Schwarzwald, i.e. Black Forest, goes back to the Romans who referred to the densely forested mountains where the dense growth of conifers blocked out most of the light inside the forest.

Schwarzwald panorama 1 Schwarzwald panorama 2
Schwarzwald panorama 3 Schwarzwald panorama 4

The Black Forest consists of a cover of sandstone on the top of gneiss and granites. Formerly it shared tectonic evolution with the nearby Vosges Mountains. Later during the Middle Eocene a rifting period affected the area and caused formation of the Rhine valley. During the last glacial period of the Würm glaciation, the Black Forest was covered by glaciers; several lakes such as the Mummelsee are remains of this period.

Schwarzwald panorama 5 Schwarzwald panorama 6
Schwarzwald panorama 7 Schwarzwald panorama 8

Rivers in the Black Forest include the Danube which originates in the Black Forest as the confluence of the Brigach and Breg rivers and the tributaries of the Rhine; the Enz, the Kinzig, the Murg, the Nagold, the Neckar, the Rench, and the Wiese. The Black Forest is part of the continental divide between the Atlantic Ocean drainage basin drained by the Rhine and the Black Sea drainage basin drained by the Danube.

Schwarzwald panorama 9 Schwarzwald panorama 10
Schwarzwald panorama 11 Schwarzwald panorama 12
Schwarzwald panorama 13 Mammelsee Schwarzwald panorama 14 Mammelsee hotel

The forest mostly consists of pines and firs, some of which are grown in commercial monoculture. Similar to other forested regions, the Black Forest has had areas that were decimated by mass logging. The main industry is tourism. In addition to the towns and monuments noted below, the Black Forest is crossed by numerous long distance footpaths, including some of the first to be established. The European long-distance path E1 crosses the Black Forest following the routes of some of the local long-distance paths.

Scwarzwald panorama 15 Scwarzwald panorama 16
Waterfalls 1 Waterfalls 2

For drivers, the main route through the region is the rapid A5 (E35) motorway, but there is a variety of sign-posted scenic routes such as the Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse 60 km from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt, Schwarzwald Tälerstrasse 100 km to the Murg and Kinzig valleys or Badische Weinstrasse 160 km, a wine route from Baden-Baden to Weil am Rhein offers calmer driving along high roads. The last is a picturesque trip starting in the south of the Black Forest going north and includes numerous old wineries and tiny villages. Another, more specialized route is the 'Deutsche Uhrenstraße', a circular route which traces the chronological history of the region.

Waterfalls 3 Waterfalls 4
Grazyna in Schwarzwald Maciek in Schwarzwald

The Black Forest is the region where a cuckoo clock was originated. Also the Black Forest ham has originated from this region, and so, by name and reputation at least, did the Black Forest Cake. This cake is also known as the "Black Forest Cherry Cake" or "Black Forest Gateau" and is made with chocolate cake, cream, sour cherries and Kirsch.


Freudenstadt is a town in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany, 36 km to east from Offenburg and 54 km to the west from Reutlingen. It is the capital of the district Freudenstadt.

Freudenstad markt Restaurant Tower Rathuis

The city lies on a high plateau at the east edge of the north Black Forest, and is well-known for its fresh air. Its city centre is famous as the largest market place in Germany. After Horb, it is the second largest city of the Freudenstadt district. The city has an administration partnership with the communities Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach and Seewald.

Freudenstad panorama City entrance
Markt plaatz 2 Marktplaatz 3
Handel Hall Marktplaatz 4

Freudenstadt is a climatic health resort of international renown. In the 19th and 20th centuries, famous visitors included George V of the United Kingdom, the Queen of Sweden, John D. Rockefeller, and even the American writer Mark Twain. With its many hotels and guest houses, and its high-class cuisine, Freudenstadt remains a popular vacation spot for Germans from every part of the country. Among the many famous Germans who considered Freudenstadt a second home this was the justice inspector Friedrich Kellner whose WWII diary is the subject of a Canadian documentary.

