Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Via Regia’

Helios Leuchtturm, Helios AG, Ehrenfeld, Koeln, Cologne, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Cologne: there’s a lighthouse that never goes out

“Why is there a lighthouse located in the middle of the city? That makes no sense!”

“Did the Rhine river once flow here? Is that why there’s a lighthouse?”

“Is the structure some kind of forgotten remnant of the past?”

“Maybe that’s not a lighthouse, but rather a beacon that lets people know about a fire somewhere in the neighbourhood.”

These are some of the questions and statements posed by Cologne residents when asked if they know anything about the lighthouse in their midst.

Located in the Ehrenfeld1 borough of Cologne is a red brick 44-metre (144-foot) high lighthouse. But why is there a lighthouse at all in the “middle” of Cologne? The Rhine river flows through the city, but the river is hardly visible from the lighthouse at a distance of about 3 kilometres (2 miles). The structure is not an actual operating lighthouse; it’s a symbol of early 20th-century enterprise from what was once one of the most important companies in Europe and marking the location of a big factory that once manufactured electrical equipment including maritime lights.

Founded in 1882, Helios2 established their presence in the town of Ehrenfeld before the latter was incorporated into the greater city of Cologne in 1888. The company once boasted a staff complement of over 2000 people, with products sold in Germany and Europe ranging from electrical generators and transformers, light bulbs, light fixtures in public spaces, and electrical streetcars. Helios also built light towers for the North and Baltic Sea coastlines, including ones at Roter Sand (Weser river estuary), Borkum and Wangerooge (East Frisian Islands), and Sylt. The onsite lighthouse in Ehrenfeld was constructed as a testing facility and never used as a navigational aid or marker. The company overextended its financial reach until Berlin’s AEG3 purchased Helios in 1905. Manufacturing operations in Ehrenfeld ceased in 1930, bringing a final end to Helios’ business presence in Cologne.

The present-day buildings which remain are used as office- and art-space. As historical landmark, the “Helios Leuchtturm” remains as part of the urban heritage in Ehrenfeld and Cologne. If the people in both borough and city have any final say in the matter, the lighthouse will never have to go out.4

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Römerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Heine’s warning about book burning (Frankfurt)

Most visitors to Frankfurt am Main will stop at the historic Römerberg square for pictures of the surrounding buildings with bank towers in the background. But a glance down onto the cobblestones near the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) reveals a writer’s stern warning. In the tragedy “Almansor“, the German-Jewish writer Heinrich Heine warned readers about the dangers of burning books:

Das war ein Vorspiel nur. Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.
– Heinrich Heine, “Almansor” (1820-1821)

Heine wrote how burning books is a dangerous omen: “where books are burned, people aren’t far behind.” A little over 100 years later, this prescient line played out as the Nazis took over and targeted in particular Jews. On 10 May 1933 in Frankfurt and in other cities across the country in plans orchestrated by the Propaganda Ministry, tens of thousands including university students loyal to the Nazis gathered to burn books by writers who were Jewish or who were deemed ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘un-German’ to the Nazi ideal. Books by Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, Erich Kästner, and Heinrich Mann among others were thrown into the fire. The Gedenkplatte (or Gedenktafel) Bücherverbrennung is a memorial and modern reminder for constant vigilance against the dangerous reasons for book burning and the consequences beyond.

Gedenkplatte Bücherverbrennung, Römerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Gedenkplatte Bücherverbrennung: memorial plaque to 1933 book burning

I made the photos above on 9 May 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-79O.

Love locks, Eiserner Steg, Iron Footbridge, Main river, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Crown of locks on Frankfurt’s Eiserner Steg

The Eiserner Steg (Iron Footbridge, 1869) is a pedestrian-only bridge over the Main (word pronounced like “mine”) river in Frankfurt am Main which connects the city’s Römerberg and Old Town on the north flank with the Museum Embankment and Sachsenhausen on the south flank. My glance to the city’s “Main-hattan” skyline found clusters of love-locks hanging from the bridge structure. Whatever your opinions are about these love-locks, they make a great compositional feature.

Other love locks:

•   Cologne’s Hohenzollernbrücke
•   Heidelberg’s Alte Brücke (Old Bridge)

I made this photo above on 20 November 2014 with the Canon EOS6D, 24-105 L zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/20s, f/4, ISO4000 and 24mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress on fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7WE.

Blick heben, Foto Gregor, Neumarkt, Köln, Cologne, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Blick heben (look up) in Cologne

The phrase on the pavement compels passers-by to ‘look up’ …

  1. A Rolleiflex camera, one about which I’ve begun dreaming of owning one day …
  2. On the ledge sits a photographer with a big-ass zoom, doing whatever they can to get “the shot” (over Neumarkt)
  3. two (headless?) Santa Claus’ climbing the wall, when really, one of them should be handing me a 5D Mark 3 …

Or the fact that I should part some cash over to Foto Gregor.
(Oder vielleicht soll ich etwas Geld beim Fotohaus Foto Gregor ausgeben …)

I made this photo on 6 January 2013 with the Canon EOS450D (XSi), EF-S 18-55 IS II zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/40s, f/5.6, ISO800, 55mm focal-length (88mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7fz.

Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt, Christmas market, Marktplatz, Leipzig, Sachsen, Saxony, Germany, fotoeins.com

Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt – Leipzig Christmas Market

After tracing the likes of The Peaceful Revolution, Martin Luther, Bach, and Mendelssohn in Leipzig, the sparkle of bright lights and the promise of mulled wine beckon. Emerging from the Markt S-Bahn train station, the sounds of the underground give way to the din of crowds. The city’s central Marktplatz (Market Square) is home to the Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt (Leipzig Christmas Market) and people are out en masse despite the cold bite in the evening air.

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