Fotoeins Fotografie

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Posts tagged ‘Constance’

My Konstanz: Jan Hus’ last stand

Above/featured: Old Town from the Bodensee (Lake Constance): visible from left-to-right are respectively the broad-roofed Konzilgebäude (Council Building), Münster (tall Cathedral spire behind sailboat), and the Dominikanerinsel (Dominicans Island). Photo on 23 Sep 2017.

6 July is a national holiday in the Czech Republic; the formal name is “the day Jan Hus was burned at the stake” (Den upálení mistra Jana Husa).

I wrote previously about medieval Bohemian theologian and reformer Jan Hus (John Huss) whose teachings in the relatively novelty of the Czech language and criticisms about abuse and injustice within the Catholic Church predated Martin Luther’s own revolution for change by almost 100 years. Hus’ place within Czech history is fixed onto the nation with a giant memorial sculpture at the centre of Old Town Square in the capital city of Prague. His place is also assured in the European Reformation as seen in full display at the world’s largest Reformation Monument in the German city of Worms. Hus’ conviction and execution and the resulting armed conflicts would give rise not only to the concept of European unity (see also the prominent Czech historical figure George of Poděbrady), but would also give way to the European continental wars of religion.

As key historical aspects for creating unique Bohemian and subsequent Czech identity, Hus’ life, final days, and death are also a part of the historical record in the southern German city of Konstanz (Constance in English, Kostnice in Czech).


How Hus got here

The backdrop was the one of the largest conferences in the Middle Age. The Council of Constance met from 1414 to 1418, during which one key directive of the synod was to decide once and for all a single pope from three candidates. With the Council’s election of Pope Martin V in 1417, the Papal Schism which began in 1378 effectively came to an end; this would also be the one and only time a pope was elected on German soil. As the only meeting of its kind held north of the Alps, this massive medieval assembly gathered tens of thousands of people, including religious, political, civic, and social leaders; scholars and other civic officials; as well as traders and merchants from around the continent.

Constance had become a free Imperial city in the late 12th-century, allowing the city to prosper by trade of many goods around the European continent and onto the Mediterranean to destinations in Africa and the Middle East. The city was chosen to host the 15th-century conference, because the city as bishopric had sufficient space and resources to host, house, and feed a very large number of conference guests. Constance has the nickname “Stadt des Konzils” or the “Council City”, and has been included as part of the Hussite Cultural Route (Hussitische Kulturroute), which traces Hus’ final journey from Prague to Konstanz.

As follower of English philosopher John Wycliffe, Hus spoke out on flagrant abuse and corruption, especially on the sale of indulgences with the act of forgiveness for sin being used as a tool to increase church income. At a time when the church claimed complete spiritual, moral, and civic authority, Hus was an obvious troublemaker, and the central church authority punished him with censure and excommunication. Hus was called to travel from Prague to Konstanz and answer charges of heresy at the Council of Constance. He ignored the pleas of friends and colleagues to stay put (“it’s a trap!”), and armed with an apparent imperial promise of safe passage and conduct, he set off on his journey to Konstanz. Upon arrival in November 1414, the promise was naught and the betrayal complete; Hus was promptly arrested, imprisoned, and tortured in various places throughout the area for several months. In refusing to recant over his criticisms against the church, he was never given a fair trial. The Council convicted him of heresy inside the city’s cathedral on 6 July 1415. Hus was immediately handed over to the civil authority, who condemned him to death by burning at the stake on the same day. Jan Hus is revered as a key historical figure for Czechs and the Bohemian Reformation, just as Martin Luther would be for his role to kick off the German Reformation almost 100 years later.


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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.

Reichenau, Reichenau Island, Gnadensee, 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.

Imperia, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Konstanz Hafen, Konstanz, Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday around Lake Constance: Imperia

She’s not looking at me; she’s looking through me.

Imperia, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Konstanz Hafen, Konstanz, Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

The ”Imperia” statue stands 9 metres (30 feet) tall at the end of a pier in Lake Constance and is one of the most photographed landmarks in the city of Konstanz (Constance). The naked figures at left and right resemble the Emperor Sigismund and Pope Martin the Fifth, respectively. Peter Lenk’s sculpture memorializes the Council of Constance (1411-1414) which brought together Catholic church leaders from around Europe to decide once and for all a single pope from three during the Papal Schism. With many church leaders and support staff gathered in the city, there was great opportunity to tempt and satiate the flesh with an equal gathering of courtesans, as symbolized by Imperia. However, Lenk references Honoré de Balzac’s short story “La Belle Impéria” (Beautiful Imperia), whose historical character was a well-read Italian courtesan who never visited Konstanz and died almost 100 years after the Council of Constance.

The caption accompanying the statue reads:

“Römische Lebedame und Muse. Skulptur 9 m hoch, 18 to schwer. Erbaut 1993 vom Bodmaner Bildhauer Peter Lenk nach einer Geschichte von Honoré de Balzac über das Konstanzer Konzil, 1414-1418.” (Fremden-Verkehrsverein Konstanz e.V.)

I made both images on 21 September 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-e7o.

Schloss Mainau, Burg Mainau, Mainau, Obersee, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Konstanz, Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday around Lake Constance: Mainau (Obersee)

I’m on a daytrip from Konstanz to Unteruhldingen, which means I’m on the first BSB ferry onto Lake Constance. It’s foggy this morning, but I can see it’ll clear by midday. As the boat heads out on the second leg from Meersburg to Unteruhldingen, I swing around with the long 70-300 lens as golden morning light begins peeking through holes in the fog and illuminating the baroque castle on Mainau island in the distance. It’s a bright punch of pink and cream through a blanket of dark blues and greys.

I made the picture above on 23 September 2017 with the Canon 6D, 70-300 glass, and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/14, ISO1000, and 135mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-e8u.

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