Freudenstad church Restaurant in the winter
Freudenstad church seen from the park Rathuis
Marktplaatz 5 Railway station Freudenstad

The city is remarkably young as for the German standards. The building of Freudenstadt was ordered by the duke Frederick of Württemberg in 1599. The designer was architect Heinrich Schickhardt. He made several trips to Italy, first in 1598 where he studied Renaissance architecture, and a second between 1599 and 1600 where he became interested in the technical aspects of garden architecture. He built then Freudenstadt in a Renaissance style. The city plan reminds a hopscotch pattern, the game played by school children.

Statue on the Grand market Library
Huizen bij Freudenstad Freudenstad church

Interesting places to see in Freudenstadt are:


Speyer is a city of Rhineland-Palatinate with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located beside the river Rhine, Speyer is 25 km south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities. The first known names were Noviomagus and Civitas Nemetum, after the Teutonic tribe, Nemetes, settled in the area. Around the year 500 the name Spira first appeared in written documents. Spire, Spires, Spira, and Espira are still names used for Speyer in the French, English, Italian, and Spanish languages. Speyer is dominated by the Speyer Cathedral, a number of churches and the old gate. In the cathedral, beneath the high altar, are the tombs of eight Holy Roman emperors and German kings.

Gedachtkirche Speyer Gedachtkirche 2
St Jozef kirche St Jozef kirche 2

An important factor for the Speyer is its location on the main European traffic routes along the Rhine. There were only very few locations between Basel and Mainz where banks are high enough to be safe from floods, yet still be close to the river. Several ferries across the Rhine near Speyer in the medieval era bear witness to its importance as a crossroads. 5,000-year-old evidence of permanent agricultural settlements around Speyer shows that these advantages did not escape the attention of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Hallstatt culture and La Tène culture peoples.

Gedachtekirche toren Gedachtekirche toren 2 Jozef kirche toren Luter statue in Gedachte kirche

After the conquest of the Gaul region of Europe by the Romans in 50 B.C. the Rhine became part of the border of the Roman Empire. The Romans erected camps and forts along the river from the Alps down to the North Sea. One of these camps was at Speyer, built before 10 BC for a 500-man–strong infantry group and also intended as a base for further conquests on the east side of the Rhine. This first fort was soon extended by a second one around 10 B.C., its northern wall corresponding with the former southern wall of the old fort.

Toren of Gedachte kirche Old Gate at Speyer
Speyer center 1 Speyer centre 2

These forts existed at least until 74 when the auxiliary troops were moved into the newly conquered territories east of the Rhine. Speyer was no longer a border post and lost its military significance. As of 83 it became a part of the Roman province of Germania superior. The settlement was granted self government and became the capital of the Nemetes area, ‘Civitas Nemetum’, covering the western Rhine plain of the Palatinate and northern Alsace. Around AD 150, the town appeared as Noviomagus (New field) on the world map of the Greek Claudius Ptolemaios.

Gedachte kirche toren 3 Church gevel Jozef kirche toren 3 St Jozef church from the back

In 346 AD Speyer was mentioned for the first time as a diocesan town, the first churches and monasteries were built in the 6th and 7th centuries, among them not only the earliest verifiable church of St. Germain, but also a bishop’s church, of which the patrons saints Maria and Stephen were named in 662/664. The economic basis for Speyer’s bishops were their possessions, substantial estates, customs and ferry levies as well as the prerogative of coinage received in the 10th century. The population change is reflected in the name of Speyer: antique names Noviomagus and Nemetum became medieval Spira, indicating that Latin was no longer spoken. Otto I on his campaign in Italy in 969 granted ecclesiastical immunity to the church and bishops of Speyer including an own jurisdiction, total control of the mint and tolls.

