Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Europe’ category

Worms’ Holy Sand: Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish cemetery

I’m looking for a “thousand-year history” in the city of Worms located in southwest Germany. This has nothing to do helminthology or nematology, as the town’s name is derived from “Warmaisa”, the former Jewish name of the city. This is about an important part of Jewish-German history and peaceful coexistence of the Judeo-Christian communities within Europe. The town’s fame and reputation is also partly derived from Martin Luther; I’ve already visited the site where Luther was on trial to answer charges of heresy, as well as the world’s largest Reformation monument.

This part of the Rhein river area is considered the “cradle of European Jewry”, known also as “little Jerusalem on the Rhine.” In medieval times, flourishing Jewish communities in the cathedral cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz facilitated the creation of a common Jewish league with the name ShUM (SchUM), spelled out by the first letters of the Hebrew names for the three cities. To emphasize the influence of Jewish heritage in Europe and to continue the ongoing process of preservation and education, the recent application by Germany for the ShUM cities to be inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site is at present in the Tentative list (2019).

On a breezy late-autumn afternoon, light fades quick, casting solemn shadows on this ground. In the town’s old Jewish cemetery, I’m the only person present, and I’ve placed a small stone on top of a number of gravestones. I’m surrounded by apparitions over an millennium’s age and by the remaining physical traces in various shapes, stones, and size.

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Georgengarten, Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, Gartenreich, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Dessau UNESCO WHS: George Gardens, Garden Kingdom

Above/featured: Guided Bauhaus tour stopping momentarily in the Georgengarten.

How times have changed: I wouldn’t have given Dessau a second thought a time ago. But after speaking with representatives from Saxony-Anhalt and after spending a few days in the city, I’ve better understood the historical and cultural significance, and those who feel strongly about culture and history should give Dessau a chance.

Dessau is a German city of about 80-thousand people in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, and is known as the second capital of Bauhaus in the early 20th-century movement of modernism for design and architecture which has been given inscription as World Heritage Site.

If you’re in town to check out various Bauhaus sites, there’s a 2nd heritage setting over a vast green space. East of the Bauhaus Masters’ Houses are a set of Roman ruins marking the edge of Georgengarten (George Gardens); further in the park is the Schloss Georgium (Georgium Palace). Since 2000, both Georgengarten and Schloss Georgium are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s shared with the neighbouring city of Wörlitz.

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Seestrasse, Konstanz, Constance, Obersee, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday around Lake Constance: Seestrasse to Allgäu Alps

Around sunset from Konstanz’s Seestrasse along the shores of Lake Constance, this view southeast includes BSB ship MS Karlsruhe on its way back into town. In the background are the Allgäu Alps some 75-90 kilometres (47-56 miles) to the southeast in southern Germany and western Austria.

On the left side of the frame is a curved mountain ridge with what appears to be two end “horns;” the tallest “horn” is Obere Gottesackerwänd (Sonnenberg). At the centre of the frame is Hoher Ifen at a distance of 78 kilometres, whereas Trettachspitze is further on at a distance of 93 kilometres. Six months earlier, I stood on Fellhorn mountain, on whose summit I would have faced in the opposite direction to the northwest and towards Konstanz.

Seestrasse, Konstanz, Constance, Obersee, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

I made the pictures above on 21 September 2017 with the Canon 6D, 70-300 glass, and the following settings: 1/400-sec, f/10, ISO1000, and 300mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-e8x.

Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Dům U Kamenného beránka, At the stone lamb, Staromestske namesti, Old Town Square, Prague, Prag, Praha, Czech Republic, fotoeins.com

My Praha: Brod, Einstein, & Kafka at Fanta Salon

Above/featured: it is as if I pointed out a famous meeting place to her right (left for the reader).

Prague’s Old Town Square is one of the most visited landmarks, dominated by the two tall spires of the Church of our Lady before Týn, Old Town Hall, and a prominent sculpture dedicated to Czech icon Jan Hus at the centre of the square.

At the southeast corner of the square is a building called (Dům) U Kamenného beránka or “At the Stone Lamb” at address Staroměstské námesti 551/17 #. To the right of the building’s main entrance is a memorial plaque with an inscription in both Czech and English. The memorial plaque was created by Czech sculptor Zdenĕk Kolářský and unveiled in 1998. Looking closer, you’ll recognize Albert Einstein’s face and his famous physics equation stating the equivalence of mass and energy: E = mc2.

Over a 16-month period from 1911 to 1912, Albert Einstein lived in Prague with his family and was full professor of theoretical physics at the German Charles-Ferdinand University. Einstein enjoyed hanging out at a number of cafes for conversations, exchanges, and music, and he was a frequent visitor to this building where Czech liberal and intellectual Berta Fanta operated a literary-philosophical salon or lounge. The salon saw visits by many intellectuals, both domestic and international. “Domestic” writers Franz Kafka and Max Brod would have come here for the discourse as well, but it turns out little is actually known about whether all three arranged to meet or would have met here at the same time.

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Reichenau, Reichenau Island, Untersee, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Konstanz, Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday around Lake Constance: Reichenau (Untersee)

On a daytrip from Konstanz, I’m on a bus to Reichenau Island in Lake Constance. The bus’ final stop is next to the museum in town; from here, I spend the next few hours on foot traversing the western part of the island. There’s history in the Peter and Paul church, and it’s not long before the idea of “bread and fish” sharpens my appetite. I wander onto the island’s north shore to a small restaurant, Georgs Fischerhütte (George’s Fisher Hut), highlighting fresh catch from the lake and vegetables sourced from farms within a distance of 2 km. I get “Forellenfilet an Buttermandeln mit Reichenauer Gemüse” (grilled trout with almonds and Reichenau vegetables): it’s uncomplicated and delicious. By the time I make way back into the centre of town and the museum before closing, I’ve walked over 5 km (3 mi) with a couple more to tally up before the day is done.

I made both images on 22 September 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-e7f.

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