I (Emily) traveled to Bonn, Germany as a part of a study abroad opportunity. On my first full day there, our class took a historical tour around the city. For a city I had never heard of before this trip, I was pleasantly surprised with how much history and amazing architecture was within the city limits. Below are some of the highlights of the city.
Beethoven Statue in the Münsterplatz
The Beethoven statue was designed by Ernst Julius Hähnel, and was installed on the Münsterplatz in 1845. On each side of it's base you can see symbols that represent the four types of music (at that time): instrumental music, symphonic music, spiritual music and opera. Additionally, that yellow building behind the statue is the old main post office for Germany, and I'm told that this is the most photographed post office in all of Europe. But only because it's yellow facade makes a nice backdrop for Mr. Beethoven, who sits right out in front :)
University of Bonn (Universität Bonn)
Before it was a university, this bright yellow building was once home to one of the Prince-electors of Cologne in the 1700's. Once Bonn was taken by the French Revolutionaries at the end of the 18th century, the Prince-Electors were forced out of their home. In 1818, it became the main building of the University of Bonn. Today it houses the university's administration and the humanities and theology departments
Bonn Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)
The photo seen above is the Old Town Hall (also called Altes Rathaus), which is situated in the market square (or as they say in Germany, "Markt") and was built in the 1700's. During WWII, the structure was badly bombed, so it was reconstructed in 1949 to resemble it's original form. The front of the building has a Rococo style. Many dignitaries have addressed the crowds from the door of this building. Today, the town hall authorities have moved to another section of town, Bad Godesberg.
The pink house that you see here wasn't Beethoven's real home; the house where he was born is actually behind the this one. At some point, the home was in such rough shape, that the city was going to tear it down, but a few people got together and with their money, bought the house and the one next to it (the pink one), and joined them together to make a museum. We got a chance to go through to the other side to see the facade of the original home, but we weren't really allowed to take photos (and I didn't really want to risk my camera being taken away). Beethoven didn't live there long, and for most of his life he lived in Vienna, Austria. After he moved away, he never returned to his original home.
Bonn Minster (Bonner Münster)
Bonn Minster (In German, Bonner Münster) is one of the oldest churches in Bonn. during the 11-13th centuries, the church was built, and became a cathedral for the Archbishopric of Cologne, but now it is only a minor basilica. At the east end, the church has a Romanesque style, while the remainder of the church has a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic elements.
Cassius and Florentius
These two heads represent Cassius and Florentius, who were two Christian Roman soldiers that were stationed at a fortress, Castra Bonnensia (Bonn way back in the day), around 235 AD. They were, however, martyred for their faith. Today, there is no surviving evidence of the original fortress from the first millennium, but archaeologists have discovered that the Bonn Minster stands on the sight of the Roman structure. In 1643, Cassius and Florentius were declared the patron saints of Bonn, and in 2002, the sculptures were created by Iskender Yediler, but paid for by an anonymous donor.
Schloss Drachenburg and Drachenfels Hill
This was possibly one of my favorite places right outside Bonn. About a 45 minute hike up Drachenfels Hill you can view Schloss Drachenburg (a modern day "castle" and view the ruins of a castle. The climb was very steep and seemed to go on for forever, but once my group reached the destination, we quickly realized that it was well worth the climb.
For those of you wondering: drachen translates to dragon.
Other Sites from around Bonn
Haribo Candy Store
The Haribo (an acronym for Hans Riegel, Bonn--the company creator and location) Factory originated in Bonn, Germany, but has since moved to another location.
It's quite common to see people spending their time outdoors, most often with a Kölsch (a brew native to the area) in their hand.
This is a wonderful place to buy produce, have lunch, or just hang out with your friends. This is located right in front of the old town hall.
Biergarten Am alten Zoll
Beer Gardens (Biergarten) are a great place to relax with your friends over drinks, light food, and beautiful views of the Rhine River.
Bear with me through this explanation; my inner architect geek is about to come out.
The DHL Tower acts as the headquarters for the Deutsche postal service. The structure has 40 upper floors and 5 underground floors, making it the 9th tallest skyscraper in Germany. Most everything in the building is made of either glass or steel, allowing them to use the natural sunlight (which lasts from 6:00AM to 21:30) instead of artificial lighting, saving both energy and money. Since the building has no AC or heater, the entire shell of the tower has a double layer of glass, which insulates the building in the winter, and in the summer the slats can be opened to allow a breeze to circulate. Also, water is pumped from the river and runs through pipes all throughout the building to cool down or heat up the structure. Once the water has been cycled through the building, it is returned to a pond outside the facilities where it sits for a few days to return to its normal temperature before being sent back into the river.
Inside the building, you can find several high-speed elevators that move individuals floor to floor in the most efficient way possible. There are no buttons on the inside of the individual elevators except for a door open/close and a call button. Instead, you punch in the number on the solitary key pad outside in the lobby, and a computer calculates which elevator is closest and sends it your way. You are then assigned an elevator (by receiving a specific letter) and that elevator is programmed specifically for you. Once you step into the elevator, you move at a brisk 8 m/second (enough to make your stomach drop) to your floor. I highly recommend taking it from the 40th floor to the ground level :).
Also, you get a spectacular view of the Rhine Valley from the top of the tower!
Most of Bonn is accessible via bus, train (called the bahn), or walking. Trains also run from Bonn to nearby cities like Cologne (Koln), Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, etc. All buses and trains in Bonn stop (at some point) at the Hauptbahnhof, the main station, so you can change buses/trains here or at another point (if the two lines you need cross). Stops for buses and trains will have a round yellow sign with a green H inside it (Haltestelle). Bus and bahn tickets can be purchased here: SWB Bus and Bahn.
The trains can be categorized in two ways: the S-Bahn/tram: “Stadtschnellbahn” (city rapid rail), and the U-Bahn: Untergrundbahn (underground train). Bonn only has S-Bahns, although some run underground for a bit.
Be sure to validating your ticket before you begin using your ticket, or you will be fined! There will be a validation booth called a Entwerter.
Buses- always enter using the front door and exit at the rear door.
You can purchase a bus ticket from the bus driver or before your trip. Make sure your ticket is validated (stamped) before you board or right after you board (there will be a small machine on the bus).
If you need a more in-depth explaination, I have found a website called The German Way to be very helpful!
Accommodations & Lodging
I stayed with a host family during my time in Bonn, so I unfortunately do not have any recommendations to provide.
These were a few of my favorites while I stayed in Bonn:
Eismanufaktur Solo Qui Bonn - ice cream $
Markt - Outdoor market place in the main square $
Vivats Grill - fast food falafel type food (the döner was my favorite!) $
Biergarten Am alten Zoll - Outdoors on the river; casual snacks/light food. $$
BackWerk - A bakery chain filled with delicious baked goods and sandwiches $