Speyer centre 3 Speyer centre 4
Speyer centre 5 Speyer centre 6

The year 1024 marked a decisive event in the history of the town. In Oppenheim near Mainz Konrad II, a Salian from the Speyer district was elected king of Germany, drawing Speyer into the centre of imperial politics and making it the spiritual centre of the Salian kingdom. In the same year, Conrad II commissioned the construction of the Christian Western world's largest church which was also supposed to be his last resting place. Construction began in 1030 on the site of a former basilica which stood on an elevated plateau right by the Rhine but safe from high water.

Old Stadhuis Speyer Old Stadhuis Speyer with suarrounding
Shoping centre from middle ages Burgerhuis Speyer

Along with Santiago de Compostela, Cluny Abbey and Durham Cathedral, it was the most ambitious project of the time. The red sandstone for the building came from the mountains of the Palatine Forest and is thought to have been shipped down the channelled Speyerbach, a stream running from the mountains into the Rhine at Speyer. Nearly completed, the cathedral was consecrated in 1061. This phase of construction, called Speyer I, consists of a Westwerk, a nave with two aisles and an adjoining transept. The choir was flanked by two towers. The nave was covered with a flat wooden ceiling but the aisles were vaulted, making the cathedral the second largest vaulted building north of the Alps after the Aachen Cathedral. It is considered to be extremely influential in the subsequent development of Romanesque architecture during the 11th and 12th centuries".

Bibliothek 1 Bibliothek 2
Platz around Kathedral Platz around Kathedral

Around 1090, Conrad's grandson, Emperor Henry IV, conducted an ambitious reconstruction in order to enlarge the cathedral. He had the eastern sections demolished and the foundations enforced to a depth of up to eight meters. Only the lower floors and the crypt of Speyer I remained intact. The nave was elevated by five meters and the flat wooden ceiling replaced with a groin vault of square bays, one of the outstanding achievements of Romanesque architecture. The expanded cathedral, Speyer II, was completed in 1106, the year of Henry's IV death. With a length of 134 meters and a width of 43 meters it was one of the largest buildings of its time. The building became a political issue: the enlargement of the cathedral in the small village of Speyer with only around 500 inhabitants was a blunt provocation for the papacy.

Speyer Kathedral front view Speyer Kathedral seen from the south
Speyer Kathedral seen from the north Speyer Kathderal the roof

Timeline of the Speyer during the old period:

Speyer Kathedral view from the south of Speyer Speyer Kathedral seen from the north part of Speyer
Entrance to the Speyer Kathedral Museum of Speyer

Timeline of the Speyer during the modern period:


Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart had in 2008 a population of 600,000 while the great metropolitan area had a population of 5.3. Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills, valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the 'cradle of the automobile'. It nicknamed is the Swabian metropolis, because of the city’s location in the centre of Swabia, and as a reference to the Swabian dialect spoken by its inhabitants.

Stiftskirche Stuttgard Orgels in Stiftskirche
Old Castle Stuttgard Alte Kanzlei
City view in the direction of Wilhelm palace Opera park

Stuttgart lies about an hour from the Black Forest and a similar distance from the Swabian Jura. The city centre lies in a lush valley, nestling between vineyards and thick woodland close by, but not on the River Neckar. Stuttgart covers an area of 207 km2 and the elevation ranges from 207 m above sea level by the Neckar River to 549 m on Bernhartshöhe hill. Stuttgart's coat of arms shows a black horse on its hind legs on a yellow background. It was first used in its current format in 1938; prior to this various designs and colors had been used, often with two horses. The canting seal pictured here reflects the origin of the name 'Stuttgart'. The name in Old High German was 'stuotengarten', relating to the breeding of horses in this place. Thus it is not surprise that the logo of the Porsche automobile company features a modified version of Stuttgart's coat of arms at its centre.

Buillding at Schillerzplaatz Market hall at Stuttgaed
Schillerplaatz with statue of Schiller in the middle Old Kanzlei

The first known settlement of Stuttgart was around the end of the 1st century AD with the establishment of a Roman fort in the modern district of Cannstatt on the banks of the river Neckar. Early in the 3rd century the Romans were pushed by the Alamanni back past the Rhine and the Danube. Stuttgart itself was probably founded around 950 AD shortly before the Battle of Lechfeld by Duke Liudolf of Swabia, one of the sons of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I the Great. The settlement was used for breeding cavalry horses in fertile meadows at the very centre of today's city. A registry from Hirsau Abbey dated around 1160 mentioned confirmation of the existence of the Stuttgart of today. Between this time and the 14th century, the settlement was owned by the Margraves of Baden and the Württemberg towns of Backnang and Besigheim.

Old Castle Old Castle from the west
View from Opera park to the Schillerplaatz View on the Stiftkirche

Around 1300, Stuttgart became the residence of the Counts of Württemberg, who expanded the growing settlement into the capital of their territory. Stuttgart was elevated to the status of city in 1321 when it became the official royal residence. The territory around Stuttgart was known as the County of Württemberg before the counts were elevated to dukes by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1495, when Stuttgart became the Duchy capital and Ducal residence. The name Württemberg originates from a steep hill in Stuttgart, formerly known as Wirtemberg. In the 18th century, Stuttgart temporarily surrendered its residence status after Eberhard Ludwig founded Ludwigsburg to the north of the city. In 1775, Karl Eugen requested a return to Stuttgart, ordering the construction of the New Castle.

Inside the Old Castle Inside the Old Castle 2
Inside the Old Castle 3 Inside the Old Castle 4

In 1803, Stuttgart was proclaimed capital of Württemberg Kurfürstentum (ruled by a Prince-elector) until Napoleon Bonaparte's break-up of the Holy Roman Empire in 1805 when Stuttgart became capital of the Kingdom of Württemberg. The royal residence was expanded under Frederick I of Württemberg although many of Stuttgart's most important buildings, including the Wilhelm Palace, Katharina Hospital, the State Gallery, the Villa Berg and the Königsbau were built under the reign of King Wilhelm I. Stuttgart's development as a city was impeded in the 19th century by its location. It was not until the opening of the Main Station in 1846 that the city underwent an economic revival. The population at the time was around 50,000.

New Castle square New Castle square with Jubilee Column
New Castle south  side New Castle west side
New Castle north side Statue of King Wilhelm I

By 1871 Stuttgart counted 91,000 inhabitants, and by the time Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile in a small workshop in Cannstatt, the population had risen rapidly to 176,000. In 1871, Württemberg, as an autonomous kingdom, joined the German Empire created by Otto von Bismarck, Prime Minister of Prussia, during the unification of Germany. At the end of the First World War the Württemberg monarchy broke down: William II of Württemberg refused the crown – but also refused to abdicate. The Free State of Württemberg was established, as a part of the Weimar Republic. Stuttgart was proclaimed its capital. In 1920 Stuttgart became the seat of the German National Government after the administration fled from Berlin.

Opera park Ingang to the Opera in Stuttgard
Fountains in Killesbergpark Bridge leading to Killesbergpark
Princess palace Daimler Benz Museum in Stuttgard

During World War II, the centre of Stuttgart was almost completely destroyed in Allied air raids. In total Stuttgart was subjected to 53 bombing raids, resulting in the destruction of 68% of all buildings and the deaths of 4477 people. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Stuttgart in April 1945. The French 5th Armored Division captured Stuttgart on 21 April 1945, encountering little resistance. The French army occupied Stuttgart until the city was transferred to the American military occupation zone in 1948. When the Federal Republic of Germany was founded on 23 May 1949, Stuttgart, like Frankfurt, was a serious contender to become the federal capital, but finally Bonn succeeded. In 1952, parts of the former German States of Baden and Württemberg were merged leading to the founding of the new state of Baden-Württemberg, today’s Germany's third largest state.


Wiesbaden is situated on the right bank of the Rhine River, below the confluence of the Main, where the Rhine's main direction changes from north to west. Frankfurt am Main is located about 38 kilometers to the east. The city center lies about 5 kilometers from the Rhine, in wide lowland between the Taunus heights in the north, the Bierstadter Höhe and the Hainerberg in the east. The highest point of the Wiesbaden municipality is located northwest of the city center near the summit of the Hohe Wurzel, with an elevation of 608 meters above sea level. The lowest point is the harbor entrance of Schierstein at 83 meters above sea level. The central square (the Schlossplatz) is at an elevation of 115 meters.

Wiesbaden panorama

The evidence of settlement at present-day Wiesbaden dates back to the Neolithic era. The historical records document continuous occupancy after the erection of a Roman fort in 6 A.D. which housed an auxiliary cavalry unit. The thermal springs of Wiesbaden were famous as recreation pools for Roman army horses and as the source of a mineral used for red hair dye. The Roman settlement was using in 121 AD the name Waters of the Mattiaci. The town also appears as Mattiacum in Ptolemy's Geographia. The present-day Mainz was a base for 2 such Roman legions. The Alamanni, a coalition of Germanic tribes from the north, captured the fort c. 260. Later, in the 370s, when the Romans and Alamanni were allied, the Alamanni gained control of the Wiesbaden area and were in charge of its defense against other Germanic tribes.

Wiesbaden hot spring Drinkable spring
Drinkable spring instructions Drinkable spring 2

After the Franks under Clovis I defeated the Alamanni in the Battle of Tolbiac in 496, the Franks displaced the Alamanni in the Wiesbaden area over the course of the 6th century. In the 8th century, Wiesbaden became the site of a royal palace of the Frankish kingdom. The first documented use of the name Wiesbaden is by Einhard, the biographer of Charlemagne, whose writings mention "Wisabada" sometime between 828 and 830.

Wiesbaden street 1 Wiesbaden street 2
Wiesbaden 3 Wiesbaden markt 1

When the Frankish Carolingian Empire broke up in 888, Wiesbaden was in the eastern half, called East Francia. The town was part of Franconia, the heartland of East Francia. In the 1170s, the Counts of Nassau, Walram I, received the area around Wiesbaden as a fiefdom. When Franconia fragmented in the early 13th century, Nassau emerged as an independent state as part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1232 Wiesbaden became an imperial city, of the Holy Roman Empire. However, in 1242, during the war of Emperor Frederick II against the Pope, the Archbishop of Mainz, Siegfried III, ordered the city's destruction. Wiesbaden returned to the control of the House of Nassau in 1270 under Count Walram II of Nassau-Weilburg. However, Wiesbaden and the castle at Sonnenberg were again destroyed in 1283.

Wiesbaden markt 2 Marktkirche Wiesbaden
Marktkirche inside Marktkirche altar

In 1329, under Adolf's son Gerlach I of Nassau-Weilburg the House of Nassau and thereby, Wiesbaden, received the right of coinage from Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Bavarian. In 1355, the County of Nassau-Weilburg was divided among the sons of Gerlach. The County of Nassau's holdings was subdivided many times among heirs, with the parts being brought together again whenever a line died out. Wiesbaden became the seat of the County of Nassau-Wiesbaden under Count Adolf I (1307–1370), eldest son of Gerlach. It has eventually fallen back to Nassau-Weilburg in 1605. Due to its participation in the uprisings of the German Peasants' War of 1525, Wiesbaden lost all its privileges for over forty years. During this time, Wiesbaden became Protestant. In 1566 the privileges of the city were restored.

Park 1 Park 2
Park 3 Hessisches Staatstheater

The oldest remaining building of Wiesbaden, the old city hall, was built in 1609 and 1610. No older buildings are preserved due two previous city distractions and two fires in 1547 and 1561. In 1648, at the end of the devastating 30 years war, chronicles tell that Wiesbaden had barely 40 residents left. In 1659, the County of Nassau-Weilburg was divided again. Wiesbaden became part of the County of Nassau-Usingen. In 1744, the seat of Nassau-Usingen was moved to Biebrich. In 1771, the Count of Nassau-Usingen has granted a concession for gambling in Wiesbaden.

Kurkhuis park 1 Kurkhuis park 2
Kurkhuis inside 1 Kurkhuis inside 2

As a result of Napoleon's victory over Austria in the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved. On July 12, 1806, 16 states in present-day Germany, including the remaining County’s of Nassau-Usingen and Nassau-Weilburg, formally left the Holy Roman Empire and joined together in the Confederation of the Rhine. Napoleon became its "protector." Under pressure from Napoleon, both County’s merged to form the Duchy of Nassau on August 30, 1806.  At the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the Duchy of Nassau joined the German Confederation. The capital of Nassau was moved from Weilburg to Wiesbaden, and the city became the ducal residence. Building activity started in order to give the city a magnificent appearance. Most of the historical center of Wiesbaden dates back to this time. In 1810, the Wiesbaden Casino was opened in the old Kurhaus. Gambling would later be outlawed by Prussian authorities in 1872.

Kurkhuis Wiesbaden Marktfest Wiesbaden
Kurkhuis square Bierfest Wiesbaden

In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Nassau took Austria's side. This decision led to the end of the duchy. After the Austrian defeat Nassau was annexed by Prussia and became part of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. The deposed duke Adolph of Nassau in 1890 became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. In the subsequent period, Wiesbaden experienced growth as a spa, convention city, and administrative seat. The period around the turn of the 20th century is regarded as the heyday of the city. Kaiser Wilhelm II visited the city regularly in summer, such that it became an unofficial "summer residence". The city was also popular among the Russian nobility. In the wake of the imperial court, numerous nobles, artists and wealthy businessmen settled in the city. Many wealthy persons choose Wiesbaden as their retirement seat, as it offered leisure and medical treatment alike. In 1894, the present Hessian State Theater, designed by the Vienna architects Fellner and Helmer, was built on behalf of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Wedding in Kurkhuis Marktkirche 3 Praline shop Wiesbaden

Lutheran pastor and theologian Martin Niemöller, founded the Confessing Church resistance movement against the Nazis and became an Honorary Citizen of Wiesbaden. He presented his last sermon before his arrest in Wiesbaden's Market Church. General Ludwig Beck of Wiesbaden was one of the planners of the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler. Beck was designated by his fellow conspirators to be future Head of State (Regent) after elimination of Hitler. The plot failed, however, and Beck was forced to commit suicide. Today, the city annually awards the Ludwig Beck prize for civil courage in his honor.

Schlossplaatz Wiesbaden View from Romer tower
Mauritius church Sint Bonifacius church

During the World War II, Wiesbaden was largely spared by allied bombing raids. But between August 1940 and March 1945, Wiesbaden was attacked by allied bombers on 66 days. In the attacks, about 18% of the city's homes were destroyed and approximately 1,700 people lost their lives. According to the US army no more bombarding was needed due to limited military importance of the city. Wiesbaden was captured by U.S. Army forces on March 28, 1945.

Katholische Friedenkirche Die Lutherkirche Roman remainders in Wiessbaden
Russian Orthodox church Die Kathomische Sint Bonifatus kirche Gedächtniskirche in Biebrich

Wiesbaden has long been famous for its thermal springs and spa. Use of the thermal springs was first documented by the Romans. The business of spring bathing became important for Wiesbaden near the end of the Middle Ages. By 1370, sixteen bath houses were in operation. By 1800, the city had 2,239 inhabitants and twenty-three bath houses. By 1900, Wiesbaden, with a population of 86,100, hosted 126,000 visitors annually. Famous visitors to the springs included Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Wagner, and Johannes Brahms. In those years there were more millionaires living in Wiesbaden than in any other city in Germany. Gambling followed bathing en and in the 19th century Wiesbaden was famous for both. Its casino rivaled those of Bad Homburg, Baden-Baden and Monaco. Although in 1872, the Prussian-dominated Imperial government closed down all German gambling houses the Wiesbaden casino was reopened shortly after WWII in 1